Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has every intention of continuing to serve his constituents and the rest of the territory, he just refuses to continue doing so under the National Democratic Party (NDP) government who he said has become largely ignoble and of a double standard.
The first-term legislator gave that indication while speaking with BVI News after his letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House of Assembly on Thursday.
“I want to make this absolutely clear for the persons that I represent [that] my resignation is only for the Speaker. The words in the letter were for ‘the Speaker and her good office to make arrangements that I will no longer sit on the government side within the House of Assembly’. I will still be their representative, it just means that I am sitting on the opposition side,” Turnbull said.
His decision to switch sides comes after the firing of Archibald Christian as Junior Minister of Tourism.
Christian’s firing didn’t help
When asked whether that termination prompted his decision to move, Turnbull said: “I wouldn’t say it prompted it but it didn’t make it any better.”
And according to the young legislator, Christian’s case is a perfect example of the double standard he said exists within the NDP.
“He (Christian) has been a member of parliament longer than I have, he has been in service longer than I have. But, you have a man who is representing the people who’s been speaking out, been doing his best and he resigned from the party. And, with the snap of a finger, actions are taken. But when it comes to other things and other people, when you ask for action to be taken you get haphazard responses and anything basically goes. So, if that’s the way that this government is going to continue, I will not be a part of it.”
Turnbull refused to name the NDP members who he branded as having double standards, only stating: “A guilty conscience needs no accusers so who the hat fits, let them wear it.”
He, however, argued that the NDP’s leadership is responsible for the faults of the party.
Not a sore loser
In the meantime, Turnbull confirmed that his alliance is now with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) — the breakaway political party supposedly to be led by Health Minister, Ronnie Skelton.
Unlike NDP defectors Turnbull and Christian, the leader they are reportedly supporting — Skelton — still sits comfortably on the side of the NDP government.
News of PVIM had surfaced after the NDP internal elections which saw both Turnbull and Skelton emerge as losers in their bid to become Deputy Chairman and party Chairman, respectively.
When questioned about claims that his resignation was merely an indication of being a sore loser, Turnbull said: “I understand the spin and I understand those who would try to make it about being sore losers. But, when June 23rd (the date of internal elections) happened, that was the end of it.”
He continued: “Truth be told, I’ve had meetings with the current Chairman (Myron Walwyn), I’ve had meetings with the [party’s] Deputy Chair (Marlon Penn) as well to try to clear the air and understand what the position would be for this new government going on because there were issues that existed prior to me becoming a member of the NDP and the government. There are issues that have existed since and nothing has been addressed and nothing has been corrected.”
Previously published article
Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has resigned from the Government aisle of the House of Assembly, BVI News understands.
It is understood that he tendered his resignation to the Speaker of House of Assembly on Thursday, November 16.
His resignation follows At-Large Representative Archibald Christian’s sacking as Junior Minister of Tourism.
Christian was fired at the recommendation of government leader, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith after he resigned from the National Democratic Party — the banner under which he was elected four years ago.
BVI News will provide more information as this story develops.
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