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Paul Devine Wants Your Vote for Delegate

June 8, 2007 – Thanks to the Source for allowing the Delegate candidates to express their views. My name is Paul Devine, a candidate from St John and No. 65 on the ballot.
For almost a year, I have expressed my views many times on the Source Op-Ed section and in other media on the Constitution and what it means to Virgin Islanders. I have attempted to start the dialog about Constitutional Reform long before any other candidate has. I have spent the two years since the enabling legislation was created attempting to write a draft Constitution.
I have thoroughly reviewed the Organic Act and the draft constitution that the Fourth Constitutional Convention created and I find both flawed. Both documents are vague and do not specifically delineate just how government would be changed. It's one thing to say that you want, for example, municipal government or districts for the senate it's another to actually write them down in a constitution. I am in favor of a constitution that is very specific and sets out information that cannot be challenged. It makes no sense to write a document that is purposely in need amending as some candidates have suggested. In another time, constitutions were written such that a generalized mandate was addressed and it was left to lawmakers to figure out what specific laws could be legislated from the original documents intent. Today, however, constitutions are recognized as being very specific and, in most cases, very lengthy. Many states have reorganized their constitutions so that specific issues can be addressed with clarity being the foremost ideal. For that reason, I would push for specific language that all could understand.
I have become a candidate because it is evident that there has to be change in our basic structure of government. I am for massive changes in the legislature with specific language as to how they will do business. I am for a complete overhaul of the education system, where larger shares of government revenues are guaranteed, and the control of the schools is accomplished through local superintendents. I am for giving back the executive branch the power it needs to more efficiently run government. This can be accomplished by returning those laws which were formally held by the legislature, back to the executive branch. I am for the formation of true municipal government. Local communities must have the right to determine their own destiny and I would push for all property tax revenues generated locally to stay local and have the central government provide what additional funds are needed to have municipalities efficiently run a local government.
After I am elected, I will hold public forums so that citizens may review my ideas and have input as to what they want the constitution to say. During the year we have to create a constitution, I will continually update citizens on what has been accomplished so that when the electors vote on the new constitution in just over a year, they will be fully informed as to its contents.
We must continually keep the public informed. It is everyone's document and everyone should have a say.
I respectfully ask for your vote on June 12. Please vote No. 65 on your ballot for Paul Devine, your St John representative.

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