Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Deputy Premier, the Honourable Dr. Kedrick Pickering has spent 20 years in the House of Assembly (HoA) as the Seventh District Representative, and according to Dr. Natalio ‘Sowande Uhuru’ Wheatley, it is time that he departs from elected office, as he has failed to adequately represent the people of his district.
On the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) slate, Dr. Wheatley will be running for the District Seven seat, which Hon. Dr. Pickering currently occupies. Hon. Pickering won the seat in 1999 under the National Democratic Party (NDP) and has not lost his seat in the HoA since then.
While the NDP has replaced him with Hipolitio Penn as their Seventh District candidate in the upcoming General Election, which is due by April, Hon. Pickering has confirmed that he will be running once again. There are speculations that he will be contesting with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).
However, Dr. Wheatley says that it is time that Dr. Pickering steps aside and leave the position for a new and capable person.
Speaking exclusively to BVI Platinum News, the VIP candidate said, “I think it’s time to pass the baton onto someone to try to solve some of the deep challenges we have in the Seventh District.”
Expounding on this view, he posited, “He’s been there for 20 years. I respect him, I honour his service and I do think he’s an intelligent man, but we all must agree that in 20 years he has not been able to solve some of the major problems that the district has experienced. I think it’s time to give someone else a try and 20 years is enough time.”
He pointed out that Dr. Pickering has held a number of seats in the House.
“He’s been a member of government, a member of opposition, he’s been a backbencher, he’s been Deputy Premier in Cabinet. And I think we’ve seen what he can do in every single position that he’s been in,” his opponent emphasised.
Despite occupying these seats, Dr. Wheatley said that Dr. Pickering failed to properly address the concerns and issues affecting the Seventh District people, among these—infrastructure and unemployment.
“The district has one of the highest rates of unemployment, if not the highest,” Dr. Wheatley posited, adding that they are also plagued by infrastructural as well as social issues.
According to the Seventh District hopeful, “I think during this administration; a major blunder was not getting the sewerage done, because the money was allocated to get the sewerage done and they took the money and they put it into the Pier Park, and right now we’re still swimming in sewage in the Seventh and Eighth Districts. I think that was a huge blunder and he called that decision a wise decision.”
When asked why he should be the best pick to replace Dr. Pickering, the young political aspirant pointed out that the other candidate that is being fielded by the NDP will not present the change that’s needed in the representation for the district.
“The other candidate is a member of the National Democratic Party and we have to say that the National Democratic Party is not just a failure of the representative, it’s a failure of the party. The party itself has failed in a number of areas,” he opined.
Mr. Penn, he said, “Has been a supporter for the National Democratic Party and a supporter for Dr. Pickering for a long time. And I don’t think you’re really going to get the change you’re looking for there. I am competent. I am someone who has been in involved in politics…I care about people.”