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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, January 29, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesFYI: Senator-elect Juan Figueroa-Serville

FYI: Senator-elect Juan Figueroa-Serville

The following material is being published, unedited, exactly as it was received via e-mail from the office of the government official or agency named, as a Source community service. Government office holders wishing to contribute to the FYI bulletin board must e-mail source@viaccess.net. The Source reserves the right to choose what is published.
This is my first letter to the people of the Virgin Islands, since you, the people of St. Croix, found me worthy to serve you and your families on November 2nd, 2004. My first term in the Virgin Islands Legislature will be even more special for the people of St. Croix, because you the people had the courage to make me one of the youngest leaders to ever be elected in the history of the legislature of the Virgin Islands. You have empowered our youth, and for this, I am very grateful and proud of you St. Croix! In my humble opinion, two of the greatest honors an American could ever have, is to be a leader of troops, and to be found worthy from among ones peers to serve them at the highest level of government, in this case, the 1st branch, the branch of the people, the legislature.
In all that we do as leaders we must always remember, what makes our democracy a citadel of liberty is that the power lies in the hands of the people. As elected representatives, we are a reflection of the will of the people. For this reason, when we are about the people's business, we must always hold sacred our cherished principles upon which our nation and territory are found. For me, the "'vote"' is to be cherished as that main principle that lies at the foundation, success, and existence of any democracy, because it represents the action by how the people choose their leaders to form their government.
I was very excited and enthused as we began to form the organizational structure of the legislature, and held great respect for the process of its formation. Even now that I stand firm for the people of St. Croix in the Minority Caucus, I still respect and admire the process of government formation, however, some of the elected leaders whom I will work with for the betterment of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands, whom as a youth I admired and looked up to as role models, by their actions, they have disappointed me. Though I will respect them because they have been chosen to serve, that admiration I had for them, is lost. Some of the things that attracts me to admiring leadership is when a leader seems to possess the characteristics of honor, integrity, self-respect, respect for other, humility, and dignity in being steadfast to your word, not to me, but your word of commitment to the people.
I am not afraid of any of the members of this current consensus majority caucus, and for this reason, you will now learn how I feel about what has occurred in the past month.
I will uphold what Senator Ronald Russell stated in his article of Tuesday, December 21, 2004, his letter to the editor for the St. Croix Avis.
The four democrats of St. Croix, of whom some people have referred to us as the 'fab 4,'understood that by virtue of the "numbers," we had the controlling interest; the future of the formation of the legislature lied in our hands. This is true because we had an open mind to forming either a St. Croix consensus majority, or attempt to form a Democratic majority. Irrespective of what people say, "'people did not vote party,"' in the end, alliances are based on political party philosophies and affiliations. That is just the brut reality of politics.
The will of the people spoke as a they gave a mandate to the 26th Legislature when they voted 10 senators out of 15, Democrats. A consensus was naturally formed, not by the politicians, rather, by the will of the people. Imagine, us four Democrats on St. Croix, Ronald Russell, Neville James, Pedro "'Pete"' Encarnacion, and yours truly, Juan Figueroa-Serville were willing to forgo what the people demanded in order to accommodate giving the people of St. Croix total control of the power of the Legislature by forming a majority with all seven senators from St. Croix and the at-large senator, Craig Barshinger.
We were willing to do this at the cost of angering 30,000 registered Democrats in the territory, plus face being sanctioned by the Party. Let me remind the elected representatives to the 26th Legislature of the ICM Party from St. Croix and the independent who so insolently chastised and rebuked "'party politics,"' that in their hypocrisy, they tend to forget that one, they are members of a political party themselves excluding the independent who initially came into power as a result of party politics, and secondly, they would never make it into public office if registered Democrats do not vote for them. So stop disrespecting registered Democrats who allow you to be in power today. Note, registered Democrats have the power if they so choose, to elect a slate of 15 senators, Democrat. Lets say, if the roles were reversed and the people would have elected 10 senators out of 15, ICM, they would have never turned to us the Democrats of St. Croix in a spirit of good will as we have done to form a St. Croix consensus majority. This my people speaks volumes of our firm stance as St. Croix Democrats in defending our position, "'St. Croix first!"' "'St. Croix, All the Time!"' We have been true to our word, and our word is our honor!
Respecting the will of the people, we decided, since the people of St. Croix voted a majority of 4 Democrats out of 7 senators, that in order to solidify a St.Croix consensus majority, that we the 4 Democrats must remain the majority within a consensus majority, because Senator Usie Richards stated that Senator Celestino White, an independent from St. Thomas, and Senator- Elect Liston Davis, an ICM Party member would be in agreement to join a St. Croix majority if the seven of us agreed. As a result, if we allowed them to join, then we the Democrats would be a minority within a majority, and we were not going to allow that.
We had a gentleman's agreement and it was this. If we can get 2 Democrats from St. Thomas to agree with a St. Croix consensus majority and join us, then we will allow the 2 non-Democrats from St. Thomas to join us. If these conditions were not met, then the agreement would be null and void and us the 4 Democrats would then proceed to form a Democratic Majority. Being rational, the Democrats from St. Thomas said, the will of the people spoke, and if we were to join an all St. Croix consensus majority, then it would be unfair to the their constituency of St. Thomas. They stated that with a Democratic majority, that the St. Croix Democrats would still have the controlling interest because Craig Barshinger publicly stated that he belongs to St. Croix for the next two years, because it is all about focusing on St. Croix's recovery and St. Croix voted him in the senate. As a result, if us the 4 St. Croix Democrats were to decide to be a minority within a St. Croix majority, then that would have been a blatant disrespect to the will of the people of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. Common sense dictates, a majority rules and to give power to a minority goes against the principles of democracy.
When our agreement was null and void, as we proceeded to form a Democratic majority, at Hibiscus Beach Hotel, on St. Croix, the will of the people spoke when we their representatives voted 6-4 in favor of Senator Louis Hill over Senator Lorraine Berry to be the President of the Legislature. Yes, Senator Berry and her ability to lead is to be respected and commended for her years of service to the people, and yes, she has the most experience, and not taking anything away from her legacy, however, we the 4 Democrats of St. Croix and the At-Large, Craig Barshinger, wanted to have a new vision of leadership that would steer the people of the Virgin Islands into a new direction for progres
s for the next two years. We felt that Louis Hill is an honorable man, and he has been fair to the people of
St. Croix for the past two year. We also felt that in order to bring a drastic change to help begin closing the gaps of disparity that have alienated and crippled St. Croix's progress that we had to create a powerful impact in the power base of the Legislature with a decisive call for new leadership.
Now with the formation of this St. Thomas majority, which consist of whom I call "'the St. Thomas five"' and our 3 non-Democrats from St. Croix, will our three Crucian non-Democrats be able to fight for St. Croix? We the Democrats of St. Croix did not betray anyone! All Senator Usie Richards, Senator Norman JnBaptiste, and Senator-Elect Terrance "'Positive"' Nelson had to do, by reason and logic, was when they were approached by Senator Berry that same evening, was to first ponder why the Democratic majority failed, and instead of immediately joining St. Thomas, if they had given us from St. Croix a call, we would have explained the situation and then proceed to form an all St. Croix consensus majority. But of course they did not see it that way because they felt that we had betrayed them. Sad to say, the 3 non-Democrats from St. Croix were blinded by power and money and did not take into consideration the demographic that they became a minority within a St. Thomas majority. This majority is a disrespect to the will of the people, because it empowered the minority, not the true majority chosen by the people. If we were to have a St. Croix consensus majority now, it will be in accord with the will of the people, because it would consist of a majority of Democrats, 5 from St. Croix, 4 plus the At-Large, 2 or "'3"' from St. Thomas, and the three non-Democrat St. Croix senators. Again, St. Croix would have the controlling interest.
Yes, as Senator Russell claimed, I Juan Figueroa-Serville did fight to protect Richards, JnBaptiste, and Nelson as I clearly stated, that the only way I would agree to joining an all Democrat majority would be if my conditions of granting these 3 St. Croix senators committee chairs that best suited their experience be placed in the language to form the resolution that would rule the legislature. I lobbied for Senator Richards to receive the current chair that he holds, Nelson the current Chair he holds, and out of respect for Senator JnBaptiste since he is our senior senator of St. Croix, I had lobbied for Senator JnBaptiste to Chair Housing, since Housing is a major committee that affects the overall economic structure and lives of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Senator Berry, I respect and honor the fact that you have survived 11 going on to 12 terms in the legislature and that speaks volumes to the people concerning your fortitude, savvy, and ability to survive. With all due respect, you still have the opportunity to seal your legacy rendering a positive uplifting example that will impress and inspire the youth and young females who may someday want to follow in your footsteps. For the sake of women in our territory who aspire to break through that glass ceiling, Senator Berry, do the right thing and come back home! "'We got your back!"' SENATOR RICHARDS, SENATOR JnBAPTISTE, AND SENATOR NELSON, the people of St. Croix need you! We the 7 Democrats of the Minority are still willing to form a St. Croix consensus majority with you and Berry. Our seven in the Minority, leader-Senator Roosevelt St. C. David, Senator Louis Hill, Senator-Elect Neville James, Senator-Elect Pedro "'Pete"' Encarnacion, Senator Ronald Russell, Senator At-Large-Elect Craig Barshinger, and Senator-Elect Juan Figueroa-Serville, we stand strong and united. People of St. Croix we will not fail you! Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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