Amid accusations of betrayal being hurled in her direction, Deputy Premier Lorna Smith recently hit back with fresh details on her big decision to form an alliance with the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) after the April 24 general election.
Smith recently revealed that before the election, the leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Progressive United (PU) and the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) made a pact to be the leaders of the country “at all cost.” She said she was left out of those discussions and didn’t get an honest answer when she confronted NDP leader Marlon Penn.
“I asked my leader (Marlon Penn) whether this was, in fact, the case and he denied it,” Smith said during an interview on the Morning Braff radio show.
“Several other persons who heard it asked him (Penn) and again he said it was not true. It was only when Honourable Ronnie entered the room and immediately said ‘remember we had made this agreement.’ That’s when it came out and my trust was very seriously shaken,” Smith revealed.
“I didn’t say that to the public before but I think it is important that people put this in their minds for context,” Smith stated. Although the secrecy and plot to leave her out of leadership was a sore point, Smith said she made the ultimate decision to switch after hearing Marlon Penn express that it would be best if the Governor got involved to form the government.
“This person (Penn) was also of the view that perhaps the best solution would be for the Governor to form the government. My response was ‘that it would be untenable!’ — a retrograde step that should never be considered,” Smith explained.
She also reiterated that the indecision among the elected leaders pushed her to break ranks and align with the VIP. And she also said she knows of one other elected member of the PVIM who was frustrated by the indecision, although she didn’t name the individual.
Despite the controversy, Smith said she is proud of her decision and wants to focus on the work ahead of her as a representative of the people.
“I really want this to end so I can get on with serving the people of this country as I promised. And I am inviting all the people, I will stay with the people because they are my base, no party. I hope the points I have made have clarified in people’s minds why I made the decision that I made,” Smith said.
During the radio show, many residents called and spoke directly with Deputy Premier Smith. While some congratulated her, others did not hold back their criticisms:
“Good morning Miss Lorna, I thank God to be alive, you is nothing more than a hypocrite,” said one caller. However, Morning Braff host Floyd ‘Heritage’ Burnett deemed the comments disrespectful and the call was axed before he could finish the sentence.