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HomeNewsArchives'NO SHOWS' CAUSE COMMITTEE MEETING TO ADJOURN

'NO SHOWS' CAUSE COMMITTEE MEETING TO ADJOURN

Lack of a quorum Monday forced Senate Committee on Government Operations chairman Gregory Bennerson to adjourn the scheduled meeting.
The committee also includes Sens. Roosevelt David, vice-chair; Lorraine Berry, David Jones, Adelbert "Bert" Bryan, Allie-Allison Petrus and Donald "Ducks" Cole. Four senators are needed for a quorum.
According to Bennerson's office, Jones and David were excused. Bennerson announced at the meeting that Bryan was "off-island." Petrus is appearing in District Court in the bribery trial of former Sen. John Tutein.
Though there were several items on the agenda, the lead was a bill to appropriate $200,000 to create a 55-member Constitutional Convention, the fifth such attempt, that will draft a Virgin Islands "organic act." It is sponsored by Jones, who was absent.
Present to testify were, among others, Erva Denham, president of the League of Women Voters, and Raymond "Ussie" Richards, chairman of the Independent Citizens Movement.
Richards said he had been notified because of his ICM affiliation, but not in his capacity as chairman of the joint Boards of Elections. "I had to call Bennerson's office Thursday to get a copy of the bill," he said.
"I called the Boards of Elections in St. Thomas and St. Croix Friday," said Denham, " and both offices appeared surprised. They had no knowledge of the meeting."
Neither was half as surprised as John Abramson, supervisor of the Board of Elections. "I read of the meeting in the media, and had to call Senate President Vargrave Richard's office to fax me a copy of the bill," Richards said.
Abramson also said he had not received a letter from Bennerson about the meeting supposedly sent to his St. Croix office Feb. 8. He first saw the letter Monday after he asked St. Thomas Source to fax him a copy.
Attempts to reach Bennerson's office were unsuccessful as of publication time.
Richards was not only upset by learning of the meeting in the media, but by coming from St. Croix for a meeting which never took place. "It's wasted my day, and wasted money," he said. As to the bill itself, Richards said, "It appears to have been done in a vacuum."
While the intent is good, he said, the bill has many flaws that need to be corrected.
"I have always been in favor of (the Constitutional Convention)," he said, "but I came here specifically today to address the flaws."
The bill provides for convention delegates to be chosen in the November 2000 election. The delegates would be composed of the 15 senators-elect, 14 members each of each voting district and 12 delegates at large.
Richards noted sections in the bill which contain contradictory time elements for filing dates.
The Government Operations committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday on St. Croix, but the convention bill is not on the agenda.
"I have questions on when they will forum," Richards said.
Other items on Monday's agenda were bills to regulate human-propelled devices such as skateboards, to limit Magens Bay Authority liability, amendments for property tax and automobile insurance laws and a bill to petition the Department of the Interior to convey a parcel of Wintberg land to the Virgin Islands.
Bennerson's office said a resumption of Monday's meeting was hoped for on March 15.
Co-sponsors of the constitutional convention bill with Jones were Sens. Bennerson, Berry, Cole, Violet Anne Golden, Norman Jn Baptiste and Almando "Rocky" Liburd. Sens. Golden and Liburd were present at the session.

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Lack of a quorum Monday forced Senate Committee on Government Operations chairman Gregory Bennerson to adjourn the scheduled meeting.
The committee also includes Sens. Roosevelt David, vice-chair; Lorraine Berry, David Jones, Adelbert "Bert" Bryan, Allie-Allison Petrus and Donald "Ducks" Cole. Four senators are needed for a quorum.
According to Bennerson's office, Jones and David were excused. Bennerson announced at the meeting that Bryan was "off-island." Petrus is appearing in District Court in the bribery trial of former Sen. John Tutein.
Though there were several items on the agenda, the lead was a bill to appropriate $200,000 to create a 55-member Constitutional Convention, the fifth such attempt, that will draft a Virgin Islands "organic act." It is sponsored by Jones, who was absent.
Present to testify were, among others, Erva Denham, president of the League of Women Voters, and Raymond "Ussie" Richards, chairman of the Independent Citizens Movement.
Richards said he had been notified because of his ICM affiliation, but not in his capacity as chairman of the joint Boards of Elections. "I had to call Bennerson's office Thursday to get a copy of the bill," he said.
"I called the Boards of Elections in St. Thomas and St. Croix Friday," said Denham, " and both offices appeared surprised. They had no knowledge of the meeting."
Neither was half as surprised as John Abramson, supervisor of the Board of Elections. "I read of the meeting in the media, and had to call Senate President Vargrave Richard's office to fax me a copy of the bill," Richards said.
Abramson also said he had not received a letter from Bennerson about the meeting supposedly sent to his St. Croix office Feb. 8. He first saw the letter Monday after he asked St. Thomas Source to fax him a copy.
Attempts to reach Bennerson's office were unsuccessful as of publication time.
Richards was not only upset by learning of the meeting in the media, but by coming from St. Croix for a meeting which never took place. "It's wasted my day, and wasted money," he said. As to the bill itself, Richards said, "It appears to have been done in a vacuum."
While the intent is good, he said, the bill has many flaws that need to be corrected.
"I have always been in favor of (the Constitutional Convention)," he said, "but I came here specifically today to address the flaws."
The bill provides for convention delegates to be chosen in the November 2000 election. The delegates would be composed of the 15 senators-elect, 14 members each of each voting district and 12 delegates at large.
Richards noted sections in the bill which contain contradictory time elements for filing dates.
The Government Operations committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday on St. Croix, but the convention bill is not on the agenda.
"I have questions on when they will forum," Richards said.
Other items on Monday's agenda were bills to regulate human-propelled devices such as skateboards, to limit Magens Bay Authority liability, amendments for property tax and automobile insurance laws and a bill to petition the Department of the Interior to convey a parcel of Wintberg land to the Virgin Islands.
Bennerson's office said a resumption of Monday's meeting was hoped for on March 15.
Co-sponsors of the constitutional convention bill with Jones were Sens. Bennerson, Berry, Cole, Violet Anne Golden, Norman Jn Baptiste and Almando "Rocky" Liburd. Sens. Golden and Liburd were present at the session.