On the island of St. Croix there is a very interesting group dynamic taking place. Seemingly disparate groups are coming together to form an unusual bond that has a common goal with considerably different reasons to reach that goal.
First of all are the voters who are really mad about the pay raises that the senators put themselves in line for. These people probably account for 6 to 8% of the registered voters and are the initiators of the petitions. The majority seemed to be silent or not caring in this matter.
Secondly are those voters who are really mad at the senators who have trampled first amendment rights with a formal complaint to the FCC on official V.I. Government stationary. These people account for an additional 8 to 10% of registered voters, including many who did not particularly care about the reasons of the first group.
The third group comprises itself of professionals who are discovering that added years of work will be required in order to retire from very stressful occupations. These would account for another 1 to 2% of registered voters, most of whom do not particularly care for the reasons behind the first and second groups.
A fourth group could be made of GERS retirees who are tired about the worry and cost of their future if means are not made to make their own retirement funds actuarially liable, just like the senators did for their own retirement funds. Lets tack on another 4 to 5% of registered voters, most of whom do not care for the reasons of the above listed groups.
A fifth group is forming that includes any registered voters that have been mad at the senators over the years for various reasons that include; back pay, high WAPA rate, property taxes, added import and excise taxes, high fuel costs, deplorable schools, government overspending, illegal contracts, loans to private companies, pot holes and more. These people represent an additional 10 to 15% of registered voters. Once again, their reasons do not necessarily follow those of groups 1 through 5.
These groups represent a confluence of opinions that may well conflagrate and someone will get burned.
Heaven forbid that the remaining numbers of registered voters, at least on St. Croix, begin to figure out that these petitions that have been circulating for the last few weeks just might be the closest thing to what most people would think a Constitutional Convention (CC) would do.
The history of CC's in the Virgin Islands is one of no resolution, let alone any fundamental change in government.
The history of CC's in the states, particularly in the 1800's where they were held with some regularity, is one that was a way to reign in runaway governments that had gone far beyond the will of the people by over-regulating, over-spending and over-taxing the masses for the benefit of a few.
Certainly our own recent governments seem to have a similar reputation. Add the fact that at one time, a popular referendum regarding the number of senators was totally ignored, even though the majority of voters approved.
Another group dynamic, to be considered, is the Legislature itself. The new senate president was once rebuked by some fellow senators who are now, in turn, being called into question for their own dirty deeds.
I. For one, would not expect any compassion or assistance from any of the so far silent senate majority.
The Governor and Lt. Governor are wise to let the registered voters play out their hand and force the Legislature into action.
Therefore, the question remains.
Is it time for YOU to sign the petitions?
What part will you play in this historical moment??
The petitions must be handed in to the Board of Elections by February 27. The end is near.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.