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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