Home News Local news Golden Gets Nullified and Certified, All Over Again

Golden Gets Nullified and Certified, All Over Again


Mar 14, 2005 – The St. Croix Board of Elections Monday morning voted to nullify its certification of Carmen Golden as a member of the board and then voted to certify her again. In what has to be an unprecedented experience, Golden has been certified and decertified twice since the November elections.
Monday's nullifying of her certification came after the board met in a short executive session to discuss a letter from Kevin Rames, attorney for the Virgin Islands Daily News.
The letter stated that the meeting of the board last week where Golden was certified was illegal because there was no proper legal notice given. (See "Board Certifies Golden at Controversial Meeting").
Board Chairman Rupert Ross said, "It was not the intention of this board, then, or is it now, to conduct any business in a clandestine or secret fashion. It never will be as long as I am sitting in this chair."
Member Raymond Williams said he would vote for rescinding the action but his vote did not indicate that the board had done "anything unconstitutional."
John Abramson, elections systems supervisor, gave a narrative of last-minute decisions before the board meeting last week that led to no public notices being sent to the media.
The efforts mostly concerned getting Alva Swan, the attorney general, to the meeting to explain his opinion that Golden could not be certified.
After rescinding its action the board Monday again took up the Golden certification issue. Board member Ana Davila said she would participate in the discussion, and she voted, even though Golden is her sister.
Ross said he was voting for the certification because Golden had done nothing illegal. He said that the legal opinions the board had received were contradictory, "but the intent of the voters is clear."
Golden, who changed her party affiliation after the election, received more votes than candidates Mary Moorhead and Hope Gibson who are vying for the seat.
Intense feelings appeared to run beneath the battering exchange between the board, the audience and the media.
Gibson and Moorhead were both in attendance, however, after the certification of Golden, and the announcement made that the board would consider election reform issues, Gibson left, saying, "If these are the people that are going to be in charge of it, there is no hope. Have a good day."
Abramson's comments about the Daily News also had an edge to them. He said a couple times to Alvin Gee, the radio reporter, "What are you doing here? You aren't media. The Daily News said you aren't media."
This was in reference to Gee actually being in attendance at the controversial meeting. He had learned about it from Ross at an event over the weekend.
Abramson asked the Daily News photographer not to take his picture, but the photographer continued to do so.
Gibson released a statement Monday afternoon saying, "The decision by the board to re-certify Carmen Golden outside of legal authority openly demonstrates the lack of even a basic desire to exercise due diligence to maintain even the slightest appearance of integrity.
She added that she would not stand by and "watch the most vital agency in the Virgin Islands trample public trust and trifle with laws that should not be compromised."
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