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NO SPECIAL SESSION ON ANDREWS RENOMINATION

A flurry of activity Monday failed to result in a special session of the 23rd Legislature being called to address the renomination of Territorial Court Judge Alphonso Andrews Jr.
On Saturday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull notified Andrews that he would not be renominated for a second six-year term on the bench. That decision spurred several senators to ask Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, who is acting governor while Turnbull is in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention, to call a special session to address the judge’s renomination.
In a letter to James on Monday, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen blasted Turnbull for not renominating Andrews and asked the acting governor to call a special session.
"Governor Turnbull’s personal and vindictive action should not be allowed to stand," Hansen wrote, apparently referring to Andrews’ decision that scuttled the Beal Aerospace-V.I. government land deal on St. Croix last December. "This issue is very critical. Are we to believe that our Territorial Court is so politicized that when a judge rules contrary to a governor’s agenda, that judge will sacrifice their [sic] position on the bench, as in this instance?"
According to a Senate staff member who wished to remain anonymous, Sen. Adelbert Bryan polled his colleagues to gauge support for Andrews. James did so as well, and found that support for the move was lacking because it would be an affront to the governor. Senators said to be against calling a special session included Roosevent David, David Jones, Allie-Allison Petrus and Vargrave Richards.
James couldn’t be reached for comment late Monday afternoon, but Monday afternoon Hansen said he "backed down after calling several senators on the matter."
In her letter, Hansen cited the authority James wields as acting governor and urged him to convene the Legislature. "This may be a difficult decision for you," she wrote. "However, the integrity of the Territorial Court of the United States Virgin Islands should be protected. Before stepping down as acting governor, you should, and I support you in rescinding Governor Turnbull’s letter to Judge Andrews… by calling a special session to provide the senators with the opportunity to vote him up or vote him down."
There is wide speculation that Turnbull's action was in response to Andrews' December decision blocking Beal Aerospace from developing public land on St. Croix to build a portion of its world headquarters. Turnbull supported the Texas-based company’s venture.
Two weeks after Andrews granted Hansen’s request for a permanent injunction against the government giving Beal the so-called Camp Arawak property in exchange for an inland parcel, a swap the Legislature had approved Oct. 5, Beal announced that it was pulling out of St. Croix. Andrews ruled that the deal between the company and the government violated terms of the charitable trust through which the Camp Arawak land was deeded to the people of the Virgin Islands.
Both the government and Beal appealed Andrews' decision. Their cases have been consolidated and are pending in the local Appellate Division of the District Court.
St. Croix lawyer Lee Rohn called Turnbull’s decision to force Andrews off the bench an "obvious attempt" to use politics to control the judiciary. Rohn represented Gail Watson Chiang and several other plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at blocking the administration from selling 80 percent of the Water and Power Authority to Southern Energy. Andrews also presided over that case.
"You can't play politics with our independent judiciary," Rohn said.
In the WAPA case, Andrews ruled in favor of the government and Southern Energy except in one count, in which Chiang contended that the Public Finance Authority’s financing of the initiative, particularly its hiring of consultants, was illegal in that the PFA can only fund capital improvement projects. That issue is scheduled to be addressed in a hearing scheduled for Aug. 22, the judge’s effective termination date.

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A flurry of activity Monday failed to result in a special session of the 23rd Legislature being called to address the renomination of Territorial Court Judge Alphonso Andrews Jr.
On Saturday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull notified Andrews that he would not be renominated for a second six-year term on the bench. That decision spurred several senators to ask Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, who is acting governor while Turnbull is in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention, to call a special session to address the judge’s renomination.
In a letter to James on Monday, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen blasted Turnbull for not renominating Andrews and asked the acting governor to call a special session.
"Governor Turnbull’s personal and vindictive action should not be allowed to stand," Hansen wrote, apparently referring to Andrews’ decision that scuttled the Beal Aerospace-V.I. government land deal on St. Croix last December. "This issue is very critical. Are we to believe that our Territorial Court is so politicized that when a judge rules contrary to a governor’s agenda, that judge will sacrifice their [sic] position on the bench, as in this instance?"
According to a Senate staff member who wished to remain anonymous, Sen. Adelbert Bryan polled his colleagues to gauge support for Andrews. James did so as well, and found that support for the move was lacking because it would be an affront to the governor. Senators said to be against calling a special session included Roosevent David, David Jones, Allie-Allison Petrus and Vargrave Richards.
James couldn’t be reached for comment late Monday afternoon, but Monday afternoon Hansen said he "backed down after calling several senators on the matter."
In her letter, Hansen cited the authority James wields as acting governor and urged him to convene the Legislature. "This may be a difficult decision for you," she wrote. "However, the integrity of the Territorial Court of the United States Virgin Islands should be protected. Before stepping down as acting governor, you should, and I support you in rescinding Governor Turnbull’s letter to Judge Andrews... by calling a special session to provide the senators with the opportunity to vote him up or vote him down."
There is wide speculation that Turnbull's action was in response to Andrews' December decision blocking Beal Aerospace from developing public land on St. Croix to build a portion of its world headquarters. Turnbull supported the Texas-based company’s venture.
Two weeks after Andrews granted Hansen’s request for a permanent injunction against the government giving Beal the so-called Camp Arawak property in exchange for an inland parcel, a swap the Legislature had approved Oct. 5, Beal announced that it was pulling out of St. Croix. Andrews ruled that the deal between the company and the government violated terms of the charitable trust through which the Camp Arawak land was deeded to the people of the Virgin Islands.
Both the government and Beal appealed Andrews' decision. Their cases have been consolidated and are pending in the local Appellate Division of the District Court.
St. Croix lawyer Lee Rohn called Turnbull’s decision to force Andrews off the bench an "obvious attempt" to use politics to control the judiciary. Rohn represented Gail Watson Chiang and several other plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at blocking the administration from selling 80 percent of the Water and Power Authority to Southern Energy. Andrews also presided over that case.
"You can't play politics with our independent judiciary," Rohn said.
In the WAPA case, Andrews ruled in favor of the government and Southern Energy except in one count, in which Chiang contended that the Public Finance Authority’s financing of the initiative, particularly its hiring of consultants, was illegal in that the PFA can only fund capital improvement projects. That issue is scheduled to be addressed in a hearing scheduled for Aug. 22, the judge’s effective termination date.