“…That the Territory will have a new National Democratic Party contesting the upcoming general elections. The mantle of leadership has been passed to a new generation. More than half of our candidates are newcomers to politics, but they come with a wealth of experience in various areas,” he said on radio last evening, December 3.
“They have a profound love for these Virgin Islands and we look forward to bringing new energy, new ways of governing and new ideas to resolve the challenges we face as a Territory. I will be presenting our full slate of candidates following the Christmas holidays,” he added.
The NDP administration has been accused of lack of accountability, transparency and poor handling of the Territory’s finances. The opposition has also labelled the party as the most corrupt government in modern history.
Since Hon. Walwyn won the chairmanship of the party back in June, a movement started which saw the breakaway of some members and the formation of a new political party headed by Hon. Ronnie Skelton. Skelton had contested the internal elections for the position of chairman.
So far, despite the departure of some members, including elected representatives, the NDP has most of its candidates. Only districts 1 and 2 have to be filled.
The slate so far are in district 3–local rapper and educator, Mr. Aaron Parillon; Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works-district 4; former Virgin Islands Party (VIP) 6th district candidate, Mr. Elvis Harrigan-district 5; Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines-district 6; Hipolitio Penn-district 7; Hon. Marlon Penn-district 8; and Hon. Dr Hubert O’Neal-district 9.
For the At-Large slate, Hon. Walwyn; Principal of the Elmore Stoutt High School, (ESHS), Sandy Underhill; Chairman of the Festivals and Fairs Committee, Mr. Trefor Grant; and Deputy General Manager of the BVI Electricity Corporation, Mr. Henry Creque.
Walwyn spoke to the members who left the NDP, expressing that he is disappointed in their move.
He said that following democratic internal elections in June, a few members resigned from the party, and to say that he is disappointed in their actions is an understatement.
“My disappointment comes more so for you the people that elected officials could not put our personal ambitions aside and work together to take our Territory out of a disastrous situation we were placed in by the August floods and a historic two category five hurricanes in September 2017.”
“However, I wish all of these individuals well on their journey as we all take part in a contest of ideas to improve the lives of the people of the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, the business of the NDP and our Territory marches on,” he continued.
The At Large Representative said that it is his intention and determination, as the new leader of the party, to ensure that it forges ahead, providing opportunities for greater inclusion and diversity of thought, so that as a party, they are truly representative of who and what they are as Virgin Islanders today.
“While some wanted to close the book on the National Democratic Party, this phase simply marks a new and more engaging chapter,” he stated.
NDP Still Best Hope
The new Chairman said that he still believes that the NDP is the best hope for the Territory.
“Eight years ago I joined the National Democratic Party because I believed then and even more so now, that the NDP remains the best hope to secure a productive future for the Virgin Islands and for our people,” he asserted.
Walwyn promised that under his leadership, he will be working with residents and colleagues to write a new chapter for the NDP, steeped in the history of the Territory, “the ideology laid out by our party’s founding members and with greater excitement and involvement of our larger community, ushered in by new NDP members.”
He said during the upcoming election campaign, the NDP will be coming to the people of the Virgin Islands with a vision of continued transformation and modernization of the Territory, by and for the people of these Virgin Islands.
“The next general election, which we now know will take place by April 16th 2019, represents a watershed moment in our history,” he said.
Walwyn continued, “We are standing at a crossroad with important decisions to make. Which path to the future will you take and under whose leadership? Now is certainly not the time for gambling with the future. There is just too much at stake!”