80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesJN. BAPTISTE IMPLIES HE'LL SUBPOENA SIMMONDS

JN. BAPTISTE IMPLIES HE'LL SUBPOENA SIMMONDS

Sept. 18, 2001 – Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said Tuesday that her announced refusal to appear at a Senate Education Committee hearing scheduled for Friday on St. Croix stems from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's general directive to his department heads not to attend Senate meetings unless he gives the okay.
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, the committee chair, circulated copies of a letter he sent to Simmonds on Tuesday to the news media. In it, he told Simmonds that he was "duty bound to issue subpoenas to ensure that the people's business is conducted."
Later Tuesday, Simmonds called Jn. Baptiste's actions "politicking." "Politicians are good at stirring up the pot," she said.
Simmonds said that, according to a policy implemented by Turnbull in an Aug. 1 letter to Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, the senator needed to write to the governor to request her presence. She said Jn. Baptiste failed to do so. "All he has to do is make a request," she said.
In his written reply to Simmonds' letter of refusal, Jn. Baptiste noted that, despite the governor's mandate, other commissioners and agency heads have appeared to testify at Senate hearings. He said the policy has never been enforced. "What is your motive here?" he asked Simmonds, noting that she had committed to attend a Finance Committee meeting on Saturday.
Simmonds' explanation is that all agency heads were told by the governor to attend budget hearings, which is what the Finance Committee session on Saturday is. "We're defending the budget," she said.
Jn. Baptiste said he scheduled the Education Committee session to get information about Education Department procurement practices, including contracts, staffing and equipment and supply needs. He also wants to know about projects financed under the Youth, Education and Training Endowment Fund. In his letter to Simmonds Tuesday, he said the meeting will be "geared towards righting the wrongs of our education system."

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,722FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Sept. 18, 2001 - Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said Tuesday that her announced refusal to appear at a Senate Education Committee hearing scheduled for Friday on St. Croix stems from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's general directive to his department heads not to attend Senate meetings unless he gives the okay.
Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, the committee chair, circulated copies of a letter he sent to Simmonds on Tuesday to the news media. In it, he told Simmonds that he was "duty bound to issue subpoenas to ensure that the people's business is conducted."
Later Tuesday, Simmonds called Jn. Baptiste's actions "politicking." "Politicians are good at stirring up the pot," she said.
Simmonds said that, according to a policy implemented by Turnbull in an Aug. 1 letter to Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, the senator needed to write to the governor to request her presence. She said Jn. Baptiste failed to do so. "All he has to do is make a request," she said.
In his written reply to Simmonds' letter of refusal, Jn. Baptiste noted that, despite the governor's mandate, other commissioners and agency heads have appeared to testify at Senate hearings. He said the policy has never been enforced. "What is your motive here?" he asked Simmonds, noting that she had committed to attend a Finance Committee meeting on Saturday.
Simmonds' explanation is that all agency heads were told by the governor to attend budget hearings, which is what the Finance Committee session on Saturday is. "We're defending the budget," she said.
Jn. Baptiste said he scheduled the Education Committee session to get information about Education Department procurement practices, including contracts, staffing and equipment and supply needs. He also wants to know about projects financed under the Youth, Education and Training Endowment Fund. In his letter to Simmonds Tuesday, he said the meeting will be "geared towards righting the wrongs of our education system."