BVI News

Wheatley dominates 9th District debate

If Wednesday night’s Ninth District Electoral Debate proved anything, it might be that Virgin Islands Party (VIP) candidate Vincent Wheatley is a formidable contender for the seat, which is being sought after by at least two other candidates.

The debate saw a showdown among Wheatley, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) candidate Jose de Castro, and the National Democratic Party (NDP) legislator hoping to retain the seat for a second consecutive term — Dr Hubert O’Neal.


Dr O’Neal’s performance in the debate appeared to have done little to win over the heart’s of voters in the Ninth. The legislator’s delivery in the debate was generally lacklustre, largely unconvincing and, perhaps, has now left him wobbling on the edge of only serving a single term in office.

However, the NDP candidate might have earned some level of redemption during his closing remarks when he reminded residents of his accomplishments during his time in office.

de Castro

Jose de Castro’s show in the debate possibly won him some headway in the race for the Ninth District seat. But, the political newcomer — while proving that he is rich with ideas — seemingly robbed himself of a clear victory by mostly staying on the offensive.

His focus largely seemed to be hinged on discrediting his challengers, particularly Wheatley. However, the PVIM candidate’s strategy might have earned him a small win when he submitted that Wheatley’s 11-year tenure as Sister Islands Programme Coordinator was virtually fruitless.


Meanwhile, Wheatley’s ability to fend off attacks, dish out rebuttals of his own, and still offer solutions and ideas distinguished him from his challengers during Wednesday’s debate.

Throughout the event, the VIP candidate demonstrated assertiveness, was interactive, and occasionally touched on topical issues popular with the community. And in what can be described as an unexpected move, Wheatley used his closing remarks to not only highlight his vision but also to single out one of his rivals — de Castro — as a Ninth District resident worthy of emulation.

Wheatley, however, faced a blow in the debate when Dr O’Neal successfully challenged his proposal to fund certain initiatives by instituting a local sector for marijuana export. Dr O’Neal underscored that the cultivation and use of marijuana are illegal in the BVI.

ALSO READ: Candidates’ Answers to Questions

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  1. Youth says:

    Must be a VIP person write this article. The debate was good and every did a great job.

    Hubert issue was he was responding to slow but thats how he speak and he was also telling a lot of past stories. Thank GOD he woke up a little later.

    Jose did extremely well except for when he spoke about the thing Vincent said on fb and then when he was answering the other questions the representatives were asked and strayed from the point.

    Vincent was good. He spoke the best but however it seemed as though someone wrote his answers for him because he read EVERYTHING off the paper.

    Kudos to Representing the 9th and may the best candidate represent us.

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    • Concern says:

      Youth – so don’t believe Mr. Wheatley, and educator, and been a member of various aspects of government can research and prepare his own answers?

      Segment 1 all candidates were given the questions before had to prepare answers and still Hubert was a rambling f**l, as if he forgot the debate was last night, or the dog ate his homework. All candidates had notes and points they wanted to present at various aspects of a debate – that is what you do. Closing argument, is what it is – so yes, he read it off a paper. But in the end, I would rather a leader of my district show up prepared then rambling.

      Win for Wheatley last night – hands down!

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    • Virgin Gordian says:

      And How is that? The article is completely truthful and not one of favor for the VIP. Soo pleaseee

      And everyone DID NOT do a great Job. Be real!

      Like 17
    • Wistleblower says:

      Which of these candidates will agree in advance of the election to support whistleblower laws that will eliminate corruption?

    • ACCRA says:


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  2. Hmmmm says:

    So basically sounds like Oneal is not for legalization of cannibas like his fellow team mates

    Like 12
  3. all i see says:

    Jose’ looking more presidential than dem boyz

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  4. WOW says:

    Youth! That is so true

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  5. Virgin Gordian says:

    I went into the debate with a Open mind, favoring NONE of the 3 candidates. After the debate, it was absolutely CLEAR, as to who would be the next BEST Representative for the ninth.


    Mr Jose, you almost had me so great job!

    The Hubert Needs to go Sit Down!

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  6. Thoughts says:

    The standard of debate among the three contenders was for the most part poor, at times appalling, Dr O’Neal in particular. Certainly none of them can represent us on the international stage. Mr Wheatley was the best of the lot but he needs to be more spontaneous and work to think on his feet rather than reading or prompting himself from a prepared script.

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  7. Diaspora says:

    Wheatley was the front runner going into the debate and seemingly did himself no serious harm in the debate. O’Neal is a great guy and well-meaning candidate but needs to boost his energy level and be quicker off the mark. Jose is a young whipper snapper and should use this experience to bolster his stock as a political force to reckon with. What changed as a result of the debate? P obably not much. Three announced candidates for the D-9 rep were heard from but will there be more on nomination day?

    As another blogger, Political Observer (PO), suggested the debate should have been deferred until after nomination day so that D-9 residents could have simultaneously heard from all combatants at once on the same stage. Agree. Based on filings, another debate on the same topics may be needed. Let’s face it. In general, candidates with the gift for gab and probably empty suits and weak on the issues can prevail in debates. D-9 residents should pressing candidates on their plans for the full slate of critical issues facing the BVI and how they will be paid for. Will the next debate site be on Anegada?

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  8. EV says:

    Public speaking is a very difficult, difficult task. Whether in college training [Public Speaking 101] or in a public setting it is not easy to do. However, preparation is key.

    There must have been some serious nervousness going on last night, but they all seem to handle the pressure quite well. Congratulations to them all in that regards.

    Lastly, with practice, greater command of the topical areas and sufficient time to learn and practice the material, command will grow.

    Thereafter, one will begin to employ bringing in (owning)the audience techniques, such as hand gestures and eye contact within the delivery of the speech as important facts are delivered.

    Lastly, the more command can be demonstrated of any given fact with out constant reference to pre-prepared written text, rather than brief glances, gives the audience impressions of a knowledgeable person of the subject matter.

    Hence, overall, it was a great effort by the candidates, all be it with heavy reliance on written material, and insufficient eye contact and other public speaking mechanisms and audience engagement techniques.

    The jury may still be out with regards to directional politics, however, but that may come with each individual candidate mandate for the country if elected.

    Those are some of the tools that any politician must learn and master. Study the good ones such as Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, Dr. King, Gorbachev and others.

    Good luck young men!

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  9. Observing says:

    BVI News uses the word “dominates”. Another site – “crushed”

    Hope these articles are not attempting to negatively sway the voters’ choice of candidate.

    The other site is not posting comments once you attempt to rebut. Freedom of speech needed. Once a person does not use indecent language, I see no reason to withhold a post

    Like 12
  10. VG VOTER says:

    Firstly, I attended the debate last evening and being a resident of VG, I could bet my last penny that last night was not a deciding factor on how people will vote only maybe the youth. Kudos to everyone involved especially the three candidates. being the first, hiccups were expected. I would not hasten to say that there was any particular winner. They are all winners in their own rights. However, it amazed me that today if you ask me about their stated clear vision for the district, there was nothing said differently than what we hear every election season. Which tells me that there is not much innovation sighted in the issues in VG and “Yes” there are issues and there are solutions. The questions were a no brainer and I was a bit disappointed by all the candidates answers. They were not properly articulated. One thing to note in aspiring for any leadership position, a true leader does not discredit nor try to assassinate their opponents’ character to get oneself ahead. State the issues as you know them and state the strategies to working towards fixing them. Everything else will fall in line. No one man is an island. The same people who passed on your way up, you will see them on your way down. One thing I took away from the debate an it would be good to note, On the night of elections, Virgin Gorda MUST ensure that its medical emergency plan is operational….

  11. Agreed says:

    @ vg voter i agree with you a true leader do no not try to “bring down” his opponent to get ahead. That clearly shows me that they are not really serious about solving the problems of the district but rather running for a self praised competition. I actually want to see progress not a fight.

  12. Lol says:

    I was laughing at Hubert at first but then felt sorry for him. I know Myron was wondering why Dr Smith kept him around for so long despite losing multiple elections.

  13. Hah says:

    Wheatley won the debate but Decastro was good as well but was a little too combative. Hubert was always going to be at a disadvantage as he is currently a member of government and the people would think twice about believing him as he hasn’t proven that he is a man of action so far this term.

  14. Really says:

    If by reading everything from a prepared paper of responses including a response to the moderator for a question asked by her, that could have been written by anyone. then he won. But if you did your research, made notes and speak off the cuff, then i would give that win to Jose, closely followed by O’Neal. i particularly liked O’Neal’s realist response to what he would do for the first six months, because those are ongoing. Initiating something new as you take office is a bit farfetched.

    Like 4
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