The Virgin Islands Party will choose a slate of four at-large candidates from at least nine hopefuls on Saturday, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie announced Monday.

Mr. Fahie, the VIP chairman, explained that the task will fall to the VIP’s 76-member congress.

As of an Oct. 15 deadline, eight people submitted their names for consideration for the four spots, according to the chairman.

Each of them, he said, was required to visit the nine district committees and speak on various themes: proposed solutions to the territory’s problems; how they would add value to “the proposed VIP legislative agenda, which has restoring of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance at the forefront;” and the creation of new industries, among others.

“This process is extremely important as it is a shift from the process that took place during the last snap general elections, where potential candidates were nominated from the floor and after presenting a short speech the congress voted and selected the four candidates,” Mr. Fahie explained. “While the constitution of the VIP allows for nomination from the floor, this section of the process doesn’t allow members enough time to get to know the potential candidate, nor does it measure if the candidate being nominated on the floor have [sic] the appetite to represent the people of the Virgin Islands.”

Ninth candidate

A ninth candidate came forward after the Oct. 15 deadline, but Mr. Fahie explained that this person would have to be nominated from the floor on Saturday.

“However, the need to present to each of the nine VIP district committees still remains part of the criteria for qualification for consideration, and this was conveyed and agreed upon with the said individual,” the chairman explained. “It is important to note that while submissions are allowed on the floor on [Saturday] at the meeting of the VIP congress, I strongly urge each individual who may have such intentions to please seek an audience with each of the nine VIP district committees prior.”

The nine hopefuls, he added, are on board with the process.

“Each candidate has stated in writing that no matter the final decision made by the Congress on [Saturday], they will accept the decision of the congress and work hand in glove with the Virgin Islands Party to be the next government of the Virgin Islands,” Mr. Fahie said.

VIP congress

The VIP congress includes 72 people who serve on one of the eight-member committees set up in each of the territory’s nine districts. The remaining four are the candidates who contested at-large seats for the VIP in the previous general election.

Besides selecting at-large candidates, the congress is responsible for deciding the party’s chairperson; choosing members of the party’s executive administration; and ratifying all VIP district candidates, among other responsibilities, Mr. Fahie explained.