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Could VI see its first female Premier after the 2023 Elections?

Could VI see its first female Premier after the 2023 Elections?

Since the Virgin Islands (VI) moved to a ministerial system some 56 years ago, there has never been a woman as Chief Minister or Premier of the territory.

Many residents are claiming that many of the issues caused by the political class have been because of Patriarchal leadership fueled by male egos, and that it is time for a woman to be at the helm of the Government in the Virgin Islands.

However, currently, there are no women heading any of the four main political parties, these are the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) led by Dr the Hon Natalio D. Whealty (R7); the National Democratic Party (NDP) led by Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8); Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) led by Ronnie W. Skelton and the one-man Progressives United (PU) led by Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), all men.

But with the outcome of the elections uncertain and many voters believing that there will be a coalition government, could a woman emerge as the next Premier?

There are many female candidates being floated as possible Premiers including, former First Lady Lorna G. Smith of the NDP, Luce D. Hodge-Smith of the VIP, and Ingrid A. Moses-Scatliffe of the PVIM.

However, for these women to even be considered for premiership in the VI, they must first win their seats in the House of Assembly.

If the party leaders of the four main parties do not make the cut in the April 24, 2023, election there could be a lot of 'jockeying' for power and a female could be in the lead for the highest office in the VI.

Male dominated leadership of the current political parties include, Hons Dr Natalio D. Wheatley (VIP), Julian Fraser (PVIM), Marlon A. Penn (NDP) along with former Legislator Ronnie W. Skelton (PVIM).

A women leader possible in a sexist culture?

Over the years, there have been two former female legislators who served as Deputy Chief Minister/Deputy Premier in the persons of Eileene L. Parsons OBE and R. Dancia Penn-Sallah OBE, KC, but those have been the highest political office holders led by women.

While the VI in 2023, remains a male leadership-dominated society with old-fashioned and often sexist attitudes being propagated about the role of women, political pundits are forecasting that in an election year when persons want change, a woman could possibly emerge as the first female Premier of the Virgin Islands.

Five months ago, controversial talk-show host Claude O. Skelton-Cline who hosts the Honestly Speaking radio show on ZBVI 780am had predicted that a woman would emerge as the leader of the Territory following the 2023 General Elections.

His prediction will be put to the test on April 24, 2023, if none of the political parties wins seven seats outright.

Mr. Skelton-Cline like others in the VI, have encouraged residents to vote for women and including controversial social activists Cindy Rosan, who has been pushing for an all-female slate for the HoA.

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