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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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An Incorrect Assumption

Dear Source:
The first sentence of this article immediately caught my attention. Once again the assumption is stated as if it were true; but it is not true. The territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands has never become part of the United States. It is an unincorporated territory. When something is incorporated, it becomes a part of the whole. When it is unincorporated, it is not a part of the whole. The U.S. Virgin Islands is treated differently from the states because it is different from the states. It is not a part of the United States, it is property owned by the USA, purchased in 1917.
We are a non-self-governing territory administered by the United States. In US constitutional terms, we are part of the "territory or other property belonging to the United States". The United States itself confirmed our status by putting us on the UN list of non-self-governing territories. Non-self-governing territories have a right to self-determination and the administering power (in our case the USA) has responsibilities towards them.
Instead of attempting to incorporate the territory into the USA willy-nilly by asking to be treated the same as the 50 states without critically examining the possibilities and options that could be available, we need to ensure that the USA fulfills its obligations towards the territory and that the people of the territory have a real understanding of the possibilities, their implications and likely consequences.
Judith L. Bourne
St. Thomas

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 source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
The first sentence of this article immediately caught my attention. Once again the assumption is stated as if it were true; but it is not true. The territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands has never become part of the United States. It is an unincorporated territory. When something is incorporated, it becomes a part of the whole. When it is unincorporated, it is not a part of the whole. The U.S. Virgin Islands is treated differently from the states because it is different from the states. It is not a part of the United States, it is property owned by the USA, purchased in 1917.
We are a non-self-governing territory administered by the United States. In US constitutional terms, we are part of the "territory or other property belonging to the United States". The United States itself confirmed our status by putting us on the UN list of non-self-governing territories. Non-self-governing territories have a right to self-determination and the administering power (in our case the USA) has responsibilities towards them.
Instead of attempting to incorporate the territory into the USA willy-nilly by asking to be treated the same as the 50 states without critically examining the possibilities and options that could be available, we need to ensure that the USA fulfills its obligations towards the territory and that the people of the territory have a real understanding of the possibilities, their implications and likely consequences.
Judith L. Bourne
St. Thomas

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 source@viaccess.net.