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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


From Los Angeles Tuesday, Gov. Charles Turnbull called his second in command’s effort to hold a special session of the Legislature to reappoint Territorial Court Judge Alphonso Andrews Jr. "irresponsible."
Turnbull was on the West Coast attending the Democratic National Convention. While he is out of the territory, Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II takes over as acting governor. It was in that capacity Monday that James personally polled senators to see if there was support to call a special session to reappoint Andrews to a second term.
Only two days before, Turnbull notified the judge that he wouldn’t be reappointed to the bench.
Although James’ effort didn’t garner support, Turnbull still called the attempt circumvent his decision "ill-advised and wrong."
"It’s not the right thing for a lieutenant governor or acting governor to reverse a decision as soon as the governor is out of the territory," Turnbull said.
Turnbull and James have been at odds since the governor declared his support for the proposed sale of the Water and Power Authority to Southern Energy. James criticized Turnbull a few months ago for not being in control of the administration.
Still, Turnbull said he respected his lieutenant and expected the courtesy to be reciprocated.
"I will continue to be respectful but I have to make the final decision in these matters," Turnbull said.
James is off island and couldn’t be reached for comment. In the absence of the governor and lieutenant governor, the Senate president takes over as acting governor.
As for the move not to place Andrews back on the bench, Turnbull said that while he respected the "bright and young" one-term judge, the decision was a matter of "checks and balances."
He said that when considering Andrews, or any other judge, he has to think about more than just criminal matters. While Turnbull hasn’t said it publicly, there is wide speculation that he didn’t reappoint Andrews because of the judge’s December decision blocking Beal Aerospace from developing public land on St. Croix to build a portion of its world headquarters. Turnbull supported the Texas-based company’s venture.
"It has to do with what I see . . . as judicial philosophy that in the long run would be in the best interest of the Virgin Islands," Turnbull said. "I took everything I could think of into consideration."
Meanwhile, Andrews supporter Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen announced Tuesday that she is organizing a march and motorcade on Sunday to protest Turnbull’s decision.
"We aren’t going to take this decision of the governor quietly," the outspoken senator said. "We’re going to march and make some noise."

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