78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 4, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesST. CROIX LEADERS: SENATORS IGNORED PUBLIC'S WILL

ST. CROIX LEADERS: SENATORS IGNORED PUBLIC'S WILL

April 15, 2003 – The 25th Legislature's decision Tuesday to allow the controversial video lottery terminals to remain legal on St. Thomas and St. John sparked angry responses from two leaders of community and business organizations on St. Croix.
Frank Fox, St. Croix Chamber of Commerce president, said "there was no ambiguity as to what the residents of St. Croix wanted." He said the numerous paid advertisements, protests and rallies by people in the community made clear the public's dissatisfaction about the machines being allowed.
"There are bleak skies today over the Virgin Islands," Terrence Nelson, V.I. Action Coalition member and head of Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, said.
Three lawmakers representing St. Croix — Senate President David Jones, at-large Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Sen. Emmett Hansen II — voted against a bill to repeal legislation enacted last December that makes the terminals, known as VLT's, legal in the St. Thomas-St. John district.
"I'm angered that the senators did not represent the people," Fox said Tuesday afternoon. "They knew what the people of St. Croix wanted, and they ignored the wishes of their constituents." He said video lottery operations will hurt St. Croix's economic growth. One developer planning to build a mammoth $500 million casino and resort on St. Croix has said the project would not go forward unless the VLT's disappeared.
"They knew this was going to cost us jobs on St. Croix, yet they totally ignored their constituents," Fox said.
On March 29, leaders of 32 community organizations gathered to discuss ways to improve St. Croix's battered economy. At the top of their list was passing the video lottery repeal bill sponsored by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg of St. Thomas and Sen. Raymond "Usie" Richards, minority leader and founder of the St. Croix caucus.
Nelson, also the leader of Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, said politicians should be held accountable for ignoring the will of the people, and a good place to start is with the recall of Jones, who has long been a supporter of VLT's.
"I want the V.I. public to know that we have a problem that cannot wait until election 2004," Nelson said. "Let's do something."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Nelson said he had not yet been out in the community to talk to many people about the Senate's action. But "those few I have heard so far seem disheartened, discouraged and saddened by the whole deal," he said.
However, he added that the move only encourages him to "put my shoulder to the grindstone and push harder."
The controversy over VLT's erupted soon after the 24th Legislature voted in its final session, on Dec. 23, to override Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's third veto in two years of VLT enabling legislation. Soon after, Donastorg requested a draft of the repeal bill.
In the months since, several senators refused to take a public position on the VLT issue. The vote Tuesday was split down the middle with seven senators against repeal and seven in favor — meaning that the bill to repeal was defeated. Sen. Roosevelt David, who was present for the session, was absent at roll call.
Voting for the repeal bill were Sens. Norman Jn Baptiste, Douglas Canton, Donastorg, Louis Hill, Luther Renee, Richards and Ronald Russell.
Voting against the repeal were Sens. Lorraine Berry, Carlton Dowe, Hansen, Jones, Liburd, Shawn-Michael Malone and Celestino A. White Sr.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

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
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
20 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Host Adisha Penn recaps the biggest headlines of the week while Source reporter Knema Willett joins USVI Division of Festivals Director Ian Turnbull in the studio for some behind-the-scenes info on the 2022 St. John Celebration. ... See MoreSee Less

Load more
April 15, 2003 - The 25th Legislature's decision Tuesday to allow the controversial video lottery terminals to remain legal on St. Thomas and St. John sparked angry responses from two leaders of community and business organizations on St. Croix.
Frank Fox, St. Croix Chamber of Commerce president, said "there was no ambiguity as to what the residents of St. Croix wanted." He said the numerous paid advertisements, protests and rallies by people in the community made clear the public's dissatisfaction about the machines being allowed.
"There are bleak skies today over the Virgin Islands," Terrence Nelson, V.I. Action Coalition member and head of Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, said.
Three lawmakers representing St. Croix -- Senate President David Jones, at-large Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd and Sen. Emmett Hansen II -- voted against a bill to repeal legislation enacted last December that makes the terminals, known as VLT's, legal in the St. Thomas-St. John district.
"I'm angered that the senators did not represent the people," Fox said Tuesday afternoon. "They knew what the people of St. Croix wanted, and they ignored the wishes of their constituents." He said video lottery operations will hurt St. Croix's economic growth. One developer planning to build a mammoth $500 million casino and resort on St. Croix has said the project would not go forward unless the VLT's disappeared.
"They knew this was going to cost us jobs on St. Croix, yet they totally ignored their constituents," Fox said.
On March 29, leaders of 32 community organizations gathered to discuss ways to improve St. Croix's battered economy. At the top of their list was passing the video lottery repeal bill sponsored by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg of St. Thomas and Sen. Raymond "Usie" Richards, minority leader and founder of the St. Croix caucus.
Nelson, also the leader of Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, said politicians should be held accountable for ignoring the will of the people, and a good place to start is with the recall of Jones, who has long been a supporter of VLT's.
"I want the V.I. public to know that we have a problem that cannot wait until election 2004," Nelson said. "Let's do something."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Nelson said he had not yet been out in the community to talk to many people about the Senate's action. But "those few I have heard so far seem disheartened, discouraged and saddened by the whole deal," he said.
However, he added that the move only encourages him to "put my shoulder to the grindstone and push harder."
The controversy over VLT's erupted soon after the 24th Legislature voted in its final session, on Dec. 23, to override Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's third veto in two years of VLT enabling legislation. Soon after, Donastorg requested a draft of the repeal bill.
In the months since, several senators refused to take a public position on the VLT issue. The vote Tuesday was split down the middle with seven senators against repeal and seven in favor -- meaning that the bill to repeal was defeated. Sen. Roosevelt David, who was present for the session, was absent at roll call.
Voting for the repeal bill were Sens. Norman Jn Baptiste, Douglas Canton, Donastorg, Louis Hill, Luther Renee, Richards and Ronald Russell.
Voting against the repeal were Sens. Lorraine Berry, Carlton Dowe, Hansen, Jones, Liburd, Shawn-Michael Malone and Celestino A. White Sr.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice ... click here.