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Brief: Constitutional Convention Meets in Frederiksted This Week

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March 29, 2008 — The Virgin Islands Fifth Constitutional Convention will meet April 1 and April 2 in Frederiksted.
The Constitutional Convention will meet as a committee of the whole 6 p.m. in St. Gerard's Hall April 1 and will listen to presentations on constitutional drafting by attorneys Lisa Moorhead and Paulette Alexis. Carlyle Corbin will speak on the relevance of international law to the drafting of the constitution based on the language of the enabling legislation. There will be public commentary and the committee of the whole will prepare for a plenary session the following day.
The plenary session begins at 10 a.m. April 2 in the Fritz Lawaetz Legislative Hall.
The Government of the Virgin Islands is a product of federal legislation. Creation of a constitution will expand local autonomy and put the Virgin Islands into a federal-territorial relationship more similar to that of Guam and to a lesser extent, Puerto Rico, than it's current situation.
According to the legislation creating the Constitutional Convention, the delegates will have until July 27, 2008, to draft and approve a constitution. Once two thirds of the delegates vote to adopt the document, it will go to the governor’s desk. He will have 60 days to add his comments and forward it to Congress, which has 60 days to look it over. The V.I. delegate to Congress and others may testify, and Congress has the power to add or delete by amendment. If passed, the constitution will go to the president for signing, like any U.S. law.
The website www.itsourfuture.vi has excerpts and links to the full text of the relevant laws and much more information.
There have been four previous constitutional conventions. For a detailed history of previous conventions and extensive background information on the subject, see "V.I. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS: BACKGROUND."

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