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Term Limits and Expedient Reform


Dear Source:
It is our studied conclusion that term limits for the legislature is a very important factor in the political and elections reforms being considered. The other coequal branches of government have term limits; it would be only fair for all three coequal branches have the same standard. The executive branch has a two-term limit, in the judiciary, in the Superior Court the judges term are for six years, the legislative branch could have three-term limit.
We have observed, that with few exceptions, that those who make the legislature a career cease being creative and productive as a legislator after their third terms. Many get bored, the failed to attend sessions or to submit meaningful legislation. Constituents cannot reach them and they only reach out to the constituents during campaign time. Most recently, the citizens saw the decline in productivity and interest in a senator and he was replaced with a newcomer that was not the first choice, he was the only alternative. If we were to read and analyze the report card of the senators, we would notice those who are productive and those who are not. We would notice their absences from sessions and committees meetings, even when they swore to represent the constituents faithfully.
We, the people, the citizens of these Virgin Islands need to empower ourselves and take back control of our government by selecting individuals who have a solid record of community involvement, persons who have volunteered their time and other resources in civic activities. We need to select persons who have above average intelligence not necessarily academic degrees but dedication and commitment to a cause for the benefit of the community. Promises are cheap and common but a record of service to the community as witnessed by many is what really counts. Let us as a community stop complaining and start doing what the constitution and the Organic Act of 1954, as amended, has granted us: The freedom, the right and the responsibility of electing our representatives in government.
It is up to us to demand that there be changes in our elections laws to improve our democratic system of government. Among the most urgent of changes or reforms needed is the institution of local government or municipal government, which of course includes legislative sub districts. Each island community would have the opportunity of establishing their own governmental priorities through their representatives. The central government would be responsible for coordinating certain services for the entire territory and for extra territorial relations. The Governor would not be responsible to the minute details of every operations of governing the districts and sub districts. The chief executive in each district or sub district would be responsible only for his or her jurisdiction. There would be local legislature and a territorial legislature made of representatives from the local legislatures.
We, the citizens of these Virgin Islands are responsible for our own destiny. We either assume the responsibility that is ours or someone else would do for us what we can and should be doing for ourselves as intelligent and courageous people do. We need to develop a sense of identity, a sense of nationalism; we need to have true national pride. We need to acknowledge that we have a heterogeneous community and we should be inclusive in all our community activities. We need to promote justice and community peace that we can progress as a society. May Allah-God give us wisdom and courage to do what is right for our nation, may we make the right choices.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

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