Commissioner of Customs, Wade Smith has resigned from his post and has since announced that he will be contesting the 2019 general elections as a candidate for the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).
Smith launched his candidacy and announced his resignation as he stood on the platform of the PVIM during the organization’s launch on 7 December. At that time the former Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Customs said: “I am known to many as Wade Smith, the Commissioner of Customs. As of today I am no longer the Commissioner of Customs and present myself to you as a candidate contesting a seat in the next General Elections, in the Fifth Electoral District.”
Smith did not dally on whether he had difficulty deciding to leave his job, a post he has held for many years. Instead he disclosed during a radio broadcast on Tuesday that breaking the news to members of staff at Customs was a difficult process.
“Leaving Customs was bitter sweet, I tried for a while, I tried for a long time to meet with the staff to let them know because I know it was going to be very emotional and that it was. The staff themselves started to breakdown I had to tell them let’s abbreviate this because it was difficult to leave but I had to make the next step,” Smith explained.
He said that this new chapter in his life will be no different than the previous paths he has travelled as he said that his career at Her Majesty’s Customs was shaped by a love for the Territory: “I made the sacrifice to return to the Virgin Islands from the United States Customs Service to make my contributions to the development and modernisation of Her Majesty’s Customs here in the BVI.”
“I am no stranger to making sacrifices for my Country. I knew one day I would offer myself to represent my Country in a higher capacity, however, the aftermath of the 2017 disasters accelerated my decision to enter the political arena,” he said.
During the PVIM launch the former Commissioner of Customs gave an insight into some of the factors that influenced his decision to run for office. He said: “As I sat in my position as Commissioner and saw the conditions of my colleagues and my staff I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hopelessness. After 15 months some of our children are still being relocated and are displaced, our ports of entries, schools, government offices, churches and homes are still in a state of disrepair. As the Commissioner of Customs my hands felt tied and it became apparent that in order for me to be able to assist my Country and its people I had to make a change!”
“In the past 24 years we have seen our Country handed from one Government to the other and in those 24 years we are faced with many of the same issues such as allegations of corruption, over spending, mismanagement of funds, sewerage woes, water concerns, inadequate school facilities and the list goes on. People of the Virgin Islands it’s time for a change,” he added.