A Draft of Articles X, XI, XII and XIII of the Fifth Constitution of the Virgin Islands.
*These drafts are subject to further review by legal counsel.
(a) The Legislature shall establish laws and regulations to govern the employment of children in the Virgin Islands including a minimum age required for employment.
(b) Graduates with four (4) years residency, from a Virgin Islands secondary public school may be eligible for free tuition for higher education if the student:
(1) Applies within a number of years of graduation from secondary school specified by law, is admitted and attends a Virgin Islands public institution of higher education;
(2) Pursues an associate or bachelor degree in a degree field that has been determined to be of need by the Virgin Islands Department of Personnel.;
(3) Becomes an employee of the government in the area of need for double the years of study following the graduation from the institution of higher education as established by law; or the tuition shall be owed, and repayment shall commence six (6) months after graduation and paid in full after four (4) years; A Graduate who does not complete a degree shall begin repayment of the tuition six (6) months after terminating pursuit of the degree.
(4) Any other such requirements established by law.
The preservation and promotion of a peoples heritage is an affirmation of their existence, which in turn could have a strong positive effect on their political, vocational and social structures. Each generation is obliged to pass on to its children and youth, the cultural identity that is at the root of its existence.
It is appropriate and necessary to preserve, protect and promote Virgin Islands culture in order to contribute to an understanding of the complex problems facing our society, to encourage unity and the economic viability of all the territorys people; to respect the tradition bearers and their contributions; and to celebrate the Virgin Islands example throughout the Caribbean as a people of a strong belief in freedom and self-development.
Section 1. Cultural Preservation
(a) No law may be passed which abridges the preservation and development of the Virgin Islands culture, language, traditions, or customs.
(b) Places, artifacts, documents and objects, cemeteries and burial grounds of cultural or historical significance to the people of the Virgin Islands shall be protected and preserved, and public access to such places and artifacts shall be maintained as provided by law.
Section 2. Cultural Development
The education system of the Virgin Islands shall include the study of the Virgin Islands culture in its curriculum that shall include, at a minimum, the history, language, cuisine, traditions, music, dance and the arts.
Section 3. Protection of Cultural and Intellectual Properties.
(a) The original cultural and intellectual property created and belonging to the people of the Virgin Islands is inviolable and shall not be copied or otherwise used for profit or commercial purposes without following Virgin Islands law as provided by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands.
(b) There shall be established in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a Copyright Division to officially document and register said property.
All political power is inherent in the people, who reserve the power to propose, adopt, or reject laws, and also the power to adopt or reject any act or section of any act passed by the Senate.
Section 1. (a) Initiative and referendum is the power of the electors to propose the enactment, amendment, or repeal laws of the Virgin Islands, except public exigency laws and laws involving operating expenses. An initiative shall be instituted by a petition containing the full text of the proposal, and be signed by at least 10 percent of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election within each legislative district or by 12 percent of the qualified voters of the Virgin Islands. The petition must be submitted within 180 days and is subject to judicial review and approved within 60 days of obtaining the required signatures.
(b) An initiative shall be filed with the Senate. If adopted by the Senate within thirty-days of the filing of the petition, the proposal contained in the petition shall take effect in accordance with its terms. If the Senate fails to act within thirty days, the proposal shall be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections at the next general election or at a special election held before the next general election.
(c) An initiative shall take effect upon affirmative vote of a majority of the qualified voters of the Virgin Islands voting on the question. An initiative may not be vetoed by the Governor, and when adopted by the people may not be amended or repealed by the Senate in office when the petition was filed.
Section 2. (a) Elected public officials of the Virgin Islands may be recalled by the qualified voters. A recall petition shall identify the official to be recalled by name and office, and be signed by at least 30 percent of the voters who voted for that office. The petition shall state the reasons for recall.
a) Government shall have the duty to formulate policies that ensure all Virgin Islanders can benefit from material resources.
b) Government has the duty to ensure that all Virgin Islanders get equal opportunity to improve their economic condition and to promote equitable distribution of wealth among them.
c) Government shall take measures to avert any natural and man-made disasters, and, in the event of disasters, to provide timely assistance to the victims.
d) Government has the duty to hold, on behalf of the People, land and other natural resources and to deploy them for their common benefit and development.
e) Government shall at all times encourage and promote the participation of the People in the formulation of territorial development policies and programs; it shall also have the duty to support the initiatives of the People in their development endeavors.
f) Government shall ensure the participation of women in equality with men in all economic and social development endeavors.
g) Government shall endeavor to protect and promote the health, welfare and living standards of the people of the Territory.
The Government of the Virgin Islands purpose shall be to develop a diversified economy in the Virgin Islands that:
a) Benefits the people of the Virgin Islands
b) Creates employment opportunities for Virgin Islanders
c) Promote industrial and economic development
d) Preserve the environment, beauty and natural resources
e) Function in the best interest of the public
f) Provide appropriate tax incentives
The Government of the Virgin Islands shall encourage and assist in the creation, development and expansion of locally owned businesses and industries in the United States Virgin Islands.
The Government of the Virgin Islands shall promote and encourage local self-sufficiency in necessities and reduce dependence on imports by prioritizing and facilitating the creation of businesses and industries that do the following:
a) Produce food, clothing and shelter for local consumption.
b) Provide an increasing amount of the products and services that local and transient businesses import.
Promote the investment into businesses that export
Editor's note: Share your thoughts on this section of the draft of the proposed constitution wit
h other Source readers. Please include on the subject line the section you are writing about, and at the end of your letter include your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.