At-large representative Ronnie Skelton has been appointed opposition leader, replacing First District Representative Andrew Fahie, Governor Gus Jaspert announced Friday.
Mr. Jaspert said he received a letter from Mr. Skelton on Thursday requesting the position. Since the letter had also been signed by opposition members Archie Christian (R-at large) and Mitch Turnbull (R-D2), it signified that a majority of the five-member opposition agreed with the change.
The three joined the opposition side of the House of Assembly in November after leaving the governing National Democratic Party in the wake of Mr. Skelton’s disclosure that he was heading the new Progressive Virgin Islands Movement into the next election.
Mr. Jaspert said he agreed to Mr. Skelton’s request after seeking legal advice. Section 70 of the Constitution, he explained, requires the governor to appoint an opposition leader recommended by “a majority of the elected members of the House who are members of any opposition party whose numerical strength in the House is greater than that of any other opposition party.”
Mr. Fahie heads the Virgin Islands Party, and the other opposition member, Julian Fraser (R-D3) recently launched the new Progressives United party.
“I thank the Honourable Andrew Fahie for serving the people of the Virgin Islands as the leader of the opposition,” the governor said, adding, “I wish Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton all the best in his new role as leader of the opposition.”