He’s been “outnumbered” in the House of Assembly and “disappointed” by several unresolved issues in his district, but Dr. Kedrick Pickering (R-D7) said Saturday that because he’s taken his responsibilities seriously, he deserves to be re-elected.

At his campaign launch Saturday night at the Sticket, Dr. Pickering told a large crowd of supporters that though the National Democratic Party only held two seats in the HOA since the party lost power in 2007, he has still managed to accomplish projects in his district.

Some of those projects, he said, include supplying drinking water to Hope Estate from Spring Ghut and the Sticket revitalisation project, which he thanked Premier Ralph O’Neal and Opposition Leader Dr. Orlando Smith for supporting.  

“If I was able to achieve what I’ve achieved working in the opposition, when you send me with a team to form the government … think about how many great things we can achieve for this community of Long Look and beyond,” he said.

Dr. Pickering, who has served in the HOA since 1999 as the District Seven representative, said that while in the opposition, he didn’t “oppose” Virgin Island Party ideas for “opposing’s sake”

“Dr. Smith and I didn’t oppose good ideas. We supported good ideas. A good idea any time is a good idea any time,” he said.

Dr. Pickering added, though, that he’s been disappointed by the longstanding problem of raw sewage dumping in the East End/Long Look community, which he said is the most important issue affecting the territory’s environment.

“It is a dangerous practice. It is going to destroy us,” he said.

Dr. Pickering then claimed that “nothing in the past four years” has taken place to fix the sewage system, making no reference to the multimillion-dollar National Sewerage Scheme, which is currently under way in the community.

He also said that he was disappointed that works on the Greenland Grounds haven’t been completed. The works have disrupted seven sports, he added.

“You think about the impact that that has had on the social and recreational life of this community,” Dr. Pickering said, “what that has done to our young people, not having recreational facilities of that magnitude.”

At-large candidates

Dr. Pickering stood at the podium Saturday, flanked by members of the NDP’s at-large candidates, who discussed the party’s vision for the territory. Some of that vision included plans proposed in previous years, such as the creation of a hospitality training centre at Prospect Reef and a small business bureau to assist entrepreneurs.

Dr. Pickering also discussed new plans Saturday to develop the economy. An employment agency distinct from the Labour Department should be created to match unfilled jobs to unemployed Virgin Islanders, he said.

“The Labour Department deals with people who have a job and have labour-related issues; an employment agency helps find people work,” he said.

Dr. Pickering added that “a new approach” is needed to improve the territory’s economy in the midst of a global recession.

“We’ve come to a point in our development, my friends, where we need a new orientation. We need a new approach to win business. Our government made some mistakes. … We have sought to correct and make good our mistakes,” he said.

For the District Seven seat, Dr. Pickering faces challengers Ronnie Lettsome, the VIP’s candidate, and Allen Wheatley, who is running with the Party of the People.