The rift between Gov. Charles Turnbull and Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II is now public, at least on the lieutenant governors part.
At a St. Croix press conference Wednesday that was scheduled to address the V.I. Community Bank-Chase Manhattan deal, James tore into his boss in front of a crowd of supporters and over the airwaves. In response to a reporters question, James confirmed that he would not be attending Sundays Government House rededication gala because he was allotted only 15 tickets.
"The rumors are certainly the truth," James said, adding that he could very easily use 100 tickets for family, friends and constituents. "I feel very much insulted and I am not going to hold my tongue."
James said the ticket issue was indicative of the "disrespect" that Turnbulls support staff on St. Thomas has for St. Croix. While James said he wasnt making his feelings known out of "rancor," he nonetheless blasted the governor for not being a decisive leader, intimating that Turnbulls chief financial adviser, Rudolph Krigger Sr., among others, is running the government.
"I think the governor has a real serious problem with those individuals that surround him," James said, adding that he spoke to Turnbull about his plans not to attend the gala. "Im not angry with the governor. I feel he needs to pull his shoestrings tight to move this territory ahead."
The strain between the two men is reminiscent of the sour relationship that developed between former Gov. Roy Schneider and Lt. Gov. Kenneth Mapp and several of their predecessors. The spat between Schneider and Mapp got so bad that the two men hardly spoke to each other.
Compounding problems between Turnbull and James are their stands on the proposed sale of the V.I. Water and Power Authority. James said that during their campaign he and Turnbull promised not to sell the utility, yet the governor is now a proponent of the sale.
Meanwhile, James OBryan, an assistant to Turnbull, said he had no comment on the lieutenant governors comments "whatsoever."
He did say the ticket allotment for the Government House reopening was guided by the limited space in the buildings 400- to 500-capacity ballroom. He added that a standard procedure to allocate tickets was also used, with former governors, senators, judges and a host of other dignitaries all on the list.
"All you have to do is start doing the math and youll recognize the limitations," OBryan said.