BVI News

Premier not seeking re-election as NDP leader


Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

By Davion Smith, BVI News

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith will not be seeking re-election as leader of National Democratic Party (NDP) come Saturday, June 23.

Dr Smith made the announcement in a late broadcast on Monday.

The 73-year-old said he made the decision after ‘much thought and prayer’ and after discussions with family and colleagues.

“And so, when the NDP comes together in its upcoming Convention, I will not seek nor accept the nomination to lead the party into the next election,” said Dr Smith, who indicated he will use the remaining year of his premiership to focus on recovery.

“There is so much work left to do. With this decision, I will be free to dedicate 100 percent of my time and attention to that task,” he said.

Dr Smith continued: “And while my journey as the Premier and leader of the territory will come to a close at the end of this government’s term in office, the mission that was launched so many years ago lives on.”

Now that the Premier has made his intentions clear, Education Minister Myron Walwyn and Health Minister Ronnie Skelton are the only confirmed contenders seeking to succeed him as leader of the NDP.

First-term legislator Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull who, in the past, publicly undermined Dr Smith’s leadership has also announced his candidacy for NDP Vice-President.

He is believed to be Skelton’s running mate in the upcoming elections.

Ordinarily, elected legislators who sit as President and Vice-President of the NDP would be the territory’s Premier and Deputy Premier, respectively; once the NDP is the governing party.

However, it is possible for a governing NDP to have a party president who is not the premier, or a party vice-president who is not the deputy premier, BVI News understands.

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  1. Wes says:

    Great! Congrats Doc on your service. However all we need now is the NDP not to seek re-election lol

    • yoyo says:

      Can you name one opposition leader who is trustworthy and capable! Sir

      • George Washington says:

        What we really need is constitutional reform and a new form of governance. What we have now is just not working. Prior to the hurricane, our country misspent tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on projects not really attached to a long term plan to help us. (nearly $100M on the pier project; $10M – if you include the airport expenses – on the BVI Airline). Let’s be honest, we lacked any sort of planning or leadership to deal with the storm. We relied on the UK to restore peace and stop the looting. We relied on the US to put out our fire. 11 months later, we haven’t yet even picked up all the debris and our schools are still broken. Let’s be honest – We can’t govern ourselves under the existing constitution.

    • But Wait.... says:

      Please provide us with the audit as promised before you leave office.

  2. Sorry! says:

    Although I am not privy the the machinations within the NDP. I honestly will be looking at other candidates as I was honestly ashamed at the way Dr. Smith was publicly attacked by a certain set of party members. So if that group thinks all is in the bag they should think again!

    • Albion says:

      I think people read too much into their own reactions.

      I don’t believe that the Doc ever planned to stand again as party leader. That is why he called the leadership elections now.

      He is not a young man. He is ready to step down and let someone else take over. That is normal.

      Not everyone needs to agree with everything that he ever did in office. But he has been a long and faithful servant to the country. For that he deserves our gratitude and our respect.

  3. Ok says:

    Make sure he recover that 7mil b4 he xit d scene

  4. Sam the man says:

    Let the circus begin as the usual clowns enter the ring. Let’s hope Doc can end well as he certainly presided over a desperately inept government – besides focussing on recovery (all be it 10 months too late) how about getting caught up with all the yearly audited financial reports you should have done as Finance minister? I won’t hold my breath ! His legacy will be one of f——- but no doubt many now will say nice things as he’s stepping aside but the fact remains he’s been one of our —- premiers and totally out of his ——…

  5. voter says:

    He should have gone from 2015 he truly —— the bvi

  6. Albion says:

    So the other obvious question is: will the new party leader immediately assume the role of Premier? The Constitution says that the leader of the party with a majority in the House shall be the Premier, so presumably we will very soon have a new Premier?

    • Fan says:

      This is the first time I am disagreeing with your usually great posts. However, the Constitution does not require the leader of the Party to become the Premier, it only requires the Governor to appoint someone who is recommended by a majority of the elected members who are also members of the majority party. So there is no need for a new Premier, although precedent in developed parliamentary democracies would normally see that person step aside and allow the new leader to take the party into the elections. For example, Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair in that way, and recently Mrs. May took over from David Cameron after he lost the Brexit vote. Its left to be seen what this group will do. So even after its over on Saturday, it still will not be over.

  7. Great Job and Great Decision Doc says:

    Great job and great decision Doc. Take this time to enjoy the rest of your life. I am happy that you realized it is time for you to step down. Everyone need to understand there is always a time when we realize that it is time. Money is not always the option. Travel and enjoy life. God knows your heart even if the country do not. I now have to find different people to vote for.

  8. Rubber Duck says:

    Orlando Smith I would trust with with my fortune.

    I wouldn’t trust any of the others with ten cents.

    • Reality says:

      not sure I would trust someone that s——- the throwing away of over $7,000,000.00 tax payers money on a non existent airline service?

  9. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Why all the drama and speculation about loyalty, unity…….etc. Was this to garner some pity for the Premier? Was this intended to be a distraction, albeit temporary, from the myriad of problems plaguing the territory? Frankly, this process should have gone smoother. For example, the Premier should have announced ( if he knew he intended to step down)first that he is stepping down. Then there would have been less drama with Walwyn, Ronnie…… etc declaring that they were vying for the leadership.

    However, what is not clear is if the Premier is stepping down also from elected office/active politics. Nonetheless, despite a few political missteps, Doc has contributed much to the territory. May he enjoy a well earned retirement. Power, status, influence……..etc is hard to give up but it is better to leave on one’s own initiative than to be asked to leave.

    • Wendy says:

      Doc was born into a family with power satus and influence.Unlike some who are desperately seeking those attributes by any means necessary. His leadership borne from sincerity and love for these VI,countries of his birth. I wish him well deserved blessings on his new life chapter .

      • Elite says:

        @ Wendy, Doc family was part of the elite Down Street back in the day. They were near the top of the social ladder. But power and influence before politics is another tory. No doubt Dioc has made contributions both as physician and government leader

  10. @Rubber Duck says:

    Especially those new ones of the VIP. Folk can say and or think as their freedom permits, but put those of that current party in and NDP ills will pale in comparison.

  11. Wendy says:

    Doc was born into a family with power satus and influence.Unlike some who are desperately seeking those attributes by any means necessary. His leadership borne from sincerity and love for these VI,countries of his birth. I wish him well deserved blessings on his new life chapter .

  12. Vi Community says:

    premier did his time, regardless of what people think of his performance, I’m sure he had the country in his best interests, despite what we think, now is the time for him to step aside, he is not young, go enjoy yourself mr. Premier. just wait for election, cast your votes willingly and not half heartedly. And to that other cartoon site they gonna make something out of this.

  13. Sam says:

    The BVI need fresh representation….To much dead weights ….We need people who are selfless..

  14. Eagle eye says:

    Bvi groundways got 7.2 million,kyron and chantel 30/15 thousand tahesia who is the longest outstanding bvi athlete got zero.under smith government.

  15. yep says:

    Smart man.

  16. Reality says:

    What legacy? What achievements ? Big —- balance and enough air miles for him and his family to circle the globe first class many times – we are the fools for not making him more accountable and fulfilling his duties – his tenure has been a complete ——— and has brought our islands to its knees

  17. Hmmm.... says:

    This choice is simple if the symbol of the NDP is still the family. The National Democratic Party started out strong under the symbol of the family. Strong family values was it’s key focal point. Is this still the case? One candidate defintely represent strong family values and this can’t be said of the other. Rum consumption is helping destroy BVI families as is extra marital affairs. The Choice is Crystal Clear.

  18. Maria Louisa Varlack says:

    Listen up British Virgin Islanders look to someone like Michael R Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City for excellent political leadership and stop and all the bickering that makes you look like a third world, underdeveloped nation.

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