Over the last several weeks, some of the National Democratic Party (NDP) candidates’ campaign billboards have been sabotaged, which has led to NDP Chairman, Hon. Myron Walwyn pointing the blame in the direction of their political opponents.
Such action is in contravention of the Elections Code of Conduct, which states, “No political party or any of its members or supporters, and no candidate or any of his or her supporters, may damage or deface property, including the election posters, placards, banners and other election material of another party or candidate…”
The most recent was the defacing of the NDP’s Sixth District candidate, Alvera Maduro-Caines’ billboard in Bell Vue.
In response, Hon. Myron Walwyn has described the act as “shameful.”
Speaking with BVI Platinum News, Hon. Walwyn said, “This kind of conduct is shameful. I remember for instance, we put a billboard up in District One and it was torn down.”
He pointed to several other occasions in which the NDP’s billboards were damaged.
“This is the second poster for Elvis Harrigan that was destroyed, because there were two posters side-by-side. One was an NDP poster and one was a VIP poster. In both instances in the Fifth District, the VIP poster was left untouched and the NDP poster was destroyed. And now you have the situation with Alvera Maduro-Caines in Belle Vue,” he lamented.
The chain of occurrences has led to the NDP Chairman pointing the blame in the direction of his political opponents.
“From the pictures I have seen, the colour of the paint is green and you have paint of so many different colours. It is interesting that the colour of that paint is green and it leads me to believe that there is one particular political party based on their conduct,” he said.
“Based on the memes that they’ve been sending around, based on their rhetoric on the stage, they have created a very hostile political environment and their surrogates are taking their words and putting them into action on the streets and it has to stop,” he continued.
Hon Walwyn said that these sorts of acts should not be resorted to, and the political race should be a clean one.
According to Hon. Walwyn, “It’s a small country, we all live here. Politics should be a contest of ideas and we all put our plans forward to the electorate and trust them to make the right decisions. But this kind of conduct that I am seeing, particularly from one party that is known for this kind of conduct, I would have thought that they would have changed, but their conduct has gotten worse.”
Meanwhile, in response to the destruction of Maduro-Caines’ billboard, her opponent on the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), John Samuel has alleged that he too experienced similar sabotage.
In a statement on social media, Mr. Samuel said, “My posters on the poles were defaced over the past week, and now my opponents’ poster defaced. I do not support or condone this behaviour and I condemn this 100 percent. All persons actively playing a role should cease and desist immediately.”
He went on to say, “We have to be better in our community and this kind of behavior is representative of the lowest denominator among us. When we do not speak out about things like this, we run the risk of letting our democracy slip away from us, and that is very dangerous.”
Attempts to get a response from VIP Chairman, Hon. Andrew Fahie were futile.