By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Education Minister Myron Walwyn has confirmed plans to contest for leadership of the National Democratic Party (NDP).
In an audio-visual statement seemingly intended for party members, Walwyn campaigned to be voted as the next NDP President — a position currently held by Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.
The party will be having its next round of internal elections this month.
In the near-two minute long video Walwyn said: “I am now seeking additional responsibilities and I ask for your support once again to lead our party into the next general elections.”
“I ask you on June 23 to vote for someone who has strong leadership qualities, vote for someone who is innovative and productive, vote for someone who is approachable and accessible, and vote for someone who is an everyday man of the people. Vote for me, Myron V Walwyn, as the next political leader of the National Democratic Party.”
It is not clear whether Dr Smith is voluntarily stepping down or whether he will fight to remain as political leader.
All is not well in NDP
During his campaign speech, Walwyn suggested all is not well within his party — a suspicion political observers have had for several weeks, at least.
“We are facing major challenges as a country and also as a political organisation,” he said, without delving into details of the so-called challenges.
“But I am absolutely certain if we all work together we can overcome each and every one of them,” added Walwyn, who has always publicly demonstrated loyalty to Premier Smith.
I gave my all
While campaigning further, Walwyn said he has given a ‘one hundred percent effort’ to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture.
He then thanked delegates, supporters of the NDP, and members of the public for the ‘confidence’ given to him over the last seven years.
Notably, in an anonymously commissioned survey from Caribbean Development Research Services recently, majority of residents said Dr Smith was still the preferred leader in the territory.
Nonetheless, residents have named Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie and Walwyn as close contenders.
Meanwhile, political observers have been speculating for weeks that Dr Smith’s leadership may be under threat of coming to an end.
Since then, Walwyn’s statement has been the clearest indication that those speculations are true.
Just a week ago, Deputy Premier Dr Kedrick Pickering claimed he was unaware of any upcoming internal elections for the presidency of the party. He made the statement on national radio on May 29.
Dr Pickering said up to that date, he was not a contender for leadership of the party, and declared his loyalty to Dr Smith. However, he said he would accept ‘whatever’ leadership position he is called to serve.
In the meantime, BVI News understands at least two other government ministers are eyeing the post.
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