On Monday 30 July newly elected Chairman of the National Democratic Party, and Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn lashed out at the Opposition Party for what he said was a deliberate attempt to malign the government using repeated claims of corruption.
Hon. Walwyn while speaking on the first episode of NDP Drive Time stated that shortly after the 2015 General Elections the VIP began stating things that have no basis: “The Virgin Islands Party leaders launched an attack-campaign of unsubstantiated claims of corruption, mismanagement and lack of transparency against the National Democratic Party Government without a shred of evidence.”
The NDP Chairman accused the VIP of hurling accusations at government as a means to acquiring power and also referred to the opposition as divisive. “This was purposefully done for the continuing desire for power and to hide the fact that no solutions to any of the country’s challenges were forthcoming from their leaders. All we have heard from them for the past approximately three years is a steady stream of unfounded accusations and destructive and divisive criticisms in their quest for political power.”
Hon. Walwyn seemed most hurt by the fact that Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie has used the term ‘corruption’ in some of the speeches. In objecting to the use of the word, Hon. Walwyn announced: “I find it reprehensible and irresponsible that the Leader of the Opposition would throw around the word ‘corruption’ so loosely at a time when the Government seeks international aid and seeks to negotiate and secure loans to rebuild a country that was so severely impacted by hurricane Irma some ten months ago. We cannot, out of desperation for political power, put the recovery of our country at risk over unfounded allegations.”
However, the NDP Chairman admitted that Government should have been more responsive to the matters, and blamed the lack of response as the reason why the Opposition allegations are finding settling grounds. In noting that Government should have been proactive in this matter Hon. Walwyn said: “Admittedly, over the years the Government has allowed claims of allegations of corruption to go unrefuted and now perception appears to be reality. There are issues and events that we should have explained, and misinformation that we should have corrected and did not.”
Nonetheless, Hon. Walwyn maintained that Government’s decision not to respond must not be construed as corruption. “My fellow residents, a failure to respond to, and correct the misinformation is not corruption. As the new leader of the National Democratic Party you have my solemn pledge and commitment that you will be properly informed and all misinformation will be corrected going forward.”
In a further stinging rebuke Hon. Walwyn accused the Leader of the Opposition of being unqualified to scold about corruption. “People of the Virgin Islands, to be quite honest, I am not sure whether the Virgin Islands Party, or the Leader of the Opposition, possess the requisite moral rectitude to speak on the subject of corruption.”
Furthermore, Hon. Walwyn declared that there are several systems in place within the government structure to weed out corruption wherever it may exist. Therefore, the Minister for Education stated the alarm would have been sounded by any of the entities.
“People of the Virgin Islands, under this NDP Administration have you heard of any allegations of impropriety from any of these entities? Has anyone been arrested, charged, convicted or imprisoned? The answer is no. What we have seen from the Virgin Islands Party leader is a steady stream of unfounded, divisive allegations, aspersions, and innuendos for political power, without care for who may be hurt, whether country or individuals,” the NDP Chairman stated.