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Hon Turnbull claims VIP offered him Deputy Premier's post on elections night

Hon Turnbull claims VIP offered him Deputy Premier's post on elections night

Second District Representative under the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) Hon Melvin M. Turnbull is claiming he was the first person to be offered the post of Deputy Premier under a Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government, in exchange for him to defect from the PVIM and form a government with the VIP as its seventh seat.

Hon Turnbull made the claims during an April 27, 2023, joint press conference with the Opposition Members on the aftermaths of elections 2023 and said despite the reported opportunity to take the first jump, his integrity prevented him from doing otherwise.

“We stood on integrity...I was one of the members that were speaking out and speaking truth to power. I will continue to do that for the people of the Virgin Islands.”

Hon Turnbull added, “While I'm speaking truth, I failed to mention earlier that about 10:00 PM on Monday. I received the first call from the Virgin Islands Party to be the Deputy Premier, so if I was hungry for power I would have already gone,” he added.

Members of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. From left: Hon Stacy Mather, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, Hon Ronnie W. Skelton, Hon Marlon A. Penn, Hon Myron V. Walwyn and Hon Julian Fraser, RA at the joint Opposition press conference on April 27, 2023.

Hon Fraser was initially approached - Premier Dr Whealtey

It remains unclear who called Hon Turnbull and the exact terms of the offer, but Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Whealty (R7) has revealed that the initial target of the VIP was Progressive United's Hon Julian Fraser and the Third District seat as the 7th seat to form the Government with the VIP.

Hon Fraser is a former member of the VIP and led the party into the 2015 General Elections, which the VIP lost.

Hon Turnbull added that he stood on integrity in not taking up the offer. “So I shared with my party chairman and the other members of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement. I cannot say one thing to people and represent something else,” he said.

The now opposition political parties comprising PVIM, NDP, and PU have since unilaterally blamed Hon Lorna G. Smith, OBE for derailing their plans to come together and form a government when she took her At Large seat to the Virgin Islands Party.

Hon Turnbull added that his integrity; however, will remain solid moving forward, "I think it's extremely important to always remember whose I am, and I know that the people of the Virgin Islands are the priority and have to be the priority as we go from strength to strength and raise the reputation, raise the integrity, and raise the standard of the Virgin Islands,” he said.

VIP was willing to work with other party members

Meanwhile, NDP Chairman Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) and Hon Stacy Mather (AL) of PVIM have also claimed the VIP contacted them to join the 'green team' to form the next government.

This confirms that the VIP was willing to work with elected members from the different parties; however, they failed to take up the offers.

The Opposition Members have now been sheepishly complaining that the people voted for a coalition government but got something else.

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