There is revolution in the air! No, I don’t mean the kind the French had, where you lose your head. I mean the kind where you use your head. In the last few hundred years the world has seen many successful revolutions, some bloody and some peaceful. When it is time to change the existing system, people act. It is time for us to act. When the colonies felt they were not given a proper voice in governing themselves, they threw off the King of England and proceeded to form a system where the people had a greater voice. Here, closer to home, people like Mosses Budhoe Gotlieb and others demanded freedom for the people and got it. When freedom was granted and in the following years a fair voice for the working man was not herd, “Queen Mary” and others demanded and got fairer wages for their work.
Dear reader I’m not suggesting anything ‘bloody’, but I have a plan for more voice in the affairs of our government. In the last century the U.S. Congress created a constitution for us, the Organic Act. Then, like the thirteen colonies of the seventeen hundreds they revolted. In their case the King had almost complete say and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the people from having a voice in the system. We got that voice after some trying times. Most of what is in the Organic Act is OK. It deals with simple matters that any organized place needs. However there is one provision that does not serve us. That provision is that it takes 50 percent plus one of the registered voters to have an initiative become law. This was written to make it impossible for the people to get their views made into law. We never have that many people voting in any election and the framers of the Organic Act knew it. They did not want the people to create laws. In many states and counties and communities the people can vote on issues and have them become binding.
Propose that our good Delegate to Congress place before Congress a simple amendment to the Organic Act, stating that a simple majority of the voters in any election determine what is binding. We have voted over the last few years on matters such as ‘subdistricting’and voted for it, but the legislature effectively vetoed it. We voted last election not to extend the terms of Senators to six years and said no. Tomorrow they could just ignore the peoples vote and give themselves the six year term and there is nothing you could do about it. They are the only ones who make the laws. I think we need a change.
I believe our Delegate, who does not server at the pleasure of anyone, except the voters, is willing to make this change. We need to encourage her. I have heard a couple of people say the Public is too stupid to have this power. I don’t believe it. We elect our Governor and the Senate with a simple majority of those voting, and they have far more power than any initiative would have, so why would we fear the PEOPLE voting on simple binding referendums! I believe this change should not include recall. Every two years we can recall any senator now and any effort to recall would waste valuable time needed to fix some of our truly pressing problems. This new system would give us a true open debate on issues put on a public ballot.
Let me say again, “Revolution is in the air.” Let’s get on with it.
Bob White, St. Croix
Revolution Is in the Air
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.
Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.