People are asking each other, “What do you think of the election result?” I imagine there are lots of different answers.
Firstly, Polling Day seems to have gone very smoothly — no disturbances, voting machines working — and congratulations are due to all those involved in organising. Some voters did, however, complain that the small oval for marking one’s choice, either by cross or filling in, was too small.
My own opinion was that I did not want the Virgin Islands Party to win, and that everyone who had been in the House of Assembly in the last few years should be ousted. Of course, that would mean that all members would be new and green and relying on the civil servants to guide them — a problem in itself.
But in recent years, nobody ever voted against any bill brought to the House. They would rather be absent on a vote than vote against or abstain. And they all have been complicit in feathering their own nests (pensions, health benefits, salaries, allowances, vehicles, and so on). How many new vehicles have already been ordered? All appear to be afraid of the various top dogs, and never seemed to query the execution of the laws of the land (residence and belonger regulations, petty contracts and no-bid contracts, land distribution, National Health Insurance regulations and so on).
It is said that some 70 percent of the electorate did not want the VIP to form the government again. So with the defection of National Democratic Party candidate Lorna Smith (R-at large) to help the VIP form a majority of seven to six and thus gain the prize, a lot of people will be very disappointed, especially if, like me, they voted for her as an NDP member (and not a VIP member).
NDP members say they will take steps to remove her from the party. I am not sure how they will do this, and I think it would be a mistake. She has not, so far, resigned her membership, and she said she joined the VIP group as an alliance to form a government. Just think: She is in a powerful position, and if she gets to a point of disagreement with the way things are going, she can easily revert to the opposition side. Already, she will be acting premier when Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley goes to the king’s coronation this weekend.
As for the opposition, did you see their press conference? If body language could talk. I have never seen such a disgruntled bunch.
Each of the three parties gave their version of what transpired on Polling Day and the day after, while the others sucked their teeth in silence. Thinking about it, I don’t see that they could have possibly formed a government that would have lasted long once they all fell out. Opposition member Myron Walwyn (R-D6) must be wondering why he signed up again, and his opposition colleague Stacy “Buddha” Mather (R-at large), who is a newcomer, is probably regretting his decision to run.
On the whole, Ms. Smith probably did the right thing. Still, seven to six should make for lively debate, and opposition member Julian Fraser (R-D3) is suggesting there will be lots of votes of no confidence. We know how well the last one went.
Less than 60 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, even though it is questionable whether the voters list is accurate. From correspondence I had with the supervisor of elections, I believe the accuracy of the list is questionable: The rules governing its compilation, operation and amendments are quite complicated, and it contains dead people and those who have left the Virgin Islands for good or changed districts.
In a nutshell, once on the list, which is fairly easy, it is difficult to be removed. So errors on the list may have been there for years. For example, the only way to remove a dead person’s name is to produce an original death certificate and fill in a form. This is difficult if the deceased’s executors, who may not even be in the territory, don’t know of the requirement, which would probably not be their most pressing priority.
Do you realise that all but three of the at-large candidates each got more votes than any of the district victors? The premier only got the sixth highest vote of the district winners, and all of them appear to be way less popular than the top at-large winners.
I think all candidates said the first thing they would do if elected is to rescind the “greedy bill.” Let’s hold their feet to the fire. Watch this space.