People trying to settle the controversy among Virgin Islands Republicans know how Sisyphus felt. In the Greek myth, Sisyphus rolls a boulder up a hill just to watch it roll down again.
On Tuesday the Republican National Committee on Contests announced a negotiated agreement between Warren B. Cole and John Canegata, both of whom claim to be chairman of the Virgin Islands Republican Territorial Committee.
The agreement allows for the delegates that won the March caucus to be convention delegates. Canegata had tried to have them disqualified. However, Canegata will get 10 guest passes to the convention.
John Yob, the leading vote getter in the caucus, was quick to claim victory. He emailed the Source, “It is fair to say that I am very happy with this result and it is a total victory across the board. I could not be more pleased that the correct delegates will be seated and an honest election with proper oversight will take place within the next 90 days to elect new leadership for the Virgin Islands Republican Party. ”
But wait. On the very same day the RNCC was making its announcement, the Virgin Islands Supreme Court ruled that Valerie Stiles, who is saying Yob is unqualified, can continue her fight.
She emailed the Source, “I am reserving my right to challenge … notwithstanding the report of the Contests Committee, based on a decision just issued by the Virgin Islands Supreme Court.
Here is how the day unfolded.
At 11:36 a.m. the Source received from Canegata’s office a press release that included the following, “With the Democrat-controlled Joint Board of Elections refusing to defend the integrity of Virgin Islands election law, it is impossible to definitely decide the eligibility of John Yob, Erica Yob and Lindsey Eilon absent a ruling from the Virgin Islands Supreme Court hearing held Tuesday.”
At 11:46 a.m. a Yob email titled “BREAKING NEWS: USVI Total Victory” arrives along with the agreement.
At 11:57 a.m. the Supreme Court files its ruling. Stiles sends her email titled, “Supreme Court stops John Yob” and includes copy of the ruling.
Attorney Ed Barry, who is representing Stiles, said no one really expected the Supreme Court to make its ruling so quickly.
The Supreme Court did not rule on the substance of the case. The ruling remanded the case back to Superior Court saying the court erred in not allowing Stiles to file an amendment because she was an intervenor.
Barry said the claim in that amendment is that the Yobs and Eilon had fraudulently claimed, under oath, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, not to be registered to vote in any other state when they were registered to vote in Michigan.
Barry said it is now “a race against the clock.” He has filed for an emergency hearing and hopes it will be Friday, the same day the Credential Committee will be meeting in Cleveland.
Barry said he did not know what effect his client’s effort will have on the agreement made between Cole and Canegata. He added, “My client did not authorize that settlement and should not be bound by it.”
Dennis Lennox, who often acts as Canegata’s spokesperson, told the Source Tuesday that 2 a.m. Friday is the deadline to file any appeals with the convention’s Credential Committee. The Republican Convention starts on Monday in Cleveland.
Also part of the agreement negotiated between Canegata and Cole is that a new election will be held for chairman within 90 days.
Holland Redfield, a longtime National Republican Committeeman from the Virgin Islands and an opponent of Canegata’s recent actions, was asked Tuesday if the fight was over. He answered, “No, I don’t think so. You know the saying here ‘wrong and strong.’”
Redfield added that the national committee was proposing to send observers down for the next V.I. Republican Committee vote. "It is like we are Nicaragua or something."
TPM, a popular political website in Washington, D.C., had the headline Tuesday, “Wacky Fight Over Virgin Island GOP Delegates Is Finally Decided In Cleveland.”