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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 26, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDEMOCRATS FIRE BACK, CALL FOR PARTY UNITY

DEMOCRATS FIRE BACK, CALL FOR PARTY UNITY

Reeling from attacks by the newly formed majority of senators in the 24th Legislature, leaders of the Virgin Islands Democratic Party this weekend attempted to defuse the criticism. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull led the charge Saturday in motivational speeches aimed at uniting the party.
The tone of the meeting was in clear contrast to the stormy sessions of months past, as the party recalled its contributions to the V.I. and engaged in what some termed damage control.
Last week, during an organizational meeting of the incoming Senate's majority, Democrats came under fire from one of their own. St. Croix Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste campaigned as a Democrat but has aligned himself with a majority of senators, mainly independents and ICM party members. At that meeting in St. Croix, he fired salvos at Democrats, saying they had disrespected him and largely ignored his legislative initiatives. Another Democrat turned independent, Norma Pickard Samuel, accused the party of harboring criminals, protecting rapists and white-collar criminals while setting an agenda to benefit only a small portion of the population.
Turnbull said Saturday the party must solidify itself and return to the business of contributing to the advancement of the Virgin Islands. "When we are united, we always win; when there is division, we lose," he said Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christiansen and others expressed similar sentiments.
Democrats took issue with Samuel's and Jn Baptiste's comments in recent days that the Democratic party was to blame for virtually every socioeconomic problem in the territory. Territorial committee members saw of videotape of Jn Baptiste at an Oct. 22 rally in St. Croix where he urged support of the Democratic Party and a platform that was created to "place St. Croix first." On a St. Croix talk show Saturday, Jn Baptiste said any attempt to disqualify him from membership on the territorial committee will be met with "fierce resistance."
State Chair Arturo Watlington Jr. said Saturday that Samuel's boast that she had outfoxed St. Thomas Democrats into supporting her bid for a Senate seat will be an issue in the next general election.
Sen. Lorraine Berry said most of the problems facing the party were generated by internal backbiting and accused fellow party members of campaigning against Democratic candidates. "We had a Democratic Senate and a Democratic administration, but we don't see eye to eye, let's be honest," she said.
Berry went on to urge the territorial committee to become more involved in the day to day politics of the senate and the administration. She and Watlington both spoke of the need to enact election reform and specifically employ an election system by numbered seats. She said she would lead the campaign to enact changes in the election laws of the Virgin Islands if she retains her seat in the 24th Legislature.
Saturday's meeting also saw the installation of party officers including district chairs Wintrhop Maduro from St. Thomas, Terence Joseph from St. Croix and Watlington as state chairman. He defeated James O'Bryan Jr. during September's primary election to secure the leadership post in the oldest political party in the territory.

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Reeling from attacks by the newly formed majority of senators in the 24th Legislature, leaders of the Virgin Islands Democratic Party this weekend attempted to defuse the criticism. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull led the charge Saturday in motivational speeches aimed at uniting the party.
The tone of the meeting was in clear contrast to the stormy sessions of months past, as the party recalled its contributions to the V.I. and engaged in what some termed damage control.
Last week, during an organizational meeting of the incoming Senate's majority, Democrats came under fire from one of their own. St. Croix Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste campaigned as a Democrat but has aligned himself with a majority of senators, mainly independents and ICM party members. At that meeting in St. Croix, he fired salvos at Democrats, saying they had disrespected him and largely ignored his legislative initiatives. Another Democrat turned independent, Norma Pickard Samuel, accused the party of harboring criminals, protecting rapists and white-collar criminals while setting an agenda to benefit only a small portion of the population.
Turnbull said Saturday the party must solidify itself and return to the business of contributing to the advancement of the Virgin Islands. "When we are united, we always win; when there is division, we lose," he said Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christiansen and others expressed similar sentiments.
Democrats took issue with Samuel's and Jn Baptiste's comments in recent days that the Democratic party was to blame for virtually every socioeconomic problem in the territory. Territorial committee members saw of videotape of Jn Baptiste at an Oct. 22 rally in St. Croix where he urged support of the Democratic Party and a platform that was created to "place St. Croix first." On a St. Croix talk show Saturday, Jn Baptiste said any attempt to disqualify him from membership on the territorial committee will be met with "fierce resistance."
State Chair Arturo Watlington Jr. said Saturday that Samuel's boast that she had outfoxed St. Thomas Democrats into supporting her bid for a Senate seat will be an issue in the next general election.
Sen. Lorraine Berry said most of the problems facing the party were generated by internal backbiting and accused fellow party members of campaigning against Democratic candidates. "We had a Democratic Senate and a Democratic administration, but we don't see eye to eye, let's be honest," she said.
Berry went on to urge the territorial committee to become more involved in the day to day politics of the senate and the administration. She and Watlington both spoke of the need to enact election reform and specifically employ an election system by numbered seats. She said she would lead the campaign to enact changes in the election laws of the Virgin Islands if she retains her seat in the 24th Legislature.
Saturday's meeting also saw the installation of party officers including district chairs Wintrhop Maduro from St. Thomas, Terence Joseph from St. Croix and Watlington as state chairman. He defeated James O'Bryan Jr. during September's primary election to secure the leadership post in the oldest political party in the territory.