The National Democratic Party (NDP) may be splintered at the moment, but Hon. Marlon Penn is likely to remain the Leader of the four-member Opposition in the House of Assembly.
Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser, who himself staved off a challenge to become Opposition Leader following the 2015 general elections, was recently questioned about Penn remaining Leader of the Opposition given the departure of Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines, the Sixth District Representative who crossed the floor to join the Virgin Islands Party administration last month.
"I don’t think that is something I want to discuss at this point," Hon. Fraser stated.
Further he said, "I mean I never thought of it , you (reporter) brought it up so I cant respond at this point."
The NDP still has the majority in the Opposition with two seats, including Fourth District Representative, Hon Mark Vanterpool who penned a resignation letter before changing his mind and was sworn-in following several trips to the court.
Fraser is the leader of the Progressive United (PU) party while the fourth member of the Opposition is Second District Representative, Hon. Melville "Mitch" Turnbull, a former NDP representative, who is the lone member of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement to have won a seat.
According to Hon. Turnbull, he has held discussions with Hon. Fraser, but not about the change in Opposition Leader.
"Hon. Fraser and myself, we have discussed even before the departure of Hon. Caines, as a matter of fact we have all discussed together that we have to work as an Opposition to support the Leader of the Opposition in his current position to build a force to hold the government accountable," Hon. Turnbull replied when asked about the possibly of replacing Hon. Penn.
He added, "I know again in the minds of the people we strive on contention and we strive on negativity where I am right now my position is to ensure that we hold the government accountable . Hon. Marlon Penn is the leader of the Opposition unless he says otherwise I don’t see anything changing."
The Territory has seen three Opposition Leaders in the past four years. Former Governor John Duncan had selected Hon. Fraser as the Leader of The Opposition following a stalemate with Hon. Andrew Fahie who was the only other member in the Opposition at the time.
One of the grounds cited by Governor Duncan for his decision was Fraser being the leader of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) at the time. Months later, Hon. Fahie defeated Hon. Fraser in VIP's internal elections to become leader of the party. Hon. Fahie was subsequently appointed Leader of the Opposition.
Then in late 2018, a breakaway group from the NDP led by Hon. Ronnie Skelton and included Hon. Turnbull and Hon. Archibald Christian crossed the floor to become Opposition Members. Skelton was subsequently appointed Opposition Leader.
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