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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 4, 2022
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Political Games

Dear Source:
I haven't been following the Fifth Virgin Islands Constitutional Convention too closely, and I’m not a constitutional law scholar; however, the amendments exempting native and ancestral Virgin Islanders from real property tax on their primary residence and that the governor and lieutenant governor be native-born or ancestral Virgin Islanders sound like they violate the Privileges and Immunities Clauses found in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment. Not that that really makes a difference I guess, for the Supreme Court has rarely used the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV to invalidate discriminatory laws.
The due process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment are more commonly used to determine the validity of a jurisdiction’s laws that unjustly discriminate between residents and nonresidents of a certain jurisdiction. Basically, the convention was wasted money, bickering over the "native" issue. The only natives of the VI are the Arawak, Carib or Taino Indian Tribes. Everyone else was brought to the islands from another island or continent. All of us are immigrants, unless your great ancestors were from these tribes. These folks need to stop playing political games and do the right thing. Just my opinion…
Kevin A. Richards, Esq.
Arlington, Virginia

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 visource@gmail.com.

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Dear Source:
I haven't been following the Fifth Virgin Islands Constitutional Convention too closely, and I’m not a constitutional law scholar; however, the amendments exempting native and ancestral Virgin Islanders from real property tax on their primary residence and that the governor and lieutenant governor be native-born or ancestral Virgin Islanders sound like they violate the Privileges and Immunities Clauses found in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment. Not that that really makes a difference I guess, for the Supreme Court has rarely used the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV to invalidate discriminatory laws.
The due process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment are more commonly used to determine the validity of a jurisdiction’s laws that unjustly discriminate between residents and nonresidents of a certain jurisdiction. Basically, the convention was wasted money, bickering over the "native" issue. The only natives of the VI are the Arawak, Carib or Taino Indian Tribes. Everyone else was brought to the islands from another island or continent. All of us are immigrants, unless your great ancestors were from these tribes. These folks need to stop playing political games and do the right thing. Just my opinion…
Kevin A. Richards, Esq.
Arlington, Virginia

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 visource@gmail.com.