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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Just back from three days in the Dominican Republic, Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II spoke out Friday evening in defense of his aborted attempt to renominate Judge Alphonso Andrews Jr. to the Territorial Court.
In live call-in statements on evening radio newscasts on St. Croix and St. Thomas and in a press release, James said he was within his legal rights Monday when he considered calling the Legislature into special session to consider Andrews’ renomination to the bench. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull had notified Andrews on Saturday that he would not renominate the one-term jurist to a second six-year term.
James, who became acting governor when Turnbull left the territory last weekend to attend the Democratic National Convention, said "some senators" on St. Croix urged him to consider calling such a special session. But after speaking with Turnbull in Los Angeles, Senate President Vargrave Richards and several other senators, he said, he decided against the move because of the adverse impact it would have.
"It was for this reason, and this reason only, that I decided against calling the 23rd Legislature into special session," James said.
While Turnbull acted within his powers in declining to reappoint Andrews, James said he as acting governor was also within his "legal jurisdiction" to call a special session to confirm the judge's reappointment.
James said he considered the move because of his "strong feelings" about Andrews and his judicial abilities. He also said he had received several letters from local lawyers supporting Andrews.
"He is a young, articulate, compassionate, intelligent Virgin Islander, and an excellent role model for our youth," James said. "Recognizing these qualities in Judge Andrews helped to solidify my decision to call for his renomination."
Meanwhile, another Andrews supporter, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, is organizing a demonstration in protest of Turnbull’s decision. Her plans call for a motorcade to form at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Canegata Ballpark and then proceed to Frederiksted at 1:30 p.m.
James had been in the Dominican Republic since Tuesday representing the territory at the inauguration of the country’s new president, Hipolito Mejia.

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