The People’s Progressive Coalition (PPC) is not a political party, but rather an alliance of some of the independent candidates that will be contesting the June 8 general elections. The clarification of the nature of the PPC was provided to members of the media at a press conference on 28 May.
During the press conference Mr. Ishmael Brathwaite, Khoy Smith, Edmund Maduro, and Abdull Shabazz explained that the PPC is a vehicle being used by the candidates to communicate in a uniform manner.
It was stressed that although the PPC umbrella is being used, all candidates are independent. The candidates have differing views and opinions on various Territorial matters, but agree on the principle that agriculture should become the third economic pillar of the Territory and each spoke at length about this vision.
Mr. Brathwaite, who is being credited for inviting the independent candidates to unite, told the media that the PPC was first organized as an interest group. He said that originally five persons got together and decided to form an interest group, and during those discussions the persons expressed their interests in Territorial matters.
“During the discussion we also touched on going into a political party in the future, but up to that time the elections had not been announced. Before we got to the point where we could get our minds together to decide to form a party the election was announced and some of the candidates decided that they were not going to participate in this election because they did not have enough time to get ready. Three of us decided that we are going to go forward as independent candidates, but we will try to work together as a coalition with a view towards continuing this group even after the election,” Mr. Brathwaite explained.
He announced that the PPC will continue as an interest group even after June 8: “After the election if we don’t win, we would continue as a pressure group and see where we go from there because there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in relation to the performance of our government. We know that no one individual even if you get elected can pass a bill in the House of Assembly; we need at least seven persons to pass a bill so at some point we will have to get together. So we might as well learn to associate together politically right now,” he said.
Mr. Brathwaite stated that only three from the original five of the group announced as independent candidates, and decided to form a sort of coalition for this election. The three members are Khoy Smith, Edmund Maduro, and Ishmael Brathwaite.
Mr. Maduro explained that as an independent candidate he was happy to hear of Mr. Brathwaite’s plans: “When I heard what the gentleman Mr. Brathwaite was doing, pulling the independents together I felt that it was a very, very wise decision. I felt that because of how things were going, Mr. Brathwaite had made a great suggestion.”
“This (PPC) might very well lead in the future to creating a very independent party with its constitution and all the necessary documents to back up our position, but today we are really and truly independent candidates who have decided to come together for the simple purpose of making the people of the British Virgin Islands know our only hope, our only responsibility is to make sure that a government is formed in the best interest of the people,” Mr. Maduro added.
In explaining why he continues to contest various general elections, Mr. Maduro said: “Politics in the BVI and a greater part of the world is being confused by the love of money and the greed for what your neighbours have and covetousness. What I am trying to tell my people — as long as I live and I feel strong enough I will offer myself. If they fail to accept me, and they want to go down the road and the pit of destruction it is a matter of their choice. Politics in my book is not a thing to be attached to parties, or to individuals. Politics is an indispensible part of human living and I believe government is from God.”