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Only Three Members Show Up for Constitution Committee Meeting

July 22, 2008 — Lack of a quorum Monday meant members of a Constitutional Convention committee could discuss provisions but not vote on any of them.
Three members of the Fifth Constitutional Convention Committee on Citizenship, Virgin Islands' Rights, Environment and Cultural and Historical Preservation met Monday at the University of the Virgin Islands. Committee delegates Gerard Emanuel, Charles Turnbull and Lawrence Sewer attended Monday's meeting, which was delayed by the absence of committee chairman Kendall Petersen.
"We didn't really have a quorum, but we had some good discussion," Emanuel said after the meeting. "There is some apprehension because of the native-rights issue, and I guess rightly so. But everyone should know we are not going to discriminate against anyone."
Emphasizing he was speaking on a personal level and not on behalf of the Constitutional Convention, Emanuel said his goal was to promote and protect the interests of the many Virgin Islanders who have been to some extent left behind or are in need.
"It is not simply native rights because they are native," he said. "The bottom line is economic and social need. … The only reason to be concerned about native rights is because of the deplorable conditions so many live with. But that is true for many from other islands, too."
Emanuel suggested that a provision for native or ancestral Virgin Islanders was more of a question of social need than special rights. To that end, he personally could envision some set-aside of public land for homesteading — not for all natives, but for those in need.
"But we haven't debated that yet," he said.
Emanuel invited readers to watch "The People's Pulse" with Nathalie Nelson at 8 p.m. Thursday on WTJX Channel 12.
"Three or four of us will be on the show to give a basic update on what has happened since the last plenary session," he said.
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July 22, 2008 -- Lack of a quorum Monday meant members of a Constitutional Convention committee could discuss provisions but not vote on any of them.
Three members of the Fifth Constitutional Convention Committee on Citizenship, Virgin Islands' Rights, Environment and Cultural and Historical Preservation met Monday at the University of the Virgin Islands. Committee delegates Gerard Emanuel, Charles Turnbull and Lawrence Sewer attended Monday's meeting, which was delayed by the absence of committee chairman Kendall Petersen.
"We didn't really have a quorum, but we had some good discussion," Emanuel said after the meeting. "There is some apprehension because of the native-rights issue, and I guess rightly so. But everyone should know we are not going to discriminate against anyone."
Emphasizing he was speaking on a personal level and not on behalf of the Constitutional Convention, Emanuel said his goal was to promote and protect the interests of the many Virgin Islanders who have been to some extent left behind or are in need.
"It is not simply native rights because they are native," he said. "The bottom line is economic and social need. ... The only reason to be concerned about native rights is because of the deplorable conditions so many live with. But that is true for many from other islands, too."
Emanuel suggested that a provision for native or ancestral Virgin Islanders was more of a question of social need than special rights. To that end, he personally could envision some set-aside of public land for homesteading -- not for all natives, but for those in need.
"But we haven't debated that yet," he said.
Emanuel invited readers to watch "The People's Pulse" with Nathalie Nelson at 8 p.m. Thursday on WTJX Channel 12.
"Three or four of us will be on the show to give a basic update on what has happened since the last plenary session," he said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.