The V.I. Legislature voted unanimously to confirm attorney Jomo Meade as a V.I. Superior Court judge on St. Croix, during a busy Tuesday session in which it approved rezonings, leases, permits, honorary resolutions and a slew of bills.
Meade is a St. Croix Central High graduate who attended the College of the Virgin Islands and later received his law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshal School of Law.
He served as a clerk to Judge Raymond Finch in the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands. Since then he has worked in private practice and, in 1993, established his own private practice. He has tried more than 50 criminal jury cases and more than 100 bench criminal and civil trials.
“I am in full support of the nomination of Jomo Meade to become a judge,” Sen. Neville James said. “I expect Meade to dispense justice in the same manner that he did when he worked as a defense attorney; that is fairly.”
“Meade is a dedicated person who asked that this nomination be held until after he concludes his cases as an attorney. This demonstrates true commitment to the task at hand,” James added.
In the same vein, Sen. Marvin Blyden said Meade "has a wealth of knowledge and experience. He has served in various legal capacities for over 25 years. I think that he will be an excellent judge.”
Sen. Jean Forde said Meade is "well qualified, very popular and well liked. He is also committed to making a positive change is our community.”
Sen. Kurt Vialet expressed some concern but voted for Meade’s approval. “Meade is very good in his profession. Since he worked as a defense attorney for a very long time, it is my only hope that Meade can have a smooth transition into becoming a judge,” Vialet said.
The legislative body also approved a lease with the V.I. Water and Power Authority for land in Estate Recover Hill, Christiansted, to build a tower for its digital meter reading system.
Senators also approved a lease with Duane Sydney and Kalayar Myint for former V.I. Corp agricultural land on St. Croix to set up a freshwater shrimp aquaculture business. Myint and Sydney plan to use their $30,000 prize in the annual 13D entrepreneurship contest to set up the venture. The V.I. Government plans to lease the pair five acres of former V.I. Corp. land that is zoned for agriculture at a cost of $100 per year.
Senators approved a rezoning for Moravian Church property in Estate Emmaus, St. John. The rezoning brings a small portion of the property in line with the rest by changing it to "Waterfront Pleasure." The Moravian Church and a developer, T-REX St. John LLC, want to build an 89-unit hotel and condo development with some retail space.
The plans met some opposition and some support at a recent hearing on St. John. At-Large Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd of St. John opposed the bill, as did Sen. Myron Jackson, arguing it would take away beachfront access from St. John residents.
The Senate approved a zoning variance in Estate Green Cay on St. Croix to allow Mike Meluskey and his wife, veterinarian Laurie Bailey, to operate a veterinary clinic. The 5.34-acre property has a barn, a small office with a bathroom, a single-family home that is their personal residence, and a guest cottage.
They want to use the barn and office for a vet clinic. While changes would need to be made to the inside of the barn, such as electrical and plumbing work, there would be no changes visible from the road and the footprint of the buildings would remain the same.
Senators changed the zoning of the Strand Street, Frederiksted, property adjacent to Turtles Deli and across the street from the Athalie MacFarlane Petersen Library from W-1 (Waterfront-Pleasure) to R-3 (Residential – Medium Density)
The change would allow owners Jeff Printz and Christopher Swanson to continue with their plans for a 22-room resort complex they plan to call The Fred.
And they approved a zoning request was for George Lake Sr. and George Lake Jr. to amend Official Zoning Map No. SCZ-6 from A-2 (Agriculture Zone) to C (Commercial) for Parcel No. 253 Estate Glynn, Kings Quarter, St. Croix. The Lakes want to relocate and expand their current contracting business.
They plan an office, parking for heavy equipment and a garage for heavy equipment. All neighboring properties have been rezoned to C-Commercial or B3- Business and it is on the edge of an area already zoned for commercial use,
Senators also approved resolutions commemorating the 50th anniversary of the V.I. Olympic Committee and the 250th anniversary of the founding of Cruz Bay.
All senators were present. Except for the exception of the Moravian Church property, the votes were unanimous.