The Territory now has a new political Party the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP). The emerging political body was launched 29 March at a well attended event that was held at the Maria’s by the Sea Hotel.
While the names of all of the candidates contesting the upcoming general elections under PEP was not revealed, persons in attendance had the opportunity to at least meet the Party’s Executive, which includes Hon. Alvin Christopher, as Chairman, Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru as President, Elford Parsons, as Vice President, Claudette Rymer, as Secretary, Julia Christopher as Assistant Secretary, Dennis Rhymer as Treasurer, Lorie Rymer, as Public Relations Officer, Sunny Prince, as Sergeant-at –Arms, and Glanville Penn as Chaplain.
Following the introduction, the members of the new Party spoke with the media about their plans for the upcoming elections. However, reporters were keen to enquire from Hon. Christopher his decision to form the new party and about his past affiliation with the opposing Virgin Islands Party (VIP) and the governing National Democratic Party (NDP).
In response, Hon. Christopher told the media: “I personally don’t believe the people worry too much about the party which I was in. They were more concerned about the confidence and trust that they placed in me that I would stand …what is fair and what is just for the people not only for the Second District, but the entire Virgin Islands.”
Hon. Christopher explained that he severed ties with the two parties because of principles. In the case of the VIP he told the media that he didn’t jump ship, but was fired by the leadership for his principles and what he believed: “The details I will not go into; they have not gone into it,” he added.
As it relates to his association with the NDP, Hon. Christopher stated that he was asked to join and did so believing that the Party was going to bring the necessary change: “Because of my influence in politics at the time, and my popularity, it was an easy victory for them [NDP] because they were nice boys; they were well dressed and looking good. We were of the opinion that they might bring about the change that we were thinking about, but we were wrong. When they followed the same path of the former, I stood the same place where I stood before. I will not bend, I will not bow, I will not burn. The people of the Second District believed in that and sent me back,” Hon. Christopher added.
In his new role as Chair of PEP, Hon. Christopher stated that he is ready to contest the next general elections and become Premier of the territory: “I am well prepared, well poised and well informed to be the Premier of these islands,” he stated.
PEP President Wheatley told the gathering: “We will put some PEP in your step, we will reintroduce good governance, national pride, law and order…Brothers and sisters I know that negatives will come, I know that they will tell you don’t study them.”
“They will bring up all types of things and I am sure you have already began to hear some…Bob Marley said ‘they have so much things to say right now; so much things to say…But, as an individual, I will not allow myself to be defined by the negative views of others, and, we will not allow our party to be defined by the haters. Thank God that our destiny is not in the hands of the narrow minded. We will put in the work in order to be the party that the people need at this time,” he added.