The Virgin Islands Party kicked off its campaign this week with a “Latino event” on Sunday followed by the launch of District Nine candidate Elton Sprauve on Monday night on Virgin Gorda.

 “It was a very positive response,” organiser Devon Osborne said of the Sunday event catering to Spanish-speaking residents. “We have a large Latino presence here, and they were able to mingle and ask questions to our candidates.”

During Mr. Sprauve’s launch the next night, he outlined his plan for the Ninth District.

Items in his platform include promoting affordable housing through the National Bank of the Virgin Islands and the Social Security Board, as well as instituting price controls if need be, he said.

Mr. Sprauve also said that instead of handing out “free entitlements,” he would work to allocate government resources towards the territory’s education and health care systems.

“We will support programmes that will take the hundreds of [youths] from the streets and into skills training centres; we will give them access to low-interest-rate loans to help them set up their own businesses,” he said. “We will give them more job opportunities by improving and expanding the service industry sectors here on these two islands.”

In terms of infrastructure projects, Mr. Sprauve said he’d like to help bring in the construction of a deep-water port in the Manchioneel Bottom area.

“The deep-water port is crucial, as it can serve a dual purpose, including the accommodation of smaller cruise ships, which also encourages longer stays on island because of the easier access,” he said.

During the launch, other VIP members, including District Nine incumbent Ralph O’Neal, spoke in support of Mr. Sprauve. Mr. O’Neal is retiring this year after holding the seat for 40 years.

Other VIP candidates were announced last week. Rajah Smith and JoAnn Romney were selected to round out the VIP’s list of district candidates and run for the Second and Fourth districts, respectively. Chosen to run at large were Dr. Karl Dawson, Irene Penn-O’Neal, Charmaine Rosan-Bunbury and Sharie De Castro.

Other district candidates had been announced earlier: incumbent Andrew Fahie in the First; incumbent Julian Fraser in the Third; Zoe Walcott-McMillan in the Fifth; Elvis Harrigan in the Sixth; and McLloyd Walters in the Eighth.

See the May 14, 2015 edition for full coverage.

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