18 November 2011

British Virgin Islands Election Results

The British Virgin Islands general election, 2011 was held in the British Virgin Islands on 7 November 2011.[1] The result was a decisive victory for the opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) led by Orlando Smith over the incumbent Virgin Islands Party (VIP), led by Premier Ralph T. O'Neal.[2] No minor parties or independent candidates won any seats.




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 will 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.


e • d Summary of the 7 November 2011 Legislative assembly election results
National Democratic Party22,85852.5%9
Virgin Islands Party16,99839.0%4
People's Patriotic Alliance2,2045.1%0
Speaker and Attorney General2
Total (turnout 68.8% (est.))43,551100.0%15
* Each voter has 5 votes; 1 district vote and 4 territorial "at-large" votes
Source: BVI Platinum News

[edit]District seats

The early (unofficial) results of the voting for the district seats were as follows:
  • First electorial district
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Andrew A. Fahie (VIP)61165.8%
Preston Stoutt (IND)31734.2%
  • Second Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
J. Alvin Christopher (VIP)42352.4%
Claude Cline-Skelton (NDP)33942.0%
Leall Rhymer (IND)384.7%
Allewine Smith70.9%
  • Third Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Julian Fraser (VIP)61352.4%
Kevin Smith (NDP)55747.6%
  • Fourth Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Mark Vanterpool (NDP)66168.5%
Vincent Scatliffe (VIP)20921.7%
Collin Scatliffe (IND)959.8%
  • Fifth Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Delores Christopher (NDP)72755.0%
Elvis Jerome Harrigan (VIP)59645.0%
  • Sixth Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Alvera Maduro-Caines (NDP)61261.4%
Omar Hodge (VIP)38538.6%
  • Seventh Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Kedrick Pickering (NDP)53570.1%
Ronnie Lettsome (VIP)15620.5%
Allen Wheatley (IND)729.4%
  • Eighth Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Marlon Penn (NDP)52448.1%
Dancia Penn (VIP)42338.8%
Bevis Sylvester (IND)11210.3%
Nolan Davis (IND)302.8%
  • Ninth Electoral District
CandidateNo of votesPercentage
Ralph T. O'Neal (VIP)56549.4%
Hubert O'Neal (NDP)53746.9%
Lorie Rymer (IND)201.8%
Devon Osborne (IND)111.0%
Rheudell Samuel O'Neal111.0%
(IND) = Independent candidate
(NDP) = National Democratic Party candidate
(VIP) = Virgin Islands Party candidate
In the early polling, 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 1971.
In the Territorial seats, the highest percentage of votes and greatest margin of victory (nearly 50 points) was Kendrick 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.

[edit]Territorial At-Large Seats

The results for the at-large seats were as following. The top four vote receiving candidates are elected to the at-large seats.
1Orlando Smith(NDP)(5,081 votes)
2Myron Walwyn(NDP)(4,605 votes)
3Ronnie Skelton(NDP)(4,475 votes)
4Archibald Christian(NDP)(4,205 votes)
5Irene Penn-O'Neal(VIP)(3,764 votes)
6Zoë Walcott-McMillan(VIP)(3,335 votes)
7Vernon Malone(VIP)(2,960 votes)
8Keith Flax(VIP)(2,958 votes)
9Shaina Smith(PPA)(889 votes)
10Natalio Wheatley(PPA)(785 votes)
11Bertrand Lettsome(IND)(476 votes)
12Elton Callwood(PPA)(332 votes)
13Khoy Smith(PPA)(198 votes)
14Edmund Maduro(IND)(122 votes)
15Lionel Penn(IND)(99 votes)
16Eileen Baronville(IND)(81 votes)
(IND) = Independent candidate
(NDP) = National Democratic Party candidate
(PPA) = People’s Patriotic Alliance
(VIP) = Virgin Islands Party candidate
Orlando Smith, being the leader of the victorious National Democratic Party, will be invited by the Governor to form a new Govenrment as the Premier.
Orlando Smith also retains his record as being the only politician to be elected as an at-large candidate at every single election in the British Virgin Islands since at-large candidates have been allowed to stand.

[edit]New Government

On 9 November 2011, the Governor, Mr Boyd McCleary officially appointed Orlando Smith as the Premier under section 52(1) the constitution. He becomes 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 the Territory’s Premier Honourable Orlando Smith was appointed Minister of Finance and Tourism.
  • Honourable Kendrick Pickering was appointed Deputy Premier, and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour.
  • Honourable Myron Walwyn was appointed Minister of Education and Culture.
  • Honourable Mark Vanterpool was appointed Minister of Communications and Works.
  • Honourable Ronnie Skelton was appointed Minister of Health and Social Development.



  1. ^ "Premier Announces November 7 As General Elections Day". Platinum News BVI. 2011-09-23.
  2. ^ "Loud celebration begins in Road Town!". Virgin Islands News Online. Retrieved 2011-11-08.

Abuses in Papua and Moluccas persist

Pacific Media Centre

17 November, 2011
ANALYSIS: Overall, Indonesia has made great strides in democracy and human rights since Suharto's day. Sweeping reforms have freed up the media, wiped repressive laws off the books and led to the direct election of leaders in the predominantly Muslim nation, making it a potential model for Egypt and other Arab Spring countries. But abuses still copntinue in West Papua, reports Michael Holtz from Jayapura.
Indonesia, hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders this week, has earned praise for democratic reforms achieved since longtime dictator Suharto was ousted a decade ago. A man serving 15 years in prison for raising a flag wants the dignitaries in Bali to know how far the nation still has to go.

In remote corners of the archipelago, dozens of demonstrators have been killed in recent months, and anti-government activists continue to be thrown in jail for peacefully expressing their views. There are least 100 political prisoners, most in Papua and the Molucca islands, many of whom complain of being tortured.

"Indonesia says, 'We're brothers, we're equal,' But you see? It's meaningless," said Filep Karma, a prominent political prisoner with nine years left on his sentence for raising a pro-independence flag. He said he has endured severe beatings by guards who mock him for his Christian faith and spit out insults like "dog."

The 52-year-old spoke to The Associated Press on October 23 from a location that he insisted remain secret, after he was granted a brief reprieve from prison to get medical attention.

Outside, convoys of troops rumbled down the road and soldiers stood on street corners with rifles dangling from their shoulders. Inside, others in the room nervously checked doors and windows.

Overall, Indonesia has made great strides in democracy and human rights since Suharto's day. Sweeping reforms have freed up the media, wiped repressive laws off the books and led to the direct election of leaders in the predominantly Muslim nation, making it a potential model for Egypt and other Arab Spring countries.

Obama arrives

Obama arrived in Indonesia for the East Asia Summit today. To the US, the nation of 240 million where Obama spent part of his childhood is a potentially powerful counterweight to China's growing military and economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The US has launched an aggressive wooing campaign, ending a ban last year on working with an Indonesian special forces unit accused of some of the worst atrocities during East Timor's 1990s-era independence struggle. The ban, hugely embarrassing to Jakarta, was the final obstacle to normalising military ties.

Abuses continue, however, in areas including West Papua, where the government has struggled to put down a low-level insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, most at the hands of the military, according to human rights workers.

"It's Indonesia's dirty little secret that they still put people like Filep Karma behind bars," said Elaine Pearson of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The international community shares some of the blame, she said, because of its eagerness to present the nation as a democratic success story.

Since late July, 34 people have been killed in Papua and five have been arrested and charged with treason, which carries a maximum sentence of life, according to police and rights workers.

Days before Karma's interview, security forces broke up a pro-independence gathering in the nearby town of Abepura, opening fire on the crowd and beating participants with batons and rattan canes. Three people were killed and dozens injured.

'Same rights'

Bambang Sulistyo, a spokesman for Indonesia's legal and security affairs ministry, said Papuans enjoy the same rights as everyone else to stage rallies, protest or hold a congress. But the government will not tolerate any movement to separate from Indonesia or provocative acts like raising a flag known as a symbol of separatist group.

For that reason, he said, the gathering in Abepura was illegal.

"It was deliberately provocative," Sulistyo said, adding that police fired several warning shots to control the crowd. Authorities are still investigating the circumstances around the deaths of the three civilians.

Karma and others who have been imprisoned complain of severe abuse.

"They treat us like animals," said Yusak Pakage, a Papuan activist who was arrested in 2004 for killing a government official during a protest, a crime he says he didn't commit.

Pakage was blinded in his right eye after being brutally beaten by jail guards, and was released from prison after accepting a conditional pardon last year.

Liberti Sitinjak, current chief at Abepura prison, denies that inmates are beaten or otherwise abused.

Open letter

On Monday, 50 members of the US House of Representatives sent Obama a letter urging him to raise the issue of abuses in Papua with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit. But during his own Indonesia trip last month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the US would keep a watchful eye on rights abuses, but largely supports the government's strong stance against the pro-independence movement.

Papua is the most remote region in Indonesia and the last to be relinquished by its Dutch colonial masters a half century ago. It was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot of tribal leaders that has been widely dismissed as a sham.

Activists are regularly given 10 years or more in jail for anti-government rallies, unfurling banners or raising pro-independence flags, while soldiers who commit abuses have received much less time, if any. Even those captured on video burning genitals of one suspected separatist in Papua last year and running a sharp knife across the neck of another were sentenced to just a few months for "disobeying orders."

The seeds of dissent were sown into Karma - who comes from an upper-class family of civil servants - in 1965 when Indonesian soldiers arrived at his home just after midnight and kicked in the door. He was 6 at the time.

"They were shouting, 'Wake up! Wake up!' as they overturned furniture, smashed everyone in sight," said Karma.

"It hurt, deep in my heart," he said. "This is where it began for me. I started to believe if Papua didn't get away from Indonesia, we'd all spend the rest of our lives suffering."

Even so, he remained largely removed from the independence movement until 1998, when he got involved in nationwide protests that eventually helped sweep Suharto from power. It was only after taking part in flag-raising ceremony in his hometown of Biak in July that year that it dawned on him that Papua might not benefit from the dramatic changes yet to come.

Opened fire

He was injured in both legs when Indonesian troops opened fire at a rally, and was thrown in jail for a year on charges of sedition.

His second arrest, the one he's now serving time for, came in 2004. His Christian faith was openly ridiculed in court, and his 15-year sentence was three times what prosecutors had demanded.

Karma's daughter, Audryne Karma, said the blood-drenched head of a dog was dropped off on the doorstep of his lawyers, with a note attached: "We will kill Karma."

"We thought that the Indonesian authorities, wary of martyring my father, would grant him an early release," she wrote in a letter that appeared last month in The Wall Street Journal. "Instead, they transformed a humble civil servant into an icon of political persecution."

Some longtime observers remain hopeful, however, that momentum is shifting and that Karma could be freed early.

"There's a sort of critical mass of key players who are coming together behind the issue," Eben Kirksey, author of an upcoming book about the Papuan independence movement, said of Karma.

Karma has rejected several offers to be set free, saying he will accept nothing short of unconditional release.

"I also want an apology to the people of Papua," he said, "because many civilians have been killed by Indonesian soldiers."
Michael Holtz is an Associated Press reporter. 

See also: 

New Papuan protests demand Indonesia take responsibility for human rights abuses