Virgin Islands Party (VIP) candidate, Kevin ‘OJ’ Smith, has accused incumbent Third District Representative, Julian Fraser, of attempting to mislead the public when he referenced Smith’s work with now-disgraced former premier, Andrew Fahie.
is currently awaiting trial in the United States on charges of drug smuggling and money laundering along with his co-accused — former BVI Ports Authority Director Oleanvine Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard.
While speaking at his Third District campaign launch days ago, Fraser berated Smith about his association with Fahie
, urging him to come clean about the work he did as a political adviser for the former leader before Fahie
’s arrest and detention.
“Everyone who was around those developments (Fahie
’s arrest) must be made to answer,” Fraser argued at his campaign launch. “And they must answer before elections… My opponent (Smith) was under contract to the premier as his adviser, which made him assistant premier.”
] was arrested in Miami on April 28 while [Smith] was still his assistant, and to this day, I haven’t heard from my opponent, the role his advice played in any of this,” Fraser added. Fraser signalled that it was an opportune time for Smith to speak up, particularly since Fahie
’s colleagues distanced themselves from him “like fleas on a wet rat” after his arrest.
Smith, in refuting Fraser’s accusations of impropriety against him, noted that Fraser mentioned both his salary ($100,000) and the terms of his contract with the former premier. He clarified that his salary was approved by Cabinet, and said his engagement with the government pertained only to policy matters and projects which were of importance to any premier.
“Whatever occurred with the former premier is yet to be proven in court,” Smith argued. “My job did not include advice or dealings with respect to the former premier’s personal activities.”
Smith, in turn, suggested that Fraser, a six-term district representative, had much to answer for himself. Among other things, Smith asserted that Fraser voted ‘most favourably’ for the contentious so-called ‘greedy bill’ that could see him netting as much as $1,000,000 in lump sum retirement funds, even as normal residents struggle to pay their bills.
The greedy bill is a law passed by the incumbent VIP that generously rewards lawmakers in a dubious pension scheme that Smith said Fraser, unlike the current premier and other lawmakers on the campaign trail, is yet to criticise or ask to have it repealed.
Fraser, who was recently endorsed by the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) in his re-election bid, is also facing National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate, Aaron Parillon, for the Third District seat.