This week, the legislature gave the Constitutional Convention new life. Now, the delegates have until May 31 to get a job done which could have been completed months ago.
Already the convention President is calling for more funds (over a $million). Continuing is the lack of quorums and fighting over minute details. Delegates are finally admitting openly that the reasons they ran for the elected delegate was to further the fight for ancestral rights and reparations and won't give up until they get the language they want. One delegate openly said that he would prefer that the constitution to not be completed if his agenda was not met. So now we know why this constitutional effort has proven to be such an uphill battle. From the beginning, it was seen, by some delegates, as a way to push through an agenda which most Virgin Islanders do not embrace as opposed to creating a document which could raise the status of the Virgin Islands. This document was intended to breathe new life into a faltering government. What we got was bad behavior and ideological infighting.
That the same kind of behavior will continue unless the leadership of this convention does something about it. To openly say that divisiveness is what some delegates are seeking is reason enough to rid the convention of the troublemakers. To date, that hasn't been the case as there is no provision to allow expulsion except for unacceptable behavior. To many, it seems that the behavior of some delegates has been unacceptable but it would take leadership to actually enforce the provision and allow this convention to show some progress.
The delegates have another eight months to get this document written. This latest extension has doubled the time originally allotted. Will the same behavior continue? Will delegates now show up for meetings? Will the infighting continue? Perhaps the legislature will allow extensions for years to come!
Speaking of the legislature, what happens if the several delegates who are now running for elected office actually get elected? What then? Can a Senator or other elected official be a delegate? Too many questions hover over this constitutional attempt and answers are very hard to come by.
The people are now looking a lot closer at this group of delegates. People want language which would protect them from a lack of energy policy or having their property taken away because the taxation is a burden. People want the constitution to reflect the world as it is today with language that can help bring a brighter future. They want the government changed and they want better educational opportunities. What they do not want is to continue to live in the past or to use this constitutional effort to gain retribution. We need to move forward. If the leadership of this Constitutional Convention does not step up, I see little hope even with the long extension the legislature provided.
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