Home Commentary Editorial APPOINTED AG ISN'T WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE

APPOINTED AG ISN'T WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE

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March 25, 2003 — If ever the Virgin Islands needed an elected attorney general, now is the time.
Attorney General Iver A. Stridiron has offered a strong case to those who believe that an appointed attorney general can never be independent of the governor who appointed him, and thus can never serve the public – or the cause of justice – appropriately or effectively.
Stridiron has reduced the job of the territory’s top justice official to that of a public relations lackey for the man who gave him the job.
During the 2002 election campaign, Stridiron became the political mouthpiece for Turnbull, taking to the airwaves regularly to attack the governor’s leading opponent. That was inappropriate enough, but could have been chalked up to bad form.
However, Stridiron's latest attempts to protect his boss and the people around him have gone too far, starting with his rage at the Inspector General's Office and federal prosecutors for exposing the irregularities of the Global Resource Management contract and continuing with last week’s attempt to keep Gov. Turnbull out of court by erroneously leading the media to believe the court case between Southland Gaming and the V.I. government had been settled – with the court’s blessing.
Given Stridiron’s loyalty, it is unlikely that Gov. Turnbull will respond to his outrageous behavior by firing him, as he so richly deserves. Not, at least, without a lot of public pressure.
So we can only hope that the community activists take to the streets again to demand Stridiron’s ouster. If that doesn’t work, we hope they will lead the charge for an elected AG, which we are told is working well in Guam. Let’s get it on the ballot again, but this time as a binding referendum.
Of course, then it will be up to the first branch of government to make sure it happens – an iffy proposition at best. And then we must find an attorney with integrity, competence and a commitment to the public interest, someone who is willing to run and electable. That could be a tall order. But it seems preferable to shrugging and simply accepting an unacceptable status quo.
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