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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, January 26, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesRobert 'Bob' Hoffman is Running for Delegate

Robert 'Bob' Hoffman is Running for Delegate

May 21, 2007 — I, Robert “Bob” Hoffman, am a long-time resident of St. Croix and a candidate for Delegate to the 5th Constitutional Convention for the United States Virgin Islands. My qualifications as a delegate are well documented. For more than 45 years I have been a journalist. I was the Editor of the Antigua Sun, Eastern Caribbean Correspondent for the Associated Press based in Trinidad, Editor of the St. Croix Avis and News Director for WYAC-FM in Christiansted. For the last decade, I have been active in our community working on projects to make our lives richer and to provide a better place to live for generations to come. I look forward to bringing that energy and expertise to this Constitutional Convention.
As with all constitutions – whether for a state or territory or other United States political affiliation – our charter will require the approval of the President, Congress and, in our case, the citizens of the Virgin Islands. Thus the delegates must approach the Convention bearing in mind that we have to come up with a workable, legally defensible and appropriately tailored document that will secure the approval of everyone involved. The main purpose of a constitution is to lay out the framework of government. How should we elect our senators? How long should their terms be? What should be the relationship among the three branches? How should we select judges? Should the attorney-general be appointed or elected? These and many, many other questions need to be addressed and resolved. Here are some of the ideas I plan to bring to the table at this historic drafting of our new guiding document:
• The frustrating lack of accountability of our legislators stems from our cumbersome system of electing senators. No matter where we live, we must each have “our senator” who will look after our needs and heed our complaints. I would suggest seven senatorial districts in St. Croix, seven in St. Thomas and one in St. John. The Senate would meet for a maximum of 120 days a year.
Each island should have its own Municipal Council. These councils would handle the day-to-day business of local government through a professional Island Manager, who would perform the same duties of city managers or county managers in the States.
Each island should have its own local school board. These boards would hire teachers and school administrators, set curricula and make sure each school under its umbrella achieves the highest standards.
The citizens should have increased power of initiative and recall. At the end of the day, the people are the government.
I am retired, and I live in the community of Union & Mt. Washington with my wife Lesley, Administrative Director of the St. George Village Botanical Garden in Frederiksted. I promise to devote myself to the work of the Convention on a full-time basis. Questions or comments? Write to rhoffman@viaccess.net.

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