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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, June 21, 2024
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The Senator's Promises Mean Nothing

Dear Source:
I was personally appalled at the statements made by Senator Terrance "Positive" Nelson during his March 13th press conference concerning Act 6905. While, on the surface, Senator Nelson chastised his colleagues concerning passage of this legislation, after many months listening to the outcry of the people, he finally speaks out. And what, pray tell, did he do? Like Senator Serville and others, he played the race card in yet another attempt to further divide the electorate.
For someone who was on the front lines of the protesters following the first time attempt of former Governor Turnbull to give himself a raise, Senator Nelson merely voiced his strong "displeasure" at the bill. He scolded his colleges for trying to pull something over the eyes of the people of the Virgin Islands. True, he did vote against the measure and other senators joined in on his supposed outcry. One senator even boycotted the session supposedly in a statement of protest against the bill. For those that watched that fateful session, it was filled with drama. At first, no quorum was reached, which meant no vote on the bill. But, low and behold, one by one, single senators straggled into the Legislature floor to be counted as present and cast their vote. The drama continued when, as promised in the media, Senator White made a motion to table the issue until the new Legislature was seated. The result? Senator White's motion was immediately voted down and the vote on Act 6905 continued. When the vote finally was taken, the results depended on the vote of Senator James. Since he had decided not to show up for a session the Virgin Island taxpayers were paying him to attend and voice his self-proclaimed dissent, Act 6905 was passed. And let us not forget those fateful words of former Senator Loraine Berry who stated any senator who disagreed with the vote could "give it to the poor."
Public outcry was immediate. While most of the displeasure was voiced over the pay raises, the main aspects (and damage) of the bill went unnoticed. The $15 million dollar bridge loan to a convicted felon, floating $600 million in bonds to cover the GERS deficit and the addition of five years service for retirement to certain government employees while increasing their contributions to the system remained unnoticed. The latter aspects of this Act are the very things that guarantee our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for these debts for years.
The people took to the streets. Marches of protest were made and where was Senator Terrance "Positive" Nelson? While he was in the front lines voicing displeasure over raises the first time, he, and every other senator, remained silent concerning the issue. Even our new Governor refuses comment.
Now, after three long months of protest and an attempted recall of five senators, the good Senator finally hears "the cries of the public." I suggest Senator Nelson, along with all his colleagues, use their newfound wealth from the pay raises to buy hearing aids. The people have been screaming loudly about Act 6905 since BEFORE the vote passing it into law.
Senator Nelson's promises of repeal are a stacked deck. The public knows some unidentified senator has already submitted a bill for draft and unless that senator presents it on the floor of the Legislature, the repeal cannot even be voted on. The voters have once before seen this tactic from the 26th Legislature concerning the issue of districting. In other words, if this mysterious senator (gee, could it be Senator Nelson himself?) continues to hold the draft, Senator Nelson's promises mean absolutely nothing.
Fellow citizens and voters of the Virgin Islands, make no mistake about it. The passage of Act 6905 was a predetermined fact when the vote was taken. Each and every senator knew the outcome of the vote before it was taken. This is one of the reasons for the failed recall attempt. Should Act 6905 not be repealed, more names may, and should, be placed on the next petitions for recall.
Lenny Stiles
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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