The House of Assembly was dissolved on 13 September 2011, by the Governor, Mr William Boyd McCleary, on advice from the Premier. However, the date of the election was not announced until 23 September 2011.
Premier Ralph O'Neal confirmed that he would lead his party at the 2011 general election, even though he would turn 78 shortly after the election, and would be 82 at the end of the term of office (if re-elected).
Second district representative, Alvin Christopher (who received the highest percentage of votes for a territorial candidate (75.9%) in the 2007 election) announced that he would run for the Virgin Islands Party. Mr Christopher has formerly run for the VIP, the NDP and as an independent candidate.
Although the ruling Virgin Islands Party had a huge majority following the 2007 election the intervening years had been characterised by difficult economic times, and a series of natural disasters had hit the Territory damaging its infrastructure. Both of these events led to criticism being directed towards the ruling Government.
The 2011 general election was largely a complete reversal of the 2007 election. Whereas in 2007 everything seemed to go the way of the VIP, in 2011 every closely contested seat seemed to end up falling to the NDP. The VIP characteristically dominated their safe seats in the First, Second and Third Districts, and the NDP characteristically dominated the At-large seats, sweeping all four. But surprise defeats for the VIP in Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Districts handed victory to the NDP. Former Premier Ralph O'Neal managed to cling on to his seat in the Ninth District, which he had held for 40 years, by just 28 votes.
One of the bigger surprises was the defeat of Government minister and veteran politician, Omar Hodge, in the 6th district by political newcomer, Alvera Maduro-Caines. Early counts showed incumbent Premier, Ralph O'Neal, trailing his challenger, Hubert O'Neal, in the 9th district, but he eventually overhauled the challenger to retain the seat which he has held since 1975.
In the Territorial seats, the highest percentage of votes and greatest margin of victory (nearly 50 points) was Kedrick Pickering in the 7th district. The largest number of individual votes however was Delores Christopher in the 5th district. The lowest percentage of votes by a winning candidate was Marlon Penn (48.1%) in the four way race in the 9th district. The lowest total number of votes by a victorious candidate was Alvin Christopher (423) in the 2nd district.
On 9 November 2011 Governor Boyd McCleary officially appointed Orlando Smith as the Premier under section 52(1) the constitution. He became the third person in BVI political history to serve two non-consecutive terms of office as Chief Minister/Premier, and the fourth to win more than one general election as party leader
On the same day the first cabinet was sworn in under Orlando Smith. In addition to serving as Premier, Smith was appointed Minister of Finance and Tourism. Kedrick Pickering was appointed Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Myron Walwyn was appointed Minister of Education and Culture, Mark Vanterpool was appointed Minister of Communications and Works and Ronnie Skelton was appointed Minister of Health and Social Development.