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Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Election Watch: Major questions surround Penn’s leadership skills

Election Watch: Major questions surround Penn’s leadership skills

Political commentator Claude Skelton Cline has argued that tremendous questions are hovering over the ability of Opposition Leader Marlon Penn to become the next Premier of the BVI.

Skelton Cline noted on his Honestly Speaking radio show yesterday that he found it curious to hear that Penn said he would be ready if a snap election were to be called, particularly because Penn has reportedly not officially been declared Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

The last officially recognised Chairman of the party, Skelton Cline said, was Myron Walwyn, who resigned after the party lost at the last election.

Skelton Cline said it would also be curious to see if Walwyn returns and whether he returns as a member of the NDP as well.

Speaking on the NDP’s candidate recruitment process ahead of the next General Election that is constitutionally due in 2023, Skelton Cline said: “I know that they have been trying desperately to try to pull the fragmented pieces of the NDP together.”

According to Skelton Cline, these efforts have not been going all too well, and therefore Penn has been unable to successfully put together a substantive meeting to be elected as Chairman.

“There are tremendous questions around whether or not Honourable Penn has the capacity at such a time like this, the shrewdness, the gravitas, the weightiness, the command of his own party and of the people in which to give leadership to a country that is at the crossroads,” Skelton Cline said.

The talk show host said he found it even more curious that the Opposition Leader indicated that the public will be better aware, in a matter of weeks, what Penn’s team in the next election will look like.

He added: ”I want to say to Honourable Penn, I hope he can emerge as leader, but he’s going to have his hands full internally, and then if he is to face an Andrew Arturo Fahie and a Virgin Islands Party government, his hands will be even more the fuller. So, leadership matters.”

Skelton Cline further argued that the holder of the post of Opposition Leader is always seen as the Premier-in-waiting.

Who is Penn really leading?


Taking a closer look at Penn‘s current post in the House of Assembly (HOA) as Opposition Leader, Skelton Cline said he was unsure of who Penn was actually leading.

Skelton Cline said Penn’s fellow NDP member Mark Vanterpool was not expected to run for office again, and NDP member Alvera Maduro-Caines crossed the aisle to sit with the government some three years ago.

Opposition members Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement and Julian Fraser of Progressives United are also not members of the NDP, and therefore not under Penn’s direct leadership.

“So, in so far as leadership of the Opposition, I’m not sure who Honourable Penn is leading other than the fact that he is holding the post of ([leader of] what they refer to as her Majesty’s loyal Opposition,” Skelton Cline said.

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