Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
As they commence work as the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA), Legislators—some new and some returning—have come to the consensus that it is time to put aside the campaign modus operandi and unite for progress of the Territory.
However, some Opposition members have highlighted that it will be a challenge for Opposition members to work together.
This House of Assembly consists of a Government side that has seven new members, while the Opposition side consists of four returning legislators—three who formerly sat on the Government side. Notably, the Opposition side is made up of three different parties.
Opposition Leader, Hon. Marlon Penn and Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines hail from the National Democratic Party (NDP), while Hon. Melvin 'Mitch' Turnbull is from the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM). Hon. Julian Fraser is the only elected representative from his party, Progressives United (PU).
Returning for his sixth term in the House, District Three Representative, Hon. Fraser said that among the issues that they will face is that of the “challenge…for the Opposition to work together.”
Turning to Opposition Leader Hon. Penn, he said, “That lies on your shoulders, my friend Mr. Penn. It is doable, it can be done.”
Responding to this concern, Hon. Penn said, “I pledge that we will work together for the betterment of this Territory; what is good for this Territory and people of this Territory. At the end of the day, while we wear different colours, green, red, blue and all the other colours, we are all Virgin Islanders.”
Pointing out that the issues facing the Territory are mammoth, he vowed to work towards cooperation.
“Those are big issues that require leadership, it requires coordination, it requires all of us Opposition…members of the Government working together to ensure that those issues are fulfilled and addressed in the best interest of the people of this Territory. So, I stand firmly as your Leader of the Opposition with my colleagues. And yes colleagues, I will ensure that we cooperate and coordinate on all issues,” he declared.
This stance was shared by District Two Representative, Hon. Turnbull, who said, “What I believe we ought to keep in front of us is that this critical time in our country, it calls for leaders who will put country first, who will put people above their own preference to rebuild this Territory.”
He continued, “I believe if we are willing to put our preferences and prejudices aside, we will have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild the Territory.”
Meanwhile, Sixth District Representative, Hon. Maduro-Caines pledged her support to the Government, telling them, “I will not oppose just for opposing sake. I will support the things that are good for the country, but will make my views heard on those matters that I do not believe are entirely in the best interest of this Territory and its people.”
She asked that they look to some of the plans that were touted by the unsuccessful parties during the campaign for the development of the Territory.
“We invite you to look at our plans and see if they can work for you. It’s not about whose idea it was, it’s about what is best for the people of our country,” she stated.
Addressing all legislators, she charged, “Do not sabotage the progress of our country for political points because we all lose in the end with this approach.”