Dec. 13, 2004 St. Croix residents may have horse racing during the island's festival activities if the 25th Legislature approves the TRAXCO lease in a special session called by Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards Wednesday. Residents on St. Thomas have not fared so well with their own issues, however.
Sens. Lorraine L. Berry and Celestino White Sr. failed to garner enough signatures for a session to vote on the rezoning of land for a tire-shredder that would eliminate the huge number of tires at the Bovoni Landfill now creating an eyesore and potential health problem on the island of St. Thomas.
That session could also have addressed bills recently vetoed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull — the Animal Cruelty Bill, the Omnibus Justice Act, the Financial Services Act and the School Vandalism Act.
"It's really unfortunate that legislators are unwilling to get together to act on these legislation," White said Monday, adding they would rather be "dragged kicking and screaming by another branch of government" to address the TRAXCO lease.
Richards, in his capacity as acting governor last Monday sent a letter to Senate President David Jones calling for a special session Dec. 15 to address the TRAXCO lease. (See "Acting Governor Calls Special Senate Session").
Turnbull had recently approved the agreements allowing TRAXCO, a subsidiary of Treasure Bay V.I. Corp., the company that manages Divi Carina Bay Casino, to run Randall Nicholas "Doc" James Racetrack. The company had hoped to be able to begin races during the Christmas season.
White said because Richards called the session, nothing else can be added to the agenda and the senators can only vote on what Richards specified.
"The people in Bovoni have been living in a terrible situation for a long time," White said of the tire problem. Recently, the Health Department stated that eight cases of dengue were reported on St. Thomas including the death of an infant by dengue hemorrhagic fever. (See " Dengue Fever the Focus of Territory CDC Conferences").
White said he couldn't understand how senators who unanimously voted for the passage of bills such as the Animal Cruelty Bill would not petition for an override.
"I've come to the opinion, that when they voted in the first instance, it was just election grandstanding," White said.
Berry told the Source Sunday night that the seven senators who had signed the petition Berry, White, Sens. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Carlton Dowe, Shawn-Michael Malone, Norman Jn Baptiste and Usie Richards were still trying to get one more signature for a session but she thinks Jones was going to end the Wednesday session "sine die," meaning he would bring the 25th Legislature to a close.
Jones confirmed Monday night that the Wednesday hearing would be the last session of the 25th Legislature.
"After that session, we're going to adjourn," Jones said.
White said the tire-shredder issue and the other bills would be a main priority for the consensus majority once the new Legislature is sworn in.
He added, "Those things are not going to languish in the 26th Legislature."
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