British Virgin Islands general election, 2007

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British Virgin Islands general election, 2007
British Virgin Islands
2003 ←
August 20, 2007 (2007-08-20) → 2011

All seats in the British Virgin Islands House of Assembly
7 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 62.3%
  First party Second party
  D. Orlando Smith (cropped).jpg Ralph T. O'Neal (cropped).jpg
Leader Orlando Smith Ralph T. O'Neal
Party National Democratic Party Virgin Islands Party
Leader since 1999 1995
Leader's seat At-large 9th District
Last election 8 seats, 52.4% 5 seats, 42.2%
Seats before 8 5
Seats won 2 10
Seat change -6 +5
Percentage 39.6% 45.2%
Swing -12.8% +3.0%

Premier before election

Orlando Smith
National Democratic Party

Elected Premier

Ralph T. O'Neal
Virgin Islands Party

The British Virgin Islands general election, 2007 was held in the British Virgin Islands on 20 August 2007. The result was a landslide victory for the opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) over the incumbent National Democratic Party (NDP).

The VIP took 7 of the 9 district seats (of the remaining district seats, only 1 was taking by the NDP; the other was taken by Alvin Christopher, an independent candidate endorsed by the VIP). The VIP also took 3 out of the 4 territorial at-large seats. The only two NDP candidates to retain their seats were former Chief Minister Orlando Smith and seventh district representative Kedrick Pickering. VIP at-large candidate Zoë McMillan-Walcott had initially asked for a recount of her vote against Orlando Smith for the fourth at-large seat (the initial count indicated her to have received only 18 fewer votes), but she subsequently withdrew the request.[1]

The victory gave the VIP an unprecedented 10 elected seats out of the 13 available in the House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands, despite receiving only a mere 5.6% greater share of the votes than the NDP (45.2% to 39.6%).

Voter turnout was relatively high, with approximately 62.3% of registered voters casting votes; although this was some way lower than the 72.2% voter turnout for the 2003 election.[1] The lowest turnout was in the fifth district, where only 49.3% of voters cast votes; the highest was the eighth district, where 76.2% turnout was recorded.

The Supervisor of elections reported that the elections passed off "without incident".[2]

Results[edit]

Because of the NDP's high dependence upon At-large seats, a relatively small shift in voter sentiment turned a defeat into a massacre. After winning all four At-large seats in the previous election, in 2007 the NDP could barely cling onto one with Orlando Smith eclipsing Zoë Walcott-McMillan by just 18 votes out of a total of ballots cast. Dr Smith's election was the only thing that went right for the NDP on election day, with seemingly every other close race falling into the laps of the VIP, in each case snatching close victories in the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Districts.

A variety of circumstances combined to convert the VIP's 45.2% of the electoral votes into 84.6% (11 out of 13) of the available seats once Alvin Christopher (who won as an independent) formally decided to rejoin his former party.


e • d Summary of the 20 August 2007 Legislative assembly election results
Parties Votes* %age Seats
Virgin Islands Party 18,052 45.2% 10
National Democratic Party 15,836 39.6% 2
Independents 6,063 15.2% 1
Speaker and Attorney General 2
Total (turnout 62.3%) 39,951 100% 15
* Each voter has 5 votes; 1 district vote and 4 territorial "at-large" votes
Source: BVI Platinum News

District seats[edit]

The results of the voting for the district seats was as follows:

  • First electoral district
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Andrew A. Fahie (VIP) 611 74.1%
Archibald Christian (NDP) 205 24.8%
Rejected ballots 9 1.1%

Total number of registered voters: 1,277
Total number of votes cast: 825 (64.6% turnout)

  • Second Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
J. Alvin Christopher (IND) 484 75.9%
Gerald Chinnery (NDP) 139 21.8%
Rejected ballots 15 2.3%

Total number of registered voters: 1,143
Total number of votes cast: 638 (55.8% turnout)

  • Third Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Julian Fraser (VIP) 440 71.1%
Alwon E. Smith (NDP) 179 28.9%
Rejected ballots 0 0.0%

Total number of registered voters: 1,235
Total number of votes cast: 619 (50.1% turnout)

  • Fourth Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Vincent Gregory Scatliffe (VIP) 400 49.8%
Audley Maduro (NDP) 373 46.6%
R. Courtney de Castro (IPM) 15 1.8%
Rejected ballots 15 1.8%

Total number of registered voters: 1,226
Total number of votes cast: 803 (65.5% turnout)

  • Fifth Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Elvis Jerome Harrigan (VIP) 309 44.7%
Delores Christopher (NDP) 286 41.4%
Lesmore Smith (IND) 56 8.1%
Nona Vanterpool (IND) 31 4.5%
Rejected ballots 9 1.3%

Total number of registered voters: 1,403
Total number of votes cast: 691 (49.3% turnout)

  • Sixth Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Omar Wallace Hodge (VIP) 588 67.4%
E. Walwyn Brewley (IND) 252 28.9%
Rejected ballots 33 3.8%

Total number of registered voters: 1,363
Total number of votes cast: 873 (64.0% turnout)

  • Seventh Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Kedrick Pickering (NDP) 351 53.1%
Ronnie Lettsome (VIP) 298 45.1%
Rejected ballots 12 0.8%

Total number of registered voters: 1,025
Total number of votes cast: 661 (64.5% turnout)

  • Eighth Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Dancia Penn-Sallah (VIP) 453 52.9%
Lloyd Keithley Black (NDP) 387 45.2%
Douglas Dixon Wheatley (IND) 8 0.9%
Rejected ballots 9 1.0%

Total number of registered voters: 857
Total number of votes cast: 1,125 (76.2% turnout)

  • Ninth Electoral District
Candidate No of votes Percentage
Ralph T. O'Neal (VIP) 476 47.8%
Hubert Robinson O'Neal (NDP) 467 46.9%
Devon Osborne (IND) 46 4.6%
Rejected ballots 7 0.7%

Total number of registered voters: 996
Total number of votes cast: 1,378 (72.3% turnout)
The ninth electoral district was the only district to undergo a recount.

(IND) = Independent candidate
(IPM) = Independent People's Movement
(NDP) = National Democratic Party candidate
(VIP) = Virgin Islands Party candidate

The closest races were in the fourth district (where only 27 votes separated the candidates), the fifth district (23 votes separated the leading candidates, and 87 votes went to independent candidates) and the ninth where a mere 9 votes separated the candidates (46 votes having gone to the independent candidate) and a recount was conducted.

Alvin Christopher received the highest percentage of votes for a territorial candidate (75.9%), whilst Andrew Fahie received the highest number of total votes. Hubert O'Neal had the unhappy distinction of having the highest number of votes (467 votes, higher than 5 successful candidates) and the highest percentage of the vote (46.9%) for a losing territorial candidate. Elvis "Jughead" Harrigan had the lowest number of votes (309) and percentage of vote (44.7%) for any successful territorial candidate.[2]

Territorial At-Large Seats[edit]

The top four vote receiving candidates are elected to the at-large seats.

Position Candidate Party Votes
1 Irene Penn-O'Neal (VIP) (3,721 votes)
2 Vernon Elroy Malone (VIP) (3,626 votes)
3 Keith L. Flax (VIP) (3,599 votes)
4 Orlando Smith (NDP) (3,549 votes)
5 Zoë Walcott-McMillan (VIP) (3,531 votes)
6 Elmore Stoutt (NDP) (3,433 votes)
7 Ronnie W. Skelton (NDP) (3,404 votes)
8 Mark Vanterpool (NDP) (3,063 votes)
9 Alred Frett (IND) (326 votes)
10 Quincy Lettsome (IND) (250 votes)
11 Ulric Scatliffe (IND) (174 votes)
12 Eileene Baronville (IND) (100 votes)

(IND) = Independent candidate
(IPM) = Independent People's Movement
(NDP) = National Democratic Party candidate
(VIP) = Virgin Islands Party candidate

New Government[edit]

On 22 August 2007, the Governor, Mr David Pearey officially appointed Ralph O'Neal as the first Premier (as the position of Chief Minister will be called) under section 52(1) the new constitution. He became only the second person in BVI political history (after Lavity Stoutt) to serve two non-consecutive terms of office as Chief Minister/Premier, and only the third (Lavity Stoutt and Willard Wheatley) to win more than one general election as party leader (both since matched by Orlando Smith). Both were considered remarkable achievements for a politician who was written off by some as a "spent force" after he lost the previous election at the age of 69.

Despite questions over how long Ralph O'Neal expects to serve as Premier, starting his term at the age of 73, he served the full term. Rumours abounded prior to the election that a backroom deal may have been struck with Dancia Penn that she would take over the premiership when he stepped down, mid-term; a move that may presumably cause some internal consternation in the party. Those rumours were further fuelled when Dancia Penn was appointed as Deputy Premier shortly after the election.

On 23 August 2007 the first cabinet was sworn in under Ralph O'Neal.

  • In addition to serving as the Territory’s first Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal was appointed Minister of Finance and Tourism.
  • Honourable Andrew Fahie was appointed Minister of Education and Culture
  • Honourable Julian Fraser was appointed Minister of Communications and Works
  • Honourable Omar Hodge was appointed Minister of Natural Resources and Labour
  • Honourable Dancia Penn, OBE, QC was appointed Minister of Health and Social Development.

Sources: Platinum news; Government Press Release 323R/07

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ A number of registered voters live and work abroad, and in the British Virgin Islands no postal or proxy voting is permitted, so the figure is unusually high by comparative standards.
  2. ^ However, the fifth district also had the highest number of candidates (four) and the lowest turnout (49.3%).