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Premier Wheatley never ‘won’ his district decisively — Skelton Cline

Premier Wheatley never ‘won’ his district decisively — Skelton Cline

Political commentator and clergyman Pastor Claude Skelton Cline has suggested that Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley did not win his district decisively enough to silence detractors over whether he can retain his seat as the Seventh District Representative.
Skelton Cline posited on his Honestly Speaking radio show recently that the Seventh District remains ‘wide open’ for the taking at the upcoming general elections, given the uncertainty over whether the territory’s leader can get re-elected in that constituency.

General elections are constitutionally due by mid-May of 2023, but Premier Wheatley recently noted that the government has not made a decision on a date as yet.

“The Seventh District is up for grabs. Our dear friend who is the now-current Premier never ‘won’ his district. And to be a district candidate, district candidates must win their district,” said Skelton Cline, who was suggesting that Dr Wheatley’s victory during the last election was marginal.

He added: “In the case of the Seventh District, the two other candidates, their numbers were more than our [Dr Wheatley] — who I helped to get elected. They were more than his number. So, that’s what I mean when I say he did not win his district. Those two combined members — between Dr Pickering and I think Brother Penn — were more than the numbers he got and one of the things to have a stronghold on your district, is that a district candidate must win their district. So, I think that seat is wide open.” 

Skelton Cline also argued that the two major political parties — the National Democratic Party (NDP) and incumbent Virgin Islands Party (VIP), led by Dr Wheatley — will struggle with campaign financing since donors are unlikely to fund the parties due to lack of confidence in the current leadership of those political organisations.

Skelton Cline, however, expected that NDP leader Marlon Penn will retain his seat in the Eighth District, despite presiding over what he described as one of the most deplorable areas in the country alongside Premier Wheatley.

In the meantime, Skelton Cline praised the recent announcement of direct flights to Miami by next June 2023 made by Deputy Premier Kye Rymer and suggested that the first-term legislator was a certainty for re-election as the Fifth District Representative. 

“I just want us to celebrate that we have direct flights coming soon. You can book, get you to the mainland… two-and-a-half, three hours. My goodness. Keep the good works up, brother Kye. I told you all if I was in the Fifth District, I gotta vote for him,” Skelton Cline said.

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