I usually enjoy reading J.J. Estemac's letters to the editors. His correspondence is generally insightful and informative, even when you factor in his political persuasion. But I was mildly amused when he put a portion of the blame for the low turnout of voters in the Constitutional Convention on the backs of the Senators. As I have stated several times in my letters, people really give the senators too much credit. Now Mr. Estemac wants to say the senators should have promoted the Convention more? Ludicrous. That job was contracted to the University of the Virgin Islands, a non-partisan intuition of higher learning.
The public outcry that set the pace began several weeks ago when a "so-called" popular radio talk show began spreading rumors that several senators were running for a delegate spot. Letters to the editors began popping up decrying the notion that an elected senator would dare run for delegate and attempt to have "control" over the "will of the people" by having an official say in the writing of the constitution. If any senator was actually thinking about throwing his/her hat into the ring that notion was quickly quashed.
The senators were not responsible for the manner in which the aspirants promoted their candidacy. In fact, the aspirants had ample examples in running a successful campaign, if they chose to apply any of the tactics normally used when running for office.
Let's get back to the University of the Virgin Islands for a moment. This is an institution in which we entrust the minds of our best and brightest yet in my humble opinion they dropped the ball.
How many of you really think that the University did a good job promoting the Convention and educating the masses? I would venture to guess the event hosted by Avis Editor, Rena Bradhurst, did more collectively (on St. Croix) to inform and educate than all the efforts of the University.
When is our esteemed and learned UVI faculty going to venture "out of the box"? The same old boring forums, (when you factor in the sheer amount of candidates, were totally ineffective,) a website, though user friendly, which only appealed to a small portion of the population, and a few radio ads did not make for a real and effective public outreach.
The University should have utilized the students. They should have held sessions to educate the students and paid them a stipend to take the message to the community. They could have gone door-to-door, or held community meetings in neighborhoods. They could have utilized the student's voices in the radio spots which would have appealed to a larger audience than Tregenza Roach ever could. They could have let our young scholars fly free to devise innovative ways to spread the word.
Don't blame the senators; what about the political parties, the political advocacy groups, the community action groups, the churches, the schools, the civic action groups? The blame falls on all of us and especially UVI who was contracted and paid handsomely to do the job.
Frederiksted, St. Croix
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