The recent victory of the Virgin Islands Party in the Feb. 25 general election could be viewed as a spectacular political achievement. Much of this success is to be attributed to VIP Chairman Andrew Fahie, who is now the premier.
Leading up to the general election, Mr. Fahie was the only VIP member in the former House of Assembly. He was opposition leader, but with the break up of the National Democratic Party he reverted back to the status of an ordinary member. However, he continued his unwavering opposition, which was based in relevant facts.
When he spoke about a VIP government in the HOA and the press, the idea at times seemed impossible. However, Mr. Fahie pursued his political dream with hope and determination, and it has become reality.
Many Virgin Islanders and others are quite aware of the party’s legacy, which includes many notable achievements that have improved the lifestyle of Virgin Islanders in general. The VIP evolved mostly from the former United Party and came into being in 1971. The first chief minister — the late H. Lavity Stoutt — was a VIP member.
The party’s legacy includes the introduction of comprehensive education in 1968; the extension of this type of education throughout the VI; the building and expansion of roads throughout the territory; the beginning of the cruise ship pier; the building of primary schools throughout the VI, thus relieving churches of housing students; the increase in sending Virgin Islanders to study abroad; the building and commissioning of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; and other notable achievements.
The VIP’s election strategy contributed greatly to its recent success at the polls. It seemed to gain additional momentum during the last two to three weeks before the vote. The VIP candidates focused on some of the shortcomings of the former National Democratic Party-led government.
Be that as it may, we should thank the former government for the positive things that were done during its tenure.
It is important also to acknowledge the other contending parties, such as the Progressive VI Movement, Progressives United and the candidates who were unsuccessful.
The newly elected VIP government is to be given some time to settle in and make plans in line with their mandate. Through it all, the unconquerable spirit of the premier stands out like a beacon and will be a source of inspiration. At the VIP’s recent 48th anniversary gala, Mr. Fahie received the Honouree Award for his outstanding leadership in the recent general election. This is one of many awards, and he is certainly on target for “Man of the Year” award. If the VIP builds on its enduring legacy, it could become the Party of the Year and maybe the Party for All Time in the History of the Territory.
— Dr. Quincy Lettsome