Dec. 9, 2004 Members of the Senate minority said Thursday they will not be deterred by any actions of the consensus majority, and they will be presenting their unified agenda shortly.
Sen. Roosevelt David said he would not be moved by the decision of his colleagues Sens. Lorraine L. Berry, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg and Shawn-Michael Malone to leave the group of Democratic senators and join with the Independent and Independent Citizens Movement members to form the consensus majority.
David said he would remain with the now minority and work closely with the other Democratic senators.
"We're putting together our agenda together for the benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands," David said, adding he hopes the members of the majority will work along with them when they present their agenda.
David, who currently serves as chairman for the 25th Legislature's Rules Committee, was selected to serve on the Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice Committee, the Education, Culture and Youth Committee and the Finance Committee of the 26th Legislature.
Two newcomers and members of the minority were chosen to head committees in the 26th Legislature: Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion and Neville James.
David said that was unusual that the majority would give committee chair positions to newcomers, both from the St. Croix District, but apparently they must have had a strategy in selecting them. He added there were not enough of them to head all the committees.
"Either they are trying to please the people of St. Croix," David said, "or they were trying to woo the senators to their side."
James said he was "somewhat surprised" at the majority's decision to select him as chairman of the Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, but he's glad to be in this role.
"I'm grateful," James said. "It's an opportunity to show leadership, and I'll work hard.
He also said that he would not be leaving the group of Democratic senators.
James said the Planning Committee has two other Crucian senators besides himself Sens. Usie Richards and Norman Jn Baptiste, who serves as vice chairman.
"I'm looking forward to getting in committee with them," James said, adding that with three Crucian senators in the committee "we have no excuse now in forming legislation to further the economic development of St. Croix."
James said he felt comfortable with the other committees he was placed in the Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice Committee, the Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee and the Finance Committee. James said he was a bit skeptical of the majority's decision to have two people from the same district as chair and vice chair of several committees the Finance Committee with Jn Baptiste and Senator-elect Terrence "Positive" Nelson from St. Croix; the Education, Culture and Youth Committee with Senator-elect Liston Davis and Malone from St. Thomas; the Government Operations and Consumer Protection Committee with Donastorg and Davis from St. Thomas; and the Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection Committee with James and Jn Baptiste from St. Croix.
"You would want to have some balance at the top of the committees," James said.
Senator-elect Craig Barshinger agreed with James. "You should be able to have more balance," Barshinger, who was at a meeting of the Democratic senators, said Thursday afternoon. "It's better to have at least one chair or vice chair from St. Croix at this time when the island is crying out for representation."
Barshinger said he was concerned that the majority is not reaching out as they should to the minority.
"I was not consulted on any of the committees I was placed in," Barshinger said. "However, I will be glad to serve in whatever capacity I was chosen to serve."
Barshinger was selected to serve on the Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, the Housing and Veterans Affairs Committee, the Labor and Agriculture Committee and the Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.