While addressing political jabs made towards the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) for which he is chairman, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley did not explicitly deny that his predecessor, former Premier Andrew Fahie, was consulted over the selection of Marieta Flax-Headley as the party’s Second District candidate.
However, he roundly rebuked her opponent — incumbent District Representative and Labour Minister Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull — over ‘disrespectful’ remarks the premier said Turnbull made about the matter recently.
Speaking at a Second District rally for Flax-Headley last evening, the VIP Chairman disputed that he was going down in the proverbial mud. However, he stressed the need for leaders to hold others accountable, even when it is uncomfortable. Dr Wheatley further credited his former teacher, Flax-Headley, with teaching him this important lesson.
Dr Wheatley, while highlighting his friendship with Turnbull, said he likes Turnbull as a person and would not let politics come between their friendship. However, he described Turnbull’s recent behaviour as creating a false narrative and lacking in respect.
“That is something I believe that [Turnbull] still has to learn; that it is important for us to be respectful,” the premier said. “And I have seen him disrespect the leader of his own party, in a way, in my view, that made me hang my head. We have to be respectful at all times.”
“Now, this is why I was extremely surprised, shocked, and appalled that he would create this false narrative,” the premier added. “That ‘who’ he’s calling the ‘head coach’ — which in my view is unnecessary. It’s unnecessary regardless of what has taken place; still be respectful.”Fahie
was nabbed last year after a months-long United States (US) Drug Enforcement Administration-led sting operation. The resulting indictment described Fahie
as using the alias ‘Head Coach’ to disguise interactions with his alleged co-conspirators — former BVI Ports Authority Director, Oleanvine Maynard, and her son Kadeem ‘Blacka’ Maynard – as they allegedly made plans to secretly shepherd illegal drugs through the territory’s ports and pocket the proceeds.
Insulting to grown folks
Dr Wheatley slammed Turnbull’s suggestion that the Virgin Islands
Party (VIP) is still being controlled by Fahie
, arguing that it was insulting to the intelligence of their supporters. “You going to talk to grown people,” he said, “grown people who have their own mind, who have their own principles, who have their own beliefs, who are independent in their thinking, and suggest that they are being controlled by someone else?”
He also accused Turnbull of using the former Premier’s misfortune against him. “Regardless of somebody else’s misfortune,” Dr Wheatley stated, “let us not use somebody’s misfortune as some type of platform to prop ourselves up. It is not nice and you don’t have to, for persons to support you, pull down anybody else.“
The premier argued that if Turnbull had represented his people well during his term in office and had done what he was supposed to do, this would be completely unnecessary since his constituents would have his back.
“You don’t have to pull down a soul. You don’t have to talk anything about a head coach,” Dr Wheatley stated. “You don’t have to try to connect Marieta Flax-Headley, a distinguished woman, a woman of class, a woman of integrity and suggest that she cannot make up her own mind.”