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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 19, 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 that James personally polled senators Monday 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 would not be reappointed to the bench.
James’ effort did not win support, but Turnbull still called the attempt to 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 on WSTX radio.
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, saying he was not in control of the administration.
Still, Turnbull said he respected his lieutenant. He added that he 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 finance commissioner takes over as acting governor.
As for his decision to remove Andrews from the bench, Turnbull said that while he respected the "bright and young" one-term judge, it was a matter of "checks and balances."
He said that when considering Andrews, or any other judge, he had to think about more than just criminal matters.
While Turnbull has not said it publicly, there is wide speculation that he failed to 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 had 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 was 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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