General Elections were held in the British Virgin Islands on 25 February 2019 for all 13 seats in the House of Assembly.
The British Virgin Islands elects on territorial level to a unicameral legislature. The House of Assembly (formerly called the Legislative Council prior to 2007) consists of fifteen (15) members; thirteen (13) elected representatives for a four year term, nine (9) of whom are electoral district representatives and four (4) as territorial-at-large representatives, the Attorney General (non-voting, ex officio member) and one elected Speaker.
The elections were held after Premier Dr Orlando Smith decided to forego a by-election for the Fifth Electoral District that became vacant in October 2018 following the death of representative Delores Christopher. Smith did not contest the 2019 polls, after having indicated in June last year that he would be stepping down.
It was the first general election in the BVI to use electronically tabulated voting rather than manual counts.
Political Parties & Candidates
It is the first time in the history of the BVI that four political parties – the Progressives United, Virgin Islands Party, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement and the NDP – contested an election
A total of 41 candidates were nominated to contest the election including 11 women and 30 men. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) Myron Walwyn presented a slate of 11 candidates. The Andrew Fahie led Virgin Islands Party (VIP) presented a full slate of 13 candidates. The Progressive Virgin Island Movement (PVIM) led by Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton presented nine candidates, while the Progressives United (PU) led by Julian Fraser presented six candidates. There were also two independent candidates in the 2019 race.
The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) led by Andrew A Fahie, won the general elections after gaining eight of the 13 seats in the Virgin Islands House of Assembly. The National Democratic Party (NDP) won only three seats, with party leader Myron Walwyn losing his seat. Seven of the thirteen seats were won by candidates contesting an election for the first time, all for the Virgin Islands Party, a territory record. For the first time, women won three seats in the House of Assembly.
On 26 February 2019, Andrew Fahie has officially been sworn in as the new Premier of the British Virgin Islands. The new Premier indicated that every three months for the first year, each minister would be given the opportunity to serve in the post of deputy premier and after the first year, someone would be named permanently to the post.
The ministers of the newly elected British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie were sworn in on 1 March 2019. The new cabinet included an extensive reshuffling of the previous ministerial portfolios.
On 28 February 2019, Deputy Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Marlon Penn has been appointed Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
Eight days after the election, the successful District 4 candidate and former Cabinet Minister, Mark Vanterpool shocked the country by announcing he was resigning from politics and stepping down from his seat. He subsequently withdrew his resignation and alleged it was invalid as it was sent to the Cabinet Secretary and not the Speaker of the House as required by the Constitution.The Speaker has insisted that the seat is vacant, but in subsequent legal proceedings the court eventually ruled in favour of Mr Vanterpool.