Leader of the Opposition (British Virgin Islands)
|Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition|
|Term length||While leader of the largest political party not in government|
|Inaugural holder||Q.W. Osborne|
|Formation||Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 1967 (Statutory)|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the British Virgin Islands
The Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition in the British Virgin Islands (more commonly known as the Leader of the Opposition) is a politician who is appointed by the Governor who leads the political parties and elected legislators who are not aligned with the Government of the day. Under the Constitution the Governor is required to appoint a member of the House of Assembly recommended by a majority of the elected members of the House who are members of any opposition party whose numerical strength in the House is greater than that of any other opposition party, or if no such person exists, the member of the House of Assembly who in the judgement of the Governor is best able to command the support of the members of the House in opposition to the Government.
Prior to the introduction of the current Constitution, which codified the position, the Leader of the Opposition by convention led the largest party which is not part of the government: where one party wins outright this is the party leader of the second largest political party in the House of Assembly. However, in 1990 Cyril Romney was appointed Leader of the Opposition as an Independent and in 1995 Walwyn Brewley was appointed despite leading the party with the third largest number of seats. The Leader of the Opposition is normally viewed as an alternative Premier.
On 28 May 2014 Julian Fraser became Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party and as the leader of the largest opposition party he is treated as the present leader of the opposition, although curiously to date no notice has been published by Governor in the Official Gazette to this effect yet.
To date a total of eleven people (all men) have served as Leader of the Opposition - over twice the number who have served as Premier or Chief Minister. Every person who has served as Chief Minister or Premier has also served as Leader of the Opposition at some point. No person has ever served consecutive terms as Leader of the Opposition. On three occasions has the Leader of the Opposition changed between elections: in 1977 (when Austin Henley died), in 1988 (when Ralph O'Neal left the United Party to join the Government), and in 2014 (when Julian Fraser replaced Ralph O'Neal as leader of the Virgin Islands Party).
Leaders of the Opposition from 1967
Prior to 1967 politicians were not elected on a party political basis, and thus Leaders of the Opposition only came into being with the introduction of party politics and Ministerial rule after the 1967 general election.
The following is a list of the Leaders of the Opposition in the British Virgin Islands from 1967 to date.
|1971||1975||H. Lavity Stoutt||VIP|
|1983||1986||H. Lavity Stoutt||VIP||2nd Term|
|1986||1988**||Ralph T. O'Neal||UP|
|1995||1999||E. Walwyn Brewley||CCM|
|1999||2003||D. Orlando Smith||NDP|
|2003||2007||Ralph T. O'Neal||VIP||2nd Term|
|2007||2011||D. Orlando Smith||NDP||2nd Term|
|2011||2014||Ralph T. O'Neal||VIP||3rd Term|
|* Austin Henley died in office in 1977.
** Ralph O'Neal left to join the Virgin Islands Party in 1988.
Party affiliations are as follows:
- VIP—Virgin Islands Party
- NDP—National Democratic Party
- CCM—Concerned Citizens Movement
- VIDP—VI Democratic Party (defunct)
- UP—United Party (defunct)
- Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, article 70(2)
- "We Have A War To Fight; I Need Warriors - Julian Fraser; Fahie Promises Support". 28 May 2014.
- "BVI election and information results 1950–2011". BVI Deputy Governor's Office. p. 176.
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