Health Minister Marlon Penn said his National Democratic Party (NDP) has moved on from talks with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) about a possible merger.
The two sides reportedly met about heading into the upcoming general elections as a single unit before party members and other stakeholders decided that discussions should be discontinued.
The NDP and PVIM currently sit alongside the Virgin Islands
Party (VIP) government in Cabinet as part of a tripartite governing coalition.
Speaking on the Talking Points radio show recently, Penn, the current NDP Chairman, said the two parties never got into any details at any stage of those discussions.
“We all looked at the numbers. We saw that the most practical thing to do was for us to have a conversation about how we could unify and move forward as a unified organisation for the best interest of the country,” Penn explained.
“They’ve moved on, we’ve moved on,” Penn added. “We listened to the people. The people said that they thought the best option was for us to mend our differences, come back around the table, and we made an attempt, a valiant attempt to do so, to do just that. It didn’t materialise.”
Penn also denied an existing narrative that his party was demanding certain things as pre-conditions for a possible merger, insisting that discussions never advanced to that stage.
According to Penn, “that’s totally false. We had a cursory conversation on moving forward on what we thought was the best approach for us to move forward, and we intended to have a further conversation which never happened and we learned of a [PVIM] launch later on after that conversation.”
When questioned on the issue of the merger last week, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) Chairman, Ronnie Skelton said he preferred that individual members join his party’s cause.
We’ll be launching soon
In the meantime, the NDP Chairman said his party is now in the process of moving forward since the PVIM already held its launch last week.
While declining to name any prospective candidates on the NDP slate, Penn said his party also has intentions of launching some time before the end of the week.
The party leader said, ultimately, everyone has been touting that they are vying for office to save the country’s democracy.