Former Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock has announced that he will not be contesting as a candidate in the upcoming general election.

Willock gave the confirmation in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday.

“Effective, Tuesday March 14, 2023 to the disappointment of many, I will not be a candidate in the 2023 General Elections. I know that when we sat out, putting a campaign committee together and being on my listening tour, this was not the call many of you ever wanted to hear,” he said.

“It is the call I made after careful consideration, consultations and, in some cases, strong opposition from those who thought otherwise that I should run for office, because we can win,” he added.

Willock said whilst he will not be contesting to become an elected official he still intends on serving the people of the territory, stating that he will fight with commitment and “enormous passion and grit”.

He said “Many of you will remember in 2016 after the Panama papers, how I stood up for our territory’s financial services sector on the international stage, and more recently, how I stood up to the one-sided COI and how I continue to fight for the regular man and woman. My history is one who is willing to fight, and when necessary, left plenty of blood and teeth on the floor.”

Meanwhile, Willock also took time to encourage his supporters to support the Virgin Islands Party candidates at the upcoming election.

“The big question I have been asked by supporters, family and friends, when I told many persons over the past couple of days that I will not be running for office, is; who then should they support? I am a registered member of the VIP because I believe in their values and if we are honest, 90% of what was done in this country over the last 30 years was done under VIP governments. While mistakes have been made, I still believe they are the best hope to take us forward,” Willock stated.