HON. RALPH T. O'NEAL
HON. RALPH T. O'NEAL
Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Ralph O'Neal
announced via a radio broadcast on ZBVI radio on 27 May that he
will not be contesting the next general elections that is constitutionally due in November 2015.
The elder statesman also announced that he is retiring from the post of Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) to allow the next leader of the Party to be able to prepare for the 2015 general elections.
also suggested the eventuality of a snap election.
The veteran legislator did not endorse a successor to the VIP chairmanship, but he
called for the Party
to remain united and strong.
who celebrated his
80th birthday on 13 December 2013 has been a legislator for 39 years.
The announcement of his
retirement from politics was being made after a discussion with his
constituents, and the Opposition Leader thanked the people of the Ninth District
for re-electing him uninterruptedly since 1975.
In recapping his political journey, Hon. O'Neal said: "I started out as an independent, but men like H. L. Stoutt and Randolf Mose Malone recognized that here was someone who was willing to work for the good of the Territory and invited me to join the Virgin Islands Party, and after consulting with my people I joined.
I have remained faithful and loyal to the Virgin Islands Party
to this day, not merely looking to receive, but to give my very best to the Party
and the country."
said that he
is thankful that he
was able to serve his
Territory which he
enjoyed and said he
made many friends along the way.
"I have made a few enemies too, but working together we have been able to make many changes for the better for our country and the people of the BVI.
I have had trials, but I have been able to overcome by the goodness of almighty God and prayers of many."
In passing the baton, Hon. O'Neal said that it is his desire to see the Virgin Islands Party continue form strength to strength and to be the Party for the people; the seasoned politician used that opportunity to issue an advice to the Party: "I will like to remind the party that while contemplating on the end of the present term there is a possibility of the honourable Premier calling a snap election hoping that the Party is not prepared and this is where the Party must show that it is strong and prepared for any battle.
If you look back it will be seen that the Virgin Islands Party
has done things for all the people and I see no reason why this cannot continue," he
said noting that it will take long to list all that the Party
has not been sleeping and kept the people in front of them at all time," Hon. O'Neal
declared as he
thanked the public for their support while he
was in office.
"It has been a privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve," he
said as he
thanked the public service for their cooperation and willingness at all times to ensure government was in a good position.
also thanked the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the churches, clubs, and media.
"To the Virgin Islands Party
, thank you… I would like to salute Mr. Randolf Mose Malone and Mr Carvin Malone for the outstanding work they have done for the Virgin Islands Party
and the community.
I appreciate all you have done, and hope you will continue to support the Virgin Islands Party
," Hon. O'Neal
issued a special thank you to his
wife who worked very hard and has been there for him especially during his
Finally, Hon. O'Neal
broadcast saying: "Of all the land in the east and the west I love my native land the best and that country must always come before self"
Statement from Premier
In response to the announcement of Hon. O'Neal's
retirement, Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith issued a statement on behalf of the Government and people of the Territory thanking Hon. O'Neal
Hon. Smith said: "On behalf of the Government and people of the Virgin Islands I want to recognize the invaluable contributions Mr. O'Neal
has made to the Development of our Territory.
I have told Honourable O'Neal
a few times before that I look forward to reading his
memoir, chronicling his
role in, and knowledge of the history and development of these Virgin Islands.
On behalf of my Government and the people of these Virgin Islands, I express my gratitude for his
commitment to these Virgin Islands.
We thank Honourable O'Neal
unwavering public service commitment and pray that God will continue to bless him during his
Following the announcement, residents called into the Speak Out BVI program that is hosted by Mr. Douglas Wheatley to say thank you to Hon. O'Neal
and to wish him well in his retirement.
I pray that the nation would put in the right person after him you know Lavity Stoutt was a great man and also Ralph O'Neal
walked in his
footsteps in doing many things and I pray that whoever is appointed will really carry on the legacy that has been left."
The caller added: "I want to say to Hon. Ralph O'Neal and his
wife may God bless you all, and I want to thank you all very much.
not only looking out for you because of politics but personal like a friend like someone who cares, someone who is there for you at your home that is a part of Ralph O'Neal