Almost seven months after former Premier Andrew Fahie was arrested in Florida and accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States, he resigned his First District seat and said he had retired from politics as of last Thursday.
The announcement came five days before he was facing likely removal for missing too many HOA meetings without leave from Speaker of the House Corine George-Massicote.
During an HOA meeting last Thursday, Ms. George-Massicote read aloud a letter from Mr. Fahie that marked his first public statement since his April 28 arrest.
In the letter, the former premier did not mention the charges against him or apologise for his actions, but he wrote that “the bright and prosperous future of the modern-day Virgin Islands” requires a “laser” focus on unity rather than discord.
“Allow God time to do what only He does best with time, which is to be the only true and fair judge while healing all wounds,” wrote the ex-premier, who is under house arrest in Miami pending a trial scheduled for next year. “As the journey continues, our Virgin Islands must approach a future head-on, because the future is coming with or without our permission.”
Mr. Fahie also referenced the vision of the territory’s foreparents, the difficulties the territory faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the importance of being prepared for the challenges ahead.
If Mr. Fahie had not resigned, he likely would have lost his seat on Tuesday under rules that require elected HOA members to vacate their seat if absent for more than three consecutive sittings without the speaker’s leave.
In July, Ms. George-Massicote said she would not excuse any further absences from the HOA because of Mr. Fahie’s inability to attend due to his house arrest. A new sitting started on Tuesday.
Mr. Fahie’s resignation marks the end of a 23-year career in politics.
He was first elected to the First District seat in 1999 at age 28, and he held it without interruption until his resignation last Thursday.
During that time, he served as health, education and welfare minister from 2000 to 2003 and education and culture minister from 2007 to 2011.
He was appointed premier in 2019 after leading the Virgin Islands Party to a sweeping victory in that year’s general election.
However, HOA members ousted him from the premiership a week after his arrest, and he was replaced by his deputy, Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, under the current National Unity Government.