Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hon. Myron Walwyn and the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), Hon. Andrew Fahie, will be taking their war of words to a debate stage in just under two weeks, as they participate in a panel debate, led by the leaders.
Hon. Fahie, who previously declined a debate against Hon. Walwyn on the grounds that district debates should be held first, said that he will be participating “in the spirit of moving forward.”
The debate is scheduled for February 21, the day of advance polling, at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s (HLSCC) auditorium from 6:30 p.m.
Thus far, only those two parties have confirmed their participation, while the Julian Fraser-led Progressives United (PU) has declined.
Debate Organiser, Mr. Eustace ‘Boss’ Freeman divulged, “Healthy conversations between the debate committee and PVIM representative is ongoing.”
However, he noted, “Whether or not they confirm, it will be going on the 21st. We think that the whole democratic process in the BVI is changing and it’s a crucial time. And we think that we need answers as to where the country may be headed.”
The debate will see each party’s Chairman accompanied by two other candidates from their party.
Mr. Freeman said that the debate committee consists of persons from across the BVI, who all have different affiliations.
“We mixed it so we could have it as transparent as possible. We support different parties’ philosophies,” he shared.
Hon. Walwyn previously issued a challenge to Hon. Fahie for a one-on-one debate, but he was ignored by Hon. Fahie, who had maintained that a debate between the leaders should only come after debates were executed among all district candidates.
When asked why he changed his mind, Hon. Fahie said, “It’s for the benefit of the country to know what’s on every member’s mind…In the spirit of moving forward, I have no problem with it.”
He sought to remind the public, “I never had a ban not to participate. I always stated that we needed to do the districts first before you get the leaders.”
The VIP Chairman pointed to the last planned debate in District Three among the district candidates, when the NDP’s candidate had refused to participate.
“I think the NDP has shunned the debates from the districts because they don’t think it would be in their best interest,” he stated.
He said his party is yet to decide who would be accompanying him on stage.