Former Premier dismisses calls for return to politics
Former Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has pushed back on calls that he should return to active politics to help navigate the BVI away from its current impasse with the United Kingdom (UK).
Dr Smith made reference to his age, pointing out that he is now 78 years old. He said there are a lot of young people who are educated, raring to go, and quite capable of representing the territory.
Taking a pointed dig at some of his past associates, Dr Smith said: “I wouldn’t put myself in the position of some of my former colleagues who say ‘my people are calling for me, but when I go, they don’t come’”.
The former three-term Premier also pointed out that it was important for political parties to marshal their candidates now so they can have a good campaign ahead of the upcoming elections which are due by mid-May of this year.
Dr Smith further noted that while it was important for leaders to develop the country, it was also equally essential to ensure that the well-being of the people was simultaneously being cared for.
Education shouldn’t matter
While declining to make any pronouncements on the likelihood of success of any of the candidates who have already put their names forward, the former Premier also suggested that a person’s educational background should not preclude them from running for political office.
“I think [qualifications are] something you should ask yourself about all the candidates but also, anybody can put themselves up for elections,” Dr Smith said.
He continued: “It doesn’t matter what your education is, it doesn’t matter what position you hold, because it’s their right. It’s their democratic right. And it is the democratic right of the people in this territory to make what they think is the best selection.”
Dr Smith further expressed that the territory’s constitution already outlines the type of persons who can run for elected office and argued that this now leaves it up to the people to make their selection from a pool that is presented.
“It’s up to the people of the territory to be able to listen, and decide who is best to lead us. It is also up to the parties who have put themselves together to make sure that they have developed a sound discussion on the way forward for the territory so they can present this to people in a way they can understand and make a proper decision,“ he argued.