Newly appointed Deputy Premier, Lorna Smith, OBE has insisted that she holds no remorse about teaming up with the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) to help form the new government.
“To an extent, yes, there may have been some lack of communication,” Smith said about her sudden and unexpected move to merge with the VIP, “but I have no regrets. I have no regrets, absolutely.”
Smith made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with Cut Deep host, Cindy Rosan, after her swearing-in ceremony last evening, April 25.
The newly-minted Deputy Premier defended her decision to make that alliance with the VIP while contending that she felt the territory was in a state of limbo without a government being formed hours after the elections had ended.
Smith, who emerged as the second-highest Territorial At-Large vote getter, also pointed to the likelihood of protracted negotiations over details of the formation of a coalition government.
In offering insight into what transpired behind the scenes, Smith explained that promised negotiations that began between elected members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) — on whose platform she ran — and the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), never continued as expected the following day. The Deputy Premier noted that both parties had agreed to resume negotiations at 8am on the morning after the elections.
“Nobody called me. Nobody contacted me, you know? Eight o’clock,” she said. “It’s the Caribbean. So, I thought that perhaps, ‘Caribbean time’. So, a couple of hours elapsed, and still no call [came]. So at that point, I conferred with my family again and spoke with the Virgin Islands
Ministry post agreed, but no power play
Smith maintained that her interest laid predominantly in getting the government formed and moving forward and when asked whether her move was a ‘power play’, She simply responded: “No, a power play? No.”
Smith then made a noticeable pause after being asked whether she would have considered taking a role in the VIP-led government as a parliamentary backbencher — without a ministerial post . “Well, I have to think about that. If I had to, yes, I would have,” she said.
Smith indicated that she was uncertain about her ministerial assignment thus far but asserted that she was hopeful about being assigned a post that was close to her interests.
“I’m grateful that [my appointment] was confirmed this evening,” Smith commented. “It puts me in a position. I don’t know which ministry I will have… those are matters to be agreed on; negotiated and so on.”
She added: “It was confirmed that I would, of course, get a ministry [and] I’m hoping that the ministry would be one that’s related to my area of immediate interest, and that is international business and financial services, [and] tourism if I can get it.”