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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, November 28, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesShortages in Funding Could Have Been Avoided

Shortages in Funding Could Have Been Avoided

Dear Source:
The election cycle for 2006 is finally over and once the Constitutional Convention takes place in June 2007 things will get back to normal. In June 2006, or earlier the STT/STJ Board of Election had considered various scenarios for the 2006 elections. The worst-case scenario was a run-off election. We based our analysis of historical elections our prediction came true. In August, when a few individuals were challenging our decision to reduce the number of polling stations, we attempted to explain that based on historical trend data the opening of all the polls would most likely consume unnecessary resources rather than disenfranchising any voters. Our concern was due to the fact that the Senate only allocated money for the Primary and General Elections. I remain puzzled as to why many of us in the Virgin Islands refuse to plan for the unexpected? My frustration lies with the fact that unnecessary funds were used to open all polls to accommodate pressure from those outside the Boards of Election rather than using data from the Board. If the non-board members would have allowed the STT/STJ Board to do what we are elected to do, which was to reduce the number of polls to be opened; we would not be facing a shortfall for the Constitutional Convention due to the fact that those funds were used to cover the cost of the run-off election.
The Election System spent $200,000 for the Primary Election, $200,000 for the General Election, and $200,000 for a Run-Off Election. As mentioned in my October 2006 letter some of these funds could have been used for so many other things to better service the community in up coming elections. There were many that jumped on the "open all the polls as to not disenfranchise the voter's bandwagon" to include Senators Berry, Malone, Hill, Democratic leaders Cecil Benjamin (State Chair) Glen Smith (District Chair STT/STJ) Jason Budson and Attorney Mark Hodge. This tunnel-vision uproar gathered 408 other supporters that willingly signed the petition. Other private citizens critising the opening of polls (especially me) are AM/VI Host (Ms Peterson & Mr. Greaux), Keith Richards, Eddie Donahue, Mr. Ariel Melchior, Vincent "Beef" Cledinen.
As a result of all the hoopla the Board of Elections now has to return to the 27th Legislator for another $200,000. I will follow with interest if the 27th Legislature will give this additional funding without challenging the Supervisor to give an explanation of why more planning or cost cutting measures were not used just in case a run-off election would have occurred.
We are all aware that we live in a world of instant gratification. We all want what we want, and now. Forget about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. I find that most individuals in the VI talk a good talk about cutting cost or government waste so money can be spent on critically important issues. Disappointingly, what generally happens is our walk does not match our talk. Our live-for-the-moment behavior makes me wonder if other government leaders avoid cost cutting efforts in fear of external pressures. So as I look back at those individual that were in such strong support of the opening of all the polls in the STT/STJ District and being so confident that they were right, I cannot forget the message of a recent sermon about pride and stubbornness. The minister's opening statement was that often after the pride comes the fall. So, while it would give me great pleasure to boast about being right, I will not boast; however, I will leave you with this saying from my leader "if you stand still long enough the dust will settle."
In conclusion I will like to thank all the poll works; Clerks, Monitors, Inspectors, Facilitators, and Judges for the Primary, General and Run-off elections. Special thanks to the staff at the Elections system especially Ms Nathalie Thomas and Ms Sharon Benjamin, and my fellow Board Members for all the work, assistance and strength they have provided during all three elections.
Finally, with the changing of the guard this January, I look forward to many great things; I will conclude with congratulations to the deJongh/Francis team on their win in three elections and offer special congratulations to Mrs. deJongh whose alma mater, Marquette, beat my alma mater, Xavier, in the finals at the Paradise Jams (women championship).
Lawrence Boschulte
St. Thomas

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