Third Party Formed While NDP Faces Crisis

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“I have had enough,” Second District Representative, Hon. Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull announced during a television interview after news of his resignation from National Democratic Party.

Within the space of a week the ruling National Democratic Party experienced a shakeup that begun with the resignation of former Junior Minister for Tourism, NDP founding member and Treasurer, Hon. Archibald Christian, NDP Vice President Dr. Michael Turnbull, and Chairperson of the NDP Women’s Association Shaina Smith. The most shocking of the exodus was the firing of Minister for Health, Hon. Ronnie Skelton who is allegedly the leader of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), a new political party that has allegedly been formed by former NDP supporters.

In his candid interview Turnbull – who submitted a letter to Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon. Ingrid Moses on 15 November announcing that he was no longer with the NDP – admitted that he was in fact a member of the PVIM.

While providing insights into his decision to leave, the Second District Representative said: “After understanding all the things that have been happening for a long time I handed my resignation to the Speaker in her hand, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, stating that I do not want to continue sitting on the Government’ side, and I wish to be sitting by the Opposition within the House of Assembly.”

At the time of the interview Hon. Turnbull admitted that he handed the letter to the Speaker before tendering his resignation to the Chairman of the National Democratic Party. He then suggested that the content of the letter somehow leaked to the press.

“The story broke on one or the other news websites it leaves the question of how that information got out, because I gave the letter directly and specifically to the Speaker in her hand, but nevertheless … I have tried my best within the three years that I have been elected to serve not only people of the Second District who gave me this opportunity, but the people of the Virgin Islands.”

When further prompted to disclose the reason for his decision Hon. Turnbull said: “Within the government system a lot of things have been going wrong even before the passages of Irma and Maria they have been going wrong, we have been on the wrong track. You have heard people like Hon. Delores Christopher, myself and others speaking up. My position, my job was basically to ensure that the Virgin Islands as a country and its people are leading the way. That we are being – as a government – transparent, accountable and holding a level of integrity and I think that’s what is missing and for some reason we think we can continue to pull and fool the people.”

“I have had enough, yesterday my contribution ended. That a change was going to come and it was going to come now, hence me giving my letter of resignation. It is not just one straw…it is a haystack. There have been a number of things. I pointed to accountability. I pointed to transparency – just frank open communications, sharing of information there is not that but the pretense, the fallacy that it exists and it is easy for one person or one member to say it audibly that this exists and that exists and it is really not so, I can no longer be truthful to myself, to the people of this country and the Second District persons who elected me and continue under a lie because I believe nothing can work itself out of a lie,” he added.

As it relates to his continued representation, Hon. Turnbull said that his commitment to the District transcends party affiliation. “When I made the decision to run for the Second District the conversation went like this – ‘I am running for the Second District with or without the NDP and then the decision was made for them to accept me. For the persons who elected me in the Second District I am going to hold my community meeting starting on Monday on Jost Van Dyke to give them more of the background because I have been sharing with them over the years.”

Turnbull said that his allegiance is to the people who elected him to serve, and also noted that he has been accountable to his constituents over the three years. Additionally, Hon. Turnbull said that he has over the years been told by his constituents some of the challenges he has been experiencing.

“The beauty of it is that the people of the Virgin Islands, the people of this Territory are no longer blind. Irma and Maria have been the greatest equalizers. Now it appears as if I can spin a story or try to spin a story or overtalk someone then I become believable but then again the truth is the truth and I am here to speak the truth about what happened and what is happening and we cannot continue down this road,” the Second District Representative announced.

The Second District Representative described the PVIM, which so far is mainly know through hearsay as a group of like-minded people. In fact, Hon. Turnbull said that the PVIM is a grassroots organization that comprises of people that want to take the Territory back to the basics, where the people of the Virgin Islands and the Territory, comes first.

“The beauty about the group so far, is that there is a very good mix of people… there is some of the elder persons, as well as a great dynamic of younger people and I think that balance, in terms of advice, transition, [and]in terms of leadership… that is what we are representing right now,” he commented.

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