By Horace Mills, BVI News Online Journalist
Sitting members of the House of Assembly are usually allowed to automatically contest the next general election for their respective parties, but representative of the Third Electoral District Julian Fraser will not enjoy such traditional luxury in relation to the next general election.
He, along with Leader of the Opposition and representative of the First Electoral District Andrew Fahie, are the only two members of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) in the House.
But, in a speech last evening (August 3), the Opposition leader gave the clearest indication yet that Fraser may not be the party’s flag-bearer in the Third Electoral District in the next election.
He declared that his party is seeking to fill all slots for candidates except the one he occupies as VIP representative in the First Electoral District.
“The door is now wide opened so that the Opposition party can now aggressively continue to recruit the additional 12 members who would be contesting the next general elections,” Fahie said. Each party is allowed to have 13 candidates in each general election to fill as many seats in the House.
The Opposition leader’s declaration that the VIP needs a candidate in the Third District comes days after Fraser declined to support a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition leader.
The motion moved in the House was intended to have Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith booted as finance minister over what the Opposition leader said is poor performance.
The motion failed because it was not supported by any other member of the House – including Opposition member Fraser, who noticeably was absent only at the time the motion was moved.
Fraser’s absence came days after top members of the VIP stopped just short of giving him an ultimatum to prove he is still willing to be a team player. They claimed that Fraser has distanced himself from the VIP since late last year when the party’s delegates ousted him as their chairman. Governor John Duncan later removed Fraser from the post of Leader of the Opposition.
The current Opposition leader, in the meantime, yesterday declared that, in relation to preparation for the next general election, the VIP will not be caught off guard this time round.
“These elections are scheduled for 2019, but could be called at an earlier date as dictated by circumstances. Of this, you could be assured that no one will be caught off guard this time. We cannot continue down this path!” added the Opposition leader, Fahie.
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