Party leaders have spent the past few months appealing to voters, all leading up to the elections taking place this week. Clockwise from top left, they are National Democratic Leader Marlon Penn, Virgin Islands Party Leader and Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement Leader Ronnie Skelton, and Progressives United Leader Julian Fraser. (File photos: DANA KAMPA)

For more than 20 years, a party system has dominated Virgin Islands politics, and this year may be no different.

As in 2019, four parties are contending the general election, and their rosters include 32 of 42 total candidates, with the rest running independent.

The Virgin Islands Party is the only one with a full slate of 13. The National Democratic Party and Progressive Virgin Islands Movement — which discussed uniting this year but then decided against it — are each fielding nine candidates, while Progressives United is offering only one.

The Beacon invited the four party leaders to discuss the issues that matter most to voters. Three of them granted a sit-down interview: Julian Fraser of the PU; Ronnie Skelton of the PVIM; and Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley of the VIP.

NDP leader Marlon Penn agreed as well, but he did not make himself available despite multiple attempts. He is the second NDP leader in a row to skip a pre-election interview with this newspaper: His predecessor Myron Walwyn was the only one of the four party leaders who did not participate in 2019.

The interviews were conducted in person and later condensed and edited. They are linked below:

Fraser rallies against VIP re-election (JULIAN FRASER, PROGRESSIVES UNITED)


Wheatley says turmoil strengthened VIP (DR. NATALIO “SOWANDE” WHEATLEY, VIRGIN ISLANDS PARTY)