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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeCommentaryOpen forumOpen forum: A USVI Constitution: Turning Possibility into Reality

Open forum: A USVI Constitution: Turning Possibility into Reality

Verdel L. Petersen

Happy Virgin Islands History Month!

This year, June 22, will mark the 70th anniversary of the enactment of the Revised Organic Act of 1954 (ROA). It’s the de facto constitution for the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Moreover, roughly half a century has elapsed since the U.S. Congress formally authorized the USVI to create a territorial constitution. On Nov. 5, the electorate will have an opportunity to elect delegates to the 6th Constitutional Convention.

Persons born or residing in any of the five unincorporated U.S. territories are defined as Americans. Therefore, on July 4, 2026, Virgin Islanders will get a chance to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This event promises to be a historic milestone in U.S. history.

Virgin Islanders have some critical decisions to make in the upcoming general election. They should be prepared to participate in the election of delegates to the 6th Constitutional Convention. Those who are still not registered to vote should do so immediately. If interested in serving as a constitutional delegate, the first day to pick up Nominations Petitions/Paper from the Election System Offices is April 8, and the first day to circulate Nominations/Papers is April 14. Convention delegates must be U.S. citizens and qualified voters.

It took the founding fathers of America approximately four months to draft a constitution. Their work began on May 25, 1787, and ended on September 17, 1787. Delegates to the first U.S. Constitutional Convention used the Articles of Confederation as a template and replaced it with the U.S. Constitution.

Could the 6th Constitutional Convention produce a proposed constitution that would get the approval of both the Congress and the USVI electorate? Isn’t it possible for a convention to achieve these two goals, especially since a template in the form of the ROA and three previous constitutional drafts already exist? Wouldn’t you like to be part of V.I. history, acquire more rights and pursue additional civil liberties for the future generations of the USVI? Let’s perform our civic duties and make the possibility become a reality!

Sincerely, Verdel L. Petersen

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