Ralph T. O'Neal

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For the World War I ace aviator, see Ralph Ambrose O'Neill.
The Honourable
Ralph O'Neal
Ralph T. O'Neal (cropped).jpg
O'Neal (right) being appointed as Premier by Governor David Pearey.
Premier of the British Virgin Islands
In office
23 August 2007 – 9 November 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor David Pearey
Inez Archibald (Acting)
William Boyd McCleary
Preceded by Orlando Smith (Chief Minister)
Succeeded by Orlando Smith
In office
15 May 1995 – 17 June 2003
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Peter Alfred Penfold
David Mackilligin
Frank Savage
Elton Georges (Acting)
Tom Macan
Preceded by Hamilton Lavity Stoutt
Succeeded by Orlando Smith
Personal details
Born (1933-12-15) 15 December 1933 (age 80)
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Political party Virgin Islands Party
Alma mater University of Oxford

Ralph Telford O'Neal, OBE (born 15 December 1933)[1] is a politician who presently serves as Leader of the Opposition in the British Virgin Islands.[2] He has formerly served as Chief Minister (when the office was so titled) and also as Premier of the British Virgin Islands. He was the first person to be appointed to the newly titled office of Premier by the Governor on 22 August 2007 under the Constitution of the British Virgin Islands adopted in 2007 after leading the Virgin Islands Party to a landslide victory in the 2007 general election two days earlier. He relinquished that position on 7 November 2011 after the Virgin Islands Party lost its majority following the 2011 general election. His present stint as Leader of the Opposition is his third, more than any other British Virgin Islands politician.

His combined 12 years as head of the elected Government is the second longest in the British Virgin Islands, behind only Lavity Stoutt, a man whom he succeeded when the latter died in office on 14 May 1995. He served as Chief Minister until the 1999 general election which he won. He would later lose the 2003 general election and would then serve the next four years at leader of the opposition before his victory in the 2007 general election. Ralph O'Neal remains the leader of the Virgin Islands Party, although has indicated that he will step down from that position before the next general election.[3]

Ralph O'Neal is now the longest serving elected politician in British Virgin Islands history having served in the House of Assembly and Legislative Council for 39 years, 18 days. He has held a seat in the Legislature continuously since 1 September 1975. His ten election victories[4] rank second only to Lavity Stoutt in the Territory's political history.[5]

Like most BVI politicians, Ralph O'Neal has "crossed the floor". He contested the 1971 general election unsuccessfully on behalf of the VI Democratic Party. He then ran for office twice as an independent candidate before joining the Virgin Islands Party. Then, in 1983, he joined the ruling United Party (UP), and contested the 1986 general election on behalf of the UP. When the UP lost, he was, for two years, Leader of the Opposition, but he rejoined the VIP in 1988 to take up a Ministerial position in Lavity Stoutt's government and has been a member of the Virgin Islands party ever since.

He was educated at University of Oxford where he studied Economics. He is also property owner and developer in the British Virgin Islands. Apart from his property investments, O'Neal has had a number of other commercial interests during his life before serving in the House of Assembly under the Ralph O'Neal Group of Companies.

Electoral history[edit]

Ralph T. O'Neal electoral history
Year District Party Votes Percentage Winning/losing margin Result
1971 7th District VI Democratic Party -- -- -- Lost
R. George
1975 7th District Independent 306 64.0% +136 Won
1979 9th District Independent 403 70.8% +234 Won
1983 9th District Virgin Islands Party unopposed Won
1986 9th District United Party 337 47% +91 Won
1990 9th District Virgin Islands Party 445 50.9% +28 Won
1995 9th District Virgin Islands Party 534 66.1% +282 Won
1999 9th District Virgin Islands Party 617 66.2% +317 Won
2003 9th District Virgin Islands Party 596 60.8% +226 Won
2007 9th District Virgin Islands Party 476 47% +9 Won
2011 9th District Virgin Islands Party 565 49.3% +28 Won


  1. ^ "Ralph T. O'Neal, 9th District Representative". The BVI Review. 
  2. ^ However, he is expected to replaced in this role shortly. The Governor appoints the leader of the largest opposition party as Leader of the Opposition, and on 28 May 2014 Ralph O'Neal was replaced by Julian Fraser as the Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party.
  3. ^ "Opposition leader to retire". BVI Beacon. 28 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Including the 1983 general election where he was elected unopposed.
  5. ^ Although Stoutt has won more election victories than O'Neal, he served a shorter period in the Legislature because (a) he only served a small part of his 11th and final term prior to his death, and (b) during the early part of Stoutt's career, political terms were only 3 years and not 4.

http://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?page=Article&articleID=1320879676 http://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?page=Article&articleID=1320925997

Political offices
Preceded by
Hamilton Lavity Stoutt
Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands
Succeeded by
Orlando Smith
Preceded by
Orlando Smith
as Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands
Premier of the British Virgin Islands
Preceded by
H. Lavity Stoutt
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Conrad Maduro
Preceded by
Orlando Smith
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Orlando Smith
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Julian Fraser