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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeNewsElections 2016Local Republican Infighting Resembles Soap Opera

Local Republican Infighting Resembles Soap Opera

A Facebook commentator noted on a media report that Glenn Webster had been ousted from the Republican Party Territorial Committee saying the divisiveness in the V.I. Republican Party resembles a soap opera. That would be hard to deny.

In a release to the media, local Republican Party Chairman John Canegata said, “The Republican Party repudiates Mr. Webster’s vulgar and misogynistic comments, which are unbecoming of any public servant. He is no longer a member of the Territorial Committee.”

Recent media reports had Webster allegedly calling St. Croix board member Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal a “whore” and a “prostitute” at a Joint Board of Elections meeting Tuesday.

Also on Facebook, Webster allegedly stated that he should not have made those remarks at a public meeting.

Two factions are fighting for control of the V.I. Republican Party – Webster is in the faction that opposes Canegata; Belardo de O’Neal is in the faction that supports him.

Each faction has a delegation it wants to send to the National Republican Convention upcoming in Cleveland. Canegata maintains that the delegates elected in the March caucus did not follow all the rules and that alternatives should be sent instead.

He oversaw a meeting on May 6 where new rules for the local Republican Party were passed and new officers elected.

The opposing faction held what it called a convention last Saturday where it voted Canegata out as chairman of the local party and elected its own officers.

Court response to the party infighting has been mixed.

Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks ruled against Canegata’ s opponents. His ruling said that group could not use the name and identity of the Republican Party for its gathering last week on St. Thomas.

The convention changed its name accordingly, by putting the words United States at the end instead of before the Republican Party.

On the other hand, the V.I. Board of Elections on Tuesday voted not to certify the candidates put forth in the June 11 by the Canegata faction. It noted that it was not taking sides, only following rules that said those filings would be outside its deadlines.

Several lawsuits followed a meeting in April where alleged assaults occurred. Canegata sent a release Thursday saying one of those suits, Redfield v Canegata, was dismissed.

He stated, "These individuals were disqualified for not following basic provisions of party rules that nobody except them had following. Instead of working through internal party processes to handle disputes, they chose to file a frivolous lawsuit that only cost the Republican Party time and money that would have been better spent supporting GOP candidates to defeat Democrats."

The second local Republican Territorial Convention in recent weeks is open to the public. It will begin at 11 a.m. on June 11 on St. Thomas at the Windward Passage Hotel.

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