By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Roughly 24 hours after firing Ronnie Skelton from his post as Minister of Health and Social Development, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has appointed a replacement for both him (Skelton) and Archibald Christian whose Junior Minister of Tourism post was revoked last week.
In a statement Tuesday morning, Dr Smith announced: “The ministerial portfolios for this administration are [now] as follows. Minister of Health and Social Development — honourable Marlon Penn and Junior Minister of Tourism — Honourable Hubert O’Neal.”
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith terminated Skelton as Health Minister after he (Skelton) reportedly indicated to local print media that he was indeed the leader of the breakaway political party known as the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).
Premier Smith described Skelton’s behaviour as a ‘clear conflict of interest’.
“In the circumstances, I had no choice but to ask his Excellency the Governor to revoke Mr Skelton’s appointment as the minister of government and member of Cabinet. It was untenable for him to sit in an NDP administration, make decisions as a member of Cabinet and form his own party at the same time,” said Dr Smith who had given a similar explanation for Christian.
The Premier put on record that he thanks Skelton for his service and wishes him well as the leader of the PVIM.
Along with Christian, Skelton departs the NDP government with Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull who wrote to the Speaker of the House of Assembly last week requesting for arrangements to be made for him to be seated on the Opposition side of parliament.
Both Christian and Turnbull have since declared their alliance with PVIM.
The aforementioned trio all vied for party positions when the NDP hosted its internal elections just under six months ago.
While Christian was elected as party treasurer, Skelton and Turnbull who were running mates at the time, lost their campaign for party Chairman and Deputy Chairman, respectively.
Education Minister Myron Walwyn and his running mate Penn (the newly-appointed Health Minister) won those respective posts.
The Skelton-led PVIM is believed to have formed some time after.
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