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Recall Petition Is Not Legal in This Case

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Dear Source:
This letter addresses the Recall Petition being circulated in St. Croix. It is my opinion that the supporters of the Petition are using the wrong provision of the law.
Section 12 of the Revised Organic Act provides for two voter-driven procedures for direct involvement by the electorate. That section states
"The people of the Virgin Islands shall have the rights of initiative and recall to be exercised as provided in subsection b) and c) respectively."
The Initiative provision specifically addresses voter dissatisfaction with laws that are passed by their elected representatives. Section (b)(1) provides that "An initiative may enact, amend, or repeal any law . . ." Therefore, the remedy for the voter dissatisfaction with the passage of Act 6905 which included senate pay raises, GERS reform, Golden Gaming guarantee, authorizations to pay monies owed to vendors, and a line item appropriation to fund government employee pay raises is an INITIATIVE and NOT a RECALL PETITION. The law is very clear and those promoting the signing of the Recall Petition are misleading the public and attempting to undo the recent election for their own personal gain. Recall of a senator or an elected official is an extreme measure and has specific grounds stated in the law. Those grounds are "lack of fitness; incompetence; neglect of duty; and corruption." These four grounds address individual deficiencies of the character and physical capacity of the elected official instead of disagreement or dissatisfaction with a decision made.
Section 12 makes a clear distinction and this part of the Revised Organic Act gives the voters an opportunity to repeal Act 6905 through an initiative.
A Recall Petition does not repeal the law. Only an Initiative can repeal the senators' pay increase.
Sen. Ronald E. Russell
27th Legislature

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