BVI, Caribbeanand International News

No regrets! I wanted to be Premier

No regrets! I wanted to be Premier

Third District Representative and senior legislator Julian Fraser has confirmed rumours that he demanded the seat of Premier when he was asked to partner with the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) after the April 24 general election.
When the election concluded with no clear winner, different political parties began exploring the idea of forming an alliance in order to come up with a seven-member coalition needed to form a government in the BVI.

Since the VIP finished with six elected candidates, they only needed to snatch one more person to form the government. That’s when they approached Fraser and asked him to partner with them to form a coalition. Since then, rumours have been circulating that Fraser demanded the seat of Premier but was refused.

In addition to those rumours, Premier Wheatley recently admitted that the VIP’s negotiations with Fraser broke down because his demands were simply too much to accommodate. However, the premier refused to openly state what those demands were.

But at a recent press conference hosted by the newly-formed Opposition, Fraser confirmed that he did ask for the seat of Premier when he was asked to form an alliance with the VIP.

“I told the VIP in no uncertain terms — I have no regrets and I have no apologies — the only way I’ll work with you guys is if I am the chief. The Premier,” said Fraser who also hinted that the ultimatum was rooted in lack of trust. “There was no discussion other than I have to be the Premier, no question. I am not going into a battle with people I don’t — I don’t want to say ‘trust’ — but I’m not going into battle unless I’m in charge.”

During the press conference, Marlon Penn, Representative for the Eighth District, also hinted that lack of trust as well as past actions of the VIP were among the reasons he turned down several persons who asked him to form an alliance with them.

“I had over seven members of the party (VIP) calling me but I stood on principle. We ran an anti-corruption campaign and when we formed the Unity Government, it exposed significant mal-administration and challenges with the VIP administration. We saw the Auditor General reports and the concerns that were raised. Then, for me, it was very clear that my first point of negotiation would not be working with the VIP when we have a viable option of working with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) and the Progressive United (PU) to form a government,” Penn explained.

Although Penn, Fraser, and other elected candidates turned down offers to form an alliance, At-Large Representative Lorna Smith broke ranks with the National Democratic Party (NDP) and formed an alliance with the VIP. She was given the post Deputy Premier because of it.

Although leaders of the NDP, PVIM and PU and several sections of the community have expressed disapproval and shock over Smith’s decision to form an alliance with the VIP, the Deputy Premier is resolute and maintains that her decision was made in the best interest of the BVI.
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