This is the most unpredictable time in Virgin Islands politics in living memory.
Anyone claiming to know the political and constitutional outcomes for the VI from the very public Commission of Inquiry, and the subsequent impact on politics from the investigation, is either a prophet or a liar. No one — apart from senior officials in the United Kingdom who have a finger on the pulse of the overseas territories — has any idea where the territory is headed. And whether there will be general elections before June 23, 2023 — the time limit for a general election — is a guessing game.
Consequently, to come to any objective assessment, an observer of VI politics can only attempt to make some very basic assumptions based upon history, and then factor in various probabilities from the commission’s investigations.
Predicting the outcomes of elections in the territory has always been a game of fools. In the VI, elections can turn based on a handful of votes in a single district, to a massive swing against an unpopular government: first past the post.
Okay. One probability assumes there will be elections in 2023, with the same political players in place as in the previous general election. Under that probability, the two-party system will remain a potent factor in the campaign, but with a huge caveat.
Historically, the safest seats in the House of Assembly are the district seats. Consequently, the district candidates, in an atmosphere of utter unpredictability, have the most power to direct the course of elections.
For example, district representatives may decide to drop their party loyalties and forge alliances across the floor. This may mean coalition government.
In fact, if the level of perceived anger against the incumbents is real and valid, then that may well be the best way for district members to safeguard their power.
Alliances will include representatives and activists from various parties across the political spectrum who come together in new political formations with new visions, agendas and plans.
The preceding is simple speculation, as the COI remains the 800-pound gorilla in the VI political jungle.
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