I've read the two Source articles about the fireworks this week between Senator Berry and the Democratic Party. I'd like to share my perspectives, which have been from the inside.
Senator Berry was one of three Democrats who broke away from the Democratic caucus last November. They automatically lost their votes in the Democratic Territorial Committee, as stated in the bylaws. Senator Berry lost the chairmanship of the Democratic Women's Caucus because without a vote she doesn't have the standing required by Roberts Rules of Order to chair a committee. She can still be a member — a very active member, I hope — of the women's caucus. Whether or not I agree with her recent behavior, I recognize her as a staunch advocate for the empowerment of women in the Territory. I did cast my vote Saturday to remove her as Chairman, because I believe in following the bylaws.
Senator Berry's assertions in her Monday morning speech that she is being persecuted because she is a woman are not based in fact. Delegate Donna Christensen is a woman, and the Delegate continues to garner support because she consistently advocates clear principles, and sticks to them.
The Senate President, however, is advocating a different set of principles for every group she talks to. She appears to be playing every group against each other. This leads nowhere but down the drain.
I still admire her ambition and ability, but I think she wants power more than is healthy. As an optimist, I hope she will awaken from the nightmare sometime soon. Senator Berry is hurting me personally by the unequal allocations, and by meddling in my St. Croix office with a mission to neutralize the Senator At Large. I knew what I was getting into when I ran for this job, but I am eager to focus on the legislation I have in the hopper, rather than struggle against "maneuvers" by the senate majority.
I noticed in reading her Monday speech that she was in an adversarial position with many, many groups. Democrats. Men. Guyanese. Eastern Caribbean. Freshmen Senators. Sophomore Senators. The Maximum Minority.
She committed a grave wrong on Monday when she accused the Maximum Minority of having some members who were guilty of sexual harassment. I think I know the truth about my Minority Colleagues, and we do have some lovers in that group. But sexual harassment is a crime, whereas loving, consensual relationships are not. By her false remark, Senator Berry set all women back in the struggle for sexual equality and justice.
I am still hoping Senator Berry awakens and remembers the principles of integrity, transparency, and reason that made her a popular choice for over twenty years.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these perspectives with your readers,
Craig W. Barshinger
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