Archibald “Archie” Christian will make his third run for office with the National Democratic Party and his first as an at-large candidate, he said at his official launch on March 30.
In his introduction of the candidate, party leader Dr. Orlando Smith, the opposition leader, said Mr. Christian is a “man of honesty, integrity and principle” who has “the best interests of the people of the British Virgin Island at heart.”
Mr. Christian has exhibited his commitment to political advancement in the Virgin Islands since 1985, when he helped on the campaign of Eileene Parsons, Dr. Smith said. In a recorded statement played at the launch, Ms. Parsons said Mr. Christian “served with distinction for many years” as a member of the board of governors for the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; at his church; and on other bodies such as the Festival Committee.
“Archie is really no stranger to the political arena,” Ms. Parsons said. Mr. Christian, a real estate appraiser, previously ran to represent the First District in 2003 and 2007.
For registered voters, election day will be a “a very important deciding moment,” she said. “Make Archie and his teammates your deciding moment on election day.”
Mr. Christian thanked his family for their support during his previous campaigns and in the present one. “For me, politics is embracing another opportunity to serve my country that I dearly love,” he said.
By way of introduction, Mr. Christian said he is a “son of the soil,” and the son of Antiguan immigrants who came to the territory in the mid 1950s. Born in 1959, Mr. Christian said he has watched the territory’s development from Main Street, where he lived as a child. In 1983, Mr. Christian began at Smiths Gore, where he is now a director and a real estate appraiser.
With his launch held just two days after the death of Tre Erickson following a scooter accident, Mr. Christian started out by offering his condolences to the territory and the family of the youth, adding that the issue of motorbike racing is getting “out of control.” He said that there is not enough regulation or enforcement of motorbike rules and added that he would like to see the territory engage in a debate on how to address the problem.
The candidate went on to trumpet the former government’s record. When the NDP was the ruling party, the territory was prosperous, and projects to improve the territory were started, Mr. Christian said, asking the crowd: “Is our country better off than it was four years ago?”
In conversations with many residents, Mr. Christian said, he has heard that voters feel that once elected, politicians only think of themselves and their close family, and that politicians tell voters what they want to hear with no intention of following through with their promises.
But this year, the NDP is different, he said. “We will listen to your concerns. We will have your input,” Mr. Christian said. “These are the values that I will uphold if we are returned to office.”
This statement caused supporters in the crowd to shout, “When, not if,” and Mr. Christian quickly amended his statement, saying, “When we are returned.”
At his launch, Mr. Christian also criticised the “unnecessary projects” undertaken by the current government at taxpayer expense, and said they are a reflection of disunity within the government, where ministers are allowed to do “whatever they want individually.” Meanwhile, Mr. Christian said, projects started by the previous government, such as the incinerator and the new hospital, are unfinished, and the territory is in a worse situation than ever as far as water and sewerage.