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DeJongh Complains of Treatment of Staff Member During Hearing

Gov. John deJongh Jr. has written Senate President Louis Hill to formally complain about the treatment of his staff by Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson during budget wrap-up hearings Tuesday, saying he’s told his staff to leave if it happens again.
"The level of rudeness and hostility displayed at that time was totally inconsistent with Virgin Islands’ traditions of civility and respect for others," deJongh wrote. "It required the intervention of the committee chairs, and that intervention was much appreciated."
The incident in question began as Nelson was asking Nathan Simmonds, deJongh’s senior policy advisor, about why the administration had paid some vendors but not others during the government’s current cash flow crisis. Nelson repeatedly interrupted him when Simmonds began to answer, called him a "liar" and made some references to Simmonds’ personal history.
Ultimately, Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe, who was chairing the meeting, gently insisted upon decorum and civility. Nelson did not apologize as such, but later partially backtracked, saying "sometimes the discussion can get heated."
DeJongh asked Hill to prevent future personal attacks against testifiers from the senators.

"If they are again faced by such a level of disrespect or rudeness they are to politely and respectfully end their participation in whatever legislative proceeding is under way and leave without delay," he said. "Given your good offices … I trust this action will never become necessary

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