(BVI NEWS) – The British Virgin Islands could see the next General Election earlier than anticipated, according to Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.
In a broadcast on Monday evening, Dr Smith said: “At some point next summer, or maybe even before, we will have another general election.”
“In that election, the National Democratic Party (NDP) will once again stand,” added a confident Dr Smith, who said he will not be leading the party to the polls come 2019.
It is expected whoever is elected to replace Dr Smith as NDP President will attempt to lead the party into its third consecutive term in government.
Come Saturday, June 23, the NDP will host a conference in which it will elect a new president, among other things.
Government ministers Myron Walwyn and Ronnie Skelton are both contending for the top post.
While the territory anticipates what could be a snap general election, the opposing Virgin Islands Party (VIP) is yet to announce its candidates who will contest at the polls.
VIP leader Andrew Fahie recently said his party would begin making political rounds to recruit potential VIP candidates. Notably, Fahie recently underwent a tour of the territory, which some have labelled as a political campaign.
Meanwhile, in what resembles an early ‘farewell’ address, Premier Smith said he was thankful to have been allowed the opportunity to serve the BVI.
“I am grateful for all those who have been my fellow travellers through good times and bad over these past twenty years – who have shared with me the victories and the defeats.”
Though not denying his Administration’s ‘failures’, Premier Smith was keen to note ‘successes’ under his leadership such as setting aside reserves in excess of $60 million, which he said ‘proved crucial in the recent hurricanes’.
He also noted other ‘victories’ such as ‘building a global financial services sector’, investment in the local tourism sector, building the cruise ship dock and pier park village, building Peebles Hospital, and launching the National Health Insurance policy, among other things.
“Through good times and bad, we never swerved from our philosophical North Star,” the Premier noted.
“I am grateful to my wife and family who have stood beside me and given me strength when I needed it most. I am grateful to the people of the BVI who entrusted me and my colleagues in three out of the past four elections to lead our territory and whose hard work, creativity and bedrock values are the true engines for our growth. And I am grateful for the one year we have left in this government’s term – a year that I am committed to making a time of relentless effort to continue down the path to recovery.”
He added: “I will try to do so as I always have – with humility and with a promise that while I may never be free of mistakes or of missteps, I will always seek to do the right as God chooses to show me the right.”
“I look forward to that work ahead. And I look forward to the bright future that we, the people of the BVI, will build together.”