I observed recently the discussion on the proposed constitutional convention for 2006 by the 26th Legislature. In my humble opinion the constitution convention would be an exercise in futility, once more. My reason for that assessment resides on the fact, that until we establish the desired relationship with the federal government our status would remain the same. The constitutional convention would accomplish very little if we do not address the status issue, we would be spending our tax money unwisely, giving some politicians, those without a vision, a forum to grandstand at the taxpayers expense. No wonder the populace is not showing much interest.
I share the view with many citizens, that the most expeditious way to have a constitution is to have a commission review the current Organic Act and adapt it to our current needs and aspirations. Concurrently we should be negotiating an improved status with the federal government. Some areas that I believe we need to focus are the establishment of a clear-cut authority to deal directly with our neighbors and to be able to join regional organizations. To be able to establish customs and immigration policies that best serve our particular interests and needs. To establish our own tax code and to upgrade our status as American citizens. To be able to have a voting representative in Congress and to be able to vote for the President of the United States of America, like all other bona fide American citizens. We can and should evaluate all candidates based on their expressed position on these very important issues: status, a constitution and political reforms.
Until now very few, if any has had the courage to level with the electorate, to reveal their true position on the issue of status, government reform and a real constitution. We should, as an electorate use those issues as a litmus test for those in office and those seeking political office. We need more aggressive journalism, more and better investigative reporting. We need to expose all of the shenanigans going on in our government. We are hearing that there are a number of individuals who have expressed their interest and intentions of running for the governorship of these Virgin Islands. Persons with questionably ability to run their own personal affairs are offering themselves to represent us in the executive branch. I was tempted to say in the highest office of government, but I corrected myself, because in our system of government, where there are three equal branches, the head of each branch is equal to the others. Of course the governorship by its nature is more visible and wield a lot of influence over the other two branches. When we have strong leaders in each of the three branches, and they are persons with competence, integrity and humility then we could not expect any better representation in government. The problem is very few people believe that can happen, so it does not happen.
It is said, and I agree, in a democratic society the people get the government they deserve, because they elect them. Therefore it behooves us to be diligent in our selection and election of individuals. We are to select and elect individuals who share our values, our political philosophy and our community concerns. All other considerations are not as important. I exhort everyone to exercise their constitutional rights and responsibility and get involve in the political process and contribute your share in the continual development of our government. May God have mercy on us and grant us the courage to do what is right for our community.
St. Thomas, V.I.
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