British Virgin Islands general election, 1975

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British Virgin Islands general election, 1975
British Virgin Islands
← 1971 1 September 1975 (1975-09-01) 1979 →

All seats in the British Virgin Islands Legislative Council
4 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 74.6%
  First party Second party
 
Leader Willard Wheatley Lavity Stoutt
Party BVI United Party Virgin Islands Party
Leader since 1975 1971
Leader's seat 6th District 1st District
Seats before 1 2
Seats won 2 3
Seat change +1 +1

Chief Minister before election

Willard Wheatley
VI Democratic Party
(Coalition)

Elected Chief Minister

Willard Wheatley
BVI United Party
(Coalition)

The British Virgin Islands general election, 1975 was held in the British Virgin Islands on 1 September 1975. The result was one of the most confused in the Territory's history, but is officially recorded as a victory for the United Party led by Willard Wheatley over the opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP) led by former Chief Minister Lavity Stoutt.

In reality the election provided no clear consensus, and as soon as the election was over successful candidates dumped their prior allegiances and tried to broker deals that would enable them to secure power. At the end of this process Willard Wheatley retained his role as Chief Minister and led a coalition loosely affiliated to the United Party. But as has been recorded:

Background[edit]

The 1975 general election was something of a dangerous crossroad for British Virgin Islands politics. The first party political election in 1967 had been won by the United Party. However, internal struggles relating to who should be leader led to the party fragmenting before the next election. That allowed the opposition VI Democratic Party to win the 1971 election, but exactly the same thing would happen to them: disagreements between party leader Q.W. Osborne and Chief Minister Willard Wheatley led Wheatley to remove Osborne from his Ministerial seat. The resulting discord meant that, despite technically being the party in power, the VI Democratic Party did not actually promote any candidates at all for the 1975 election[2] - Wheatley left to form an alliance with the United Party, and Osborne left to join the Virgin Islands Party.

Results and notable candidates[edit]

British Virgin Islands general election, 1975[3]
Party Votes Percentage Seats Won
United Party 797 31.7% 2
Virgin Islands Party 1,421 56.5% 3
VI Democratic Party 0 0.0% 1
VI Progressive Party 89 3.5% 0
Independents 649 25.8% 1
Total 2,998 100% 7
Turnout: 74.6%

Willard Wheatley won the election in a coalition with the United Party. The exact electoral mechanics appear to be unclear: although the United Party only won two seats - fewer than the Virgin Islands Party (which won three) - but it appears that Wheatley was able to assemble a coalition and remain Chief Minister and at the head of government.

Curiously however, Austin Henley was a former member of the VI Democratic Party, but ran as a United Party candidate. But it appears that he may have left the party again shortly after the election as he was named Leader of the Opposition. Henley would later die in office, and Oliver Cills continued as Leader of the Opposition. Both Henley and Cills were recorded as members of the VI Democratic Party whilst Leaders of the Opposition.

Notable candidates elected for the first time included future Chief Minister and Premier, Ralph T. O'Neal.

Individual seats[edit]

British Virgin Islands general election, 1975[4]
Individual seats
Constituency Candidates Votes Percentage Winner Party
1st District
Turnout: 79.3%
H. Lavity Stoutt (VIP) 334 74.7% H. Lavity Stoutt Virgin Islands Party
Cyril Romney (Ind) 111 24.8%
Rejected 2 0.4%
Total 447 100%
2nd District
Turnout: 68.3%
Austin Henley (UP) 191 49.0% Austin Henley United Party*
Connor Stanford (VIP) 190 48.7%
Rejected 9 2.3%
Total 390 100%
3rd District Oliver Cills Uncontested Oliver Cills Unknown†
4th District
Turnout: 67.9%
Alban Anthony (VIP) 288 59.4% Alban Anthony Virgin Islands Party
Noel Lloyd (VIPP) 89 18.4%
Glanville Fonseca (Ind) 60 12.4%
Walter Lindy DeCastro (UP) 41 8.5%
Rejected 7 1.4%
Total 485 100%
5th District
Turnout: 74.2%
Q.W. Osborne (VIP) 323 55.8% Q.W. Osborne Virgin Islands Party
Conrad Maduro (UP) 246 42.5%
Rejected 10 1.7%
Total 579 100%
6th District
Turnout: 73.5%
Willard Wheatley (UP) 319 52.0% Willard Wheatley United Party
Terrance B. Lettsome (VIP) 286 46.7%
Rejected 8 1.3%
Total 613 100%
7th District
Turnout: 87.0%
Ralph T. O'Neal (Ind) 306 63.5% Ralph T. O'Neal Independent
Reeial George (VIP) 170 35.3%
Reuben Wheatley (Ind) 2 0.4%
Rejected 4 0.8%
Total 482 100%
* Henley stood as a United Party candidate but appears to have rejoined the VI Democratic Party shortly after the election.
† Candidates in uncontested seats were not required to declare parties for the purposes of the election.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "BVI election and information results 1950–2011" (PDF). BVI Deputy Governor's Office. p. 215 (at para 1.64). 
  2. ^ Oliver Cills, a former VIDP member, ran unopposed and therefore was not required to declare party.
  3. ^ "BVI election and information results 1950–2011" (PDF). BVI Deputy Governor's Office. pp. 79–81. 
  4. ^ "BVI election and information results 1950–2011" (PDF). BVI Deputy Governor's Office. pp. 79–81.