Battered & Bruised! We Intend To Build On New Interest
The National Democratic Party (NDP) went from winning two consecutive general elections to losing most of its core members within the space of months.
Monday’s resignation by 6th District Representative, Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines from the NDP further eroded the strength of the party in the House of Assembly (HOA) and perhaps beyond, a move that is being downplayed by the party’s present leadership.
“I am comforted, that the National Democratic Party has never been about its politicians. Our commitment of service to the people and our strong vision for these Virgin Islands is undeterred,” said Hon. Penn, NDP’s interim Chairman and Opposition Leader.
Further, Hon. Penn stated that prior to the last election, the party commenced a rebuilding process, which drew new interest and commitment to leadership, and service from very bright, ambitious, visionary and caring young persons.
“We intend to build on this, as we seek to continue, our Party’s transformation,” Hon. Penn stated.
With Maduro-Caines' departure, the NDP now has two seats in the House - Hon. Penn and Fourth District Representative, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, who found himself having to fight sit in the HOA after he submitted a resignation letter following last year's elections.
The party became deeply fractured when then Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Myron Walwyn was selected to lead the party in June 2018 ahead of founding member, Hon. Ronnie Skelton, who was at the time Minister of Minister of Health and Social Development.
Hon. Skelton was fired from his ministerial post, crossed the floor to join the opposition and eventually started the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).
Hon. Archie Christian who was also booted as Junior Minister of Tourism after resigning from the NDP, had also crossed the floor to join the opposition. Second District Representative, Melvin Mitch Turnbull, a first-time candidate with the party, also resigned from NDP administration and crossed over to the Opposition.
Turnbull eventually joined the PVIM to contest the 2019 elections and was joined by former NDP candidate, Shaina Smith.
Another founding member of the NDP, Hon. Kedrick Pickering contested the 2019 elections as an independent candidate after serving as Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour.
The political maneuvering over the recent months left the NDP a candidate short of the 13-member slate fielding for the general elections. The party’s crushing loss to the VIP saw Hon. Walwyn resign as the Chairman.
All of the former NDP members lost at the polls, except for Hon. Turnbull who retained his seat.
Hon. Penn, who is now tasked with leading the rebuilding of the NDP said Maduro-Caines’ resignation on Monday marks a further turning point in the evolution of the party.
“While this move by Honourable Maduro-Caines was unexpected, I remain confident, that our hope, conviction and resolve, will guide us beyond this, and on to a stronger National Democratic Party and Better Virgin Islands,” Hon. Penn has stated.