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T
 T
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May 15, 2008 6:07 pm  

Hello friends. I don't want to sound anti-Virgin Islands, because I love my island and I love "most" of you....hehe.but let's be blunt about a few things....

We seem to accept everything that is happening to us and our islands like it's normal. Too few of us are angry at what our own government is doing to us as far as WAPA and the government not paying their bill, is concerned. In the states, power is generally 8 or 9 cents per KWH, yet here we're paying something like .35 cents or more per KWH because the government won't pay it's bill. This huge bill is taking it's toll on everyone from the community including our bread and butter, (tourists).

Everything cost so much now that restaurants are failing, jobs are NOT going to be created because the costs are too hgih and the government is ineffective at luring more business to an already overburdened system of unhappy business owners. We, the people pay a horrible price. The tourists come here thinking they will get a great deal from our merchants, yet the merchants are struggling while charging at least the same if not MORE than what they can buy the same merchandise in the states. I love the islands, but we, as residents and neighbors, could have more choices, more options a,nd more money in our pockets if we could just get an effective government in place to pay their bills.

It's not just the governement's attitude toward paying their bills that is concerning, it's the lack of respect we get as islanders from them. They promise us the world yet deliver pain and agony to those who gave them a good life. My case in point Senator Adelbert Bryan. He is an outspoken racist who has an issue with anyone who isn't black on this island. (****Please Google his name and you'll see for yourself that racism against whites and others are alive and well on this island***************.)

He forgets that the same tactics that he is using against those people, who he was supposed to protect , are the same tactics that are used in racial divisiveness. One of these days, he might wake up and realize, that to make the Virgin Islands truly wonderful, it's going to take everyone regardless of skin color to move the system along in a positive fashion. It's sad to see people who need great representation and great customer service beg the government, that they fund out of their pocket, for customer service and an opportunity to have something wonderful in the US Virgin Islands.

I've been here on and off for the past 20 years, and am happy to report most people are not filled with racism but nearly EVERYONE here is filled with remorse over lost jobs, lost opportunities, and a huge tap against our once vibrant economy. If anyone has an organization on STT that needs a volunteer to go out for signatures, or help political rallies that are designed to inform our neighbors of the needed changes to the current system, I'm willing to donate as much time as I can to the cause.

I'm sure to get flamed a bit from a few people, but, when is "too much" ever going to be enough to do something about it? I'm trying to make certain that we get help or find other means to get/keep our island competitive in order to take care of the next generation of islanders who should be proud of the government and the people of the US Virgin Islands. I love the people, but i'm completely embarrassed to know that there are 3rd world countries with better systems in place to serve their constituents. Think about these words next time you're in-line to pay for an over priced bill and you're givng your hard earned money and the little lady taking your money rolls her eyes at you while sucking her teeth. Regrets happen month after month....I'm ready to make a change when you are....

Argh,

T.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ------Abraham Lincoln


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GoodToGo
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May 15, 2008 6:57 pm  

Interesting.

I just moved to STX about a month ago. Never heard of Adelbert Bryan but looked him up: http://www.saintmarys.edu/~jmcelroy/Race%20Ethnicity.htm

I didn't find specific racist statements but it's interesting that the university report tagged him as a 'nativist.' Are you sure he's racist as opposed to 'nativist'? The litmus test would probably be how he would feel about a black Continental I suppose but I ask because the word racist is sometimes over used I think.


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T
 T
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May 15, 2008 7:55 pm  

I do feel as though racist would be the best term becasue of the things that he's said about wanting to make Whites move from the islands and about having Eastern Indians and the circumstances they , (the Eastern Idians), bring that he must deal with.

If he's such a native to this land, I think we would be of Indian blood instead of being black.

To me and everyone I've spoken to that have known him for years, they dub him a racist.

I use a simple method to describe the cure....

Kindness kills racism, and in turn, racism kills kindness. It's an easy rule to live by for most of us islanders, but I'm not one to tolerate being treated like anything less than an islander who values his island and everyone regardless of skin color. I dismiss Senator Bryan, he exudes stupidity and ignorance at a level that sicken most people of moral character.

Other than him, I love most of the rest of my fellow islanders....hehe..

Argh,

T.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ------Abraham Lincoln


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DL
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May 15, 2008 8:17 pm  

He has had issues with the Black down islander population (which is probably the largest demographic group in the VI if you count their VI-born descendants) too, so I would not consider him to be a racist. I would call him a native extremist - he has problems with anyone who isn't a native Virgin Islander by virtue of having been descended from the slaves during the Danish era.

I remember one time he issued a proclamation of some sort as a senator congratulating Tim Duncan. Someone had the foresight to write a letter in the newspaper asking why is he celebrating Duncan when he is of Anguillian descent and Bryan has had problems with down islanders in the past? One time the Legislature wanted to build cricket fields which are an excellent way for the USVI to interact with our down-island neighbors who we culturally have the most in common with. Bryan and some other senators voted it down, instead preferring to build facilities for baseball and basketball which aren't as popular in the down-island countries.

Does anyone remember the 150th Emancipation Day celebrations in 1998? I think Senator Lorraine Berry was supposed to speak before Bryan but Bryan did not want to have that happen because how dare a slave master descendant speak before a slave descendant. I don't rememeber it that well, but I think it ended with Bryan demanding to speak with a bunch of pushing and shoving until it prematurely ended with the governor speeding away in his limo. I think one of the Danish dignitaries in attendance shook his head and said "elected by the people...", referring to Bryan.


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GoodToGo
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May 15, 2008 8:31 pm  

Interesting - so he may not be a 'racist' per se but he's ignorant and prejudiced against people due to their origins? An odd and hopefully unique fellow it seems.


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livefreeordie
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May 15, 2008 9:41 pm  

Adelbert Bryan is unfortunately not so unique around here. He and many others want to define a special class of citizens, "Native Virgin Islanders" to be those people living here before 1927 and their descendants. He wants to do this in order to bestow special rights on them akin to the rights afforded to "Native Americans". Unfortunately the Taino Indians were the the true Native Virgin Islanders.

I think that if they are allowed to do this then they should be denied equal rights when they or their descendants move up to the mainland. I think that the constitutional convention is doomed to fail because of this and other issues which are contrary to the US constitution.

On another topic. The government of the Virgin Islands is not here to provide services to the citizens of the Virgin Islands as in most places. The purpose of government is to provide jobs for primarily Native Virgin Islanders. It is part of an extended welfare program. The money that the government spends goes first to pay salaries to government employees then if there is any left over they use it to buy supplies and equipment necessary to provide the department's services.

You should be aware that we have about 13,000 government employees. That's twice as many as the state of Wyoming which has five times our population and hundreds of times our land area. Half of the employees in Wyoming work for the Department of Transportation and maintain the 1000's of miles of roads.

In Wyoming they have a part time legislature which gets paid per diem when they meet. They all have real jobs and drive their own cars. Contrast that to the $85,000 per year that our legislators get. You don't always get what you pay for.


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T
 T
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May 15, 2008 10:03 pm  

I couldn't agree with you more!

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ------Abraham Lincoln


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VanFaasenC
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May 15, 2008 10:12 pm  

I know I am fanning the flames but...

Run for Office?? The only way to create change is to be part of it.

I am a mainlander (If that is what you want to call me) that is hoping to come down and be excepted. I am part of any community I chose to live in.
We have it pretty bad here too, in Michigan between Granholm and Kawme.

Info on Kawme: (In case anyone cares)
He is also the only mayor in the history of Detroit and the only current mayor of any major U.S. city to be charged with a felony while in office.
The mayoral terms of Kilpatrick have been plagued with controversies which have included allegations of marital infidelity, conspiracy, and perjury. On March 24, 2008, Kilpatrick was charged with 8 felony counts, including perjury, misconduct in office, and obstruction of justice. If found guilty of felony perjury, Kilpatrick could be disbarred and jailed for up to 15 years per count; he could face additional sentences for obstruction of justice and conspiracy. He would also lose his mayoralty, if convicted. The controversies have prompted a call for his resignation, an ethics probe, and a recall election campaign to have Kilpatrick removed from office.

On May 13, 2008, the Detroit City Council voted 5-4 to begin the impeachment process and approved another resolution to request that Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to eject the mayor in the case the impeachment fails. This comes after Granholm refused to interfere in the matter after the Detroit State of the City address


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East Ender
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May 15, 2008 10:30 pm  

There is a lot of information on Mr Bryan: Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/hurricane/archives/hugo89a.htm, and here: http://www.montserratreporter.org/news11-5.htm -scroll down to "Regional News." Can't find the incident with the Daily News photographer's camera or the incident with the governor's security guards.


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Jules
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May 15, 2008 11:13 pm  

There are no more native Virgin Islanders (Taino indians). We're all transplants.

I'm disgusted beyond words.


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Exit Zero
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May 16, 2008 12:04 am  

Adelbert Bryan is not currently a Senator see www.legvi.org -- at one time he was a top vote getter on St Croix -- last election he was not in the top 7 elected -- so voters gave him an opportunity and put him in a senate seat and then did not re-elect him - this is how government works, right?
Complaining about -- 'the government' -- as an entity is not likely to be constructive -- we have elected officials - contact them on a one on one basis - from the Governor on down - about what you deem a problem and help them work towards a solution. Vote for people who will work with and for your goals next time. Register to vote if you haven't done so.

This is not meant as a flame to the original poster:
case in point -- He is not a senator making laws but a private citizen
3rd world countries with better systems -- better than Democracy??
we get help or find other means -- ?? federal help? foreign help ? Local help? other means - revolution??

Don't hang your hat so high your hand can't reach.


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Talonz82
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May 16, 2008 12:07 am  

I've wanted to make statements like this since i moved here last year....people come here for the comfort of being part of the US, its far, far from being US....we pay federal taxes without representation.....the US should never had turned it over to west indian rule...make no mistake people, this island belongs to them! I am so amazed when a person talks about the basic ineptitude of a social servant and that person is told to get use to it and others joke and make statements like...I can't wait to live it....well, there are eleven days this month with no ships, people are losing interest, traffic is up to the med and the euro is stronger than the dollar. The world is changing all around us and people, your little paradise is going to change too.

Peace and good night!

Peter


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Exit Zero
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May 16, 2008 12:31 am  

Peter - Interesting perspective on a possesion of the USA with territorial status -- luckily the airport is still operating, I read you were moving to Florida.
Locally the government is still one person-one vote ! It belongs to the people who live here.


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T
 T
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May 16, 2008 12:35 am  

No offense taken for anyone flaming me. Opinions are what makes us look at other points of view, so I value them and i try to look objectively at the point they try to make.

As far as Senator Bryan is concerned, I'm very aware that he is a former Senator, however, it is customary to give elected officials the title for a lifetime, and so, I respect his title, yet harbor disgust for the man.

His actions don't impact me directly. In fact, our elected officials and the current government offices effect me very little since I own my property, have a successful business, and depend largely on solar instead of the WAPA machine to feed my buildings. HOWEVER, indirectly, the political machine affects ALL of us when business leave our island, or gives such a feeling of dispair that new businesses won't come becasue of the outrageous fees that we must pay because of government corruption (previous) going wild and paying the system for themselves instead of the people they are paid to represent. His actions DO make all of us look uneducated and morally impaired to those outside of the community.

Since when is it so wrong to try to get your community behind you to improve conditions for all islanders? I want more choices for myself, my island neighbors, my tourists, and even you nay sayers who are shocked by the audacity of my words. I want jobs, i want unity amongst the islanders. Most of all, I want peace and happiness, but it's not able to be had when people must choose the electric bill or their rents. Remember, things have changed DRAMATICALLY in the past year. Our electric rates have skyrocketed, but it's still business as usual for customer service, lack of solid infrastructure, and losses associated with new businesses and jobs. When is it going to be too much for you?

One of the responses earlier mentioned "Revolution" as a means of change, but just know that our "democracy" was founded on just that principle. I remember hearing something about tea and some harbor in Boston......

For those of you who could care less about these changes an what it means to us as islanders, say goodbye to our little IHOP, our little mom and pop shops, our mall, and eventually you'll wder why we didn't take a stand for what is right earlier in the game. But then again, we can always do that whole " we had it so good when we had ____insert name of bankrupt business here______. "

I have big love for those of you who feel the pain of losing anything that serves the island community.

Argh,

T.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ------Abraham Lincoln


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dntw8up
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May 16, 2008 12:48 am  

I heard that the native rights proponents want to eliminate property taxes for those who meet the definition of "native." Perhaps next the natives will want to forgo WAPA payments and expect to distribute the cost of their electricity usage among the non-natives.

The Supreme Court has ruled that separate but equal is an oxymoron so one can only conclude that the VI Constitutional Convention participants who imagine Washington will permit a separatist VI constitution to stand are too ignorant for the job to which they've been elected.

I choose to live in the Caribbean in planning for my infinite future, to try to grow accustomed to the heat...


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Exit Zero
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May 16, 2008 1:18 am  

my house WAPA bill last May 2007 was $83 for an average daily consumption of 9.41 kwh
May 2008 was$98 for an average daily consumption of 9.33 kwh
No A/C or pool -3 BDRM single family. Pretty much reflects the cost increases in oil worldwide.
Now I am probably paying double in gasoline costs in a year for my car and that is a noticeable difference.


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East Ender
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May 16, 2008 1:41 am  

Exit Zero: Until we have accountability in the form of either numbered seats or districting, visiting with an elected official has little meaning.


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rotorhead
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May 16, 2008 3:52 am  

Before someone gets the idea that we pay federal taxes but do not get to vote for president, this is not true. In the VI as in Puerto Rico we pay taxes at the federal rate and even use IRS forms, but all of the money stays in the Virgin Islands. We have no separate "state" tax because all of the "federal" tax dollars stay here.

In addition, we participate in most federal programs, from HUD to Federal education funds. All without us paying into those programs. They are paid for by taxpayers up in the states. So in addition to keeping all of our "income taxes" we get money from the tax payers in the states.

If you remember the cry during the American revolution "No taxation without representation" then remember the corollary, "No representation without taxation". Just think about what it would be like here if we had to pay federal taxes so that we could vote and also have to pay taxes to the VI government because they are bloated and have come to expect taxes at the federal rate.

The "Federal income taxes" paid in all of the territories, USVI, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc stay in the territories they do not go to the IRS.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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Neil
 Neil
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May 16, 2008 4:08 am  

'T' ...I'm wondering why the heck you STAY if you hate it so much?

I've read letters to the editor in every town I've lived in that sound as angry as yours, just different issues.
My point: problems exist everywhere. I would like to see you devote as much space to offering solutions as you did complaints. It would give your complaints more credibility. From what I've read, heard and experienced, good things are afoot and even small progress is being made.

Regarding Wapa.... Yes, you're paying too much for energy, but you're also paying too little in property, sales, and income taxes -comparatively speaking. I've been choking on mine up here (a situation we are shortly about to remedy).

Regarding "Native" Virgin Islanders... what is the intent of such a classification? What do 'they' hope to gain other than recognition? Is it a quota system? In Hawaii, they created "native" distinctions to help preserve culture and know where to direct affirmative action-like funding. Wasn't a bad thing.


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Talonz82
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May 16, 2008 11:05 am  

Correction on taxation, Puerto Rico does not pay federal taxes, I lived all 2007 in PR my spouse is Puerto Rican working for AT & T in PR she pays medicare, disability tax and PR state tax, but no federal taxes . The medicare tax money goes to US social security, the disability tax stays in PR as well as the PR state tax.....check it out at.... www.dtrh.gobierno.pr/ Why because PR is a common wealth.

Peace Peter


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GoodToGo
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May 16, 2008 2:18 pm  

I'm sure as several have said that there is bloat and structural inefficiency in the USVI government but it isn't like a single one of us is going to say there isn't bloat and structural inefficiency in the Federal or in many cases U.S. state governments. It's just typically of a different type.

My pet peeve with the U.S. Congress this week is that they are continuing to piss away millions of tax payer dollars on hearings into professional sports! It started with baseball (why should the government care if the millionaires who work for the billionaires stick needles in their butts so they can round bases faster) and now Arlen Specter wants to move on to the NFL. I guess they figure they've fixed the much easier issues of the faltering housing market, energy crisis, terrorism, etc. and now it's on the real critical issues that impact our daily lives like professional sports. If they really wanted to do something to help us they could look into corruption that seems to be endemic at the highest levels of American corporations that does impact worker's futures and financial stability (I don't mean the stellar cases of execs lining their pockets to the tune of 10s of millions as a few have been shown to have done but the stuff that happens a level lower involving internal politics, vendor kickbacks, favoritism, etc..)


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T
 T
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May 16, 2008 2:21 pm  

The reason why i stay is because there are people here on the island that I love. There are friends here that need my help. There are others who i don't know that want the US Virgin Islands to live up to it's potential. Is it such a crime to want to help the islands out? i don't think so. But when it comes to people moving here, i want them to know it's a struggle.

I've owned 12 businesses in my life and luckily all of them made it successfully. I understand the suffering it takes to properly manage a business that has employees depending on it for their living. So I always lived up to the responsiblity of managing difficult situations that impacted the employees and their families who trusted me to take care of their livlihood while under my care. I hold the elected officials to the same degree of responsiblity.

I'm one of the lucky few on this island that doesn't need to profit from anyone because I've stuggled hard enough to live comfortably, however, a person would be blind to not see how the sufferage of the islands residents could be negated by proper government intiatives. Instead we face racism from former Senators about exclusion of a huge percentage of our population. We face a daunting power bill that should be paid or allow WAPA to be managed by an external company who would bring in the investment to assist and profit in the longterm. The last company that I heard about wanted a "pocket generator", (nuclear, and about the size of 3 buses), to feed all of the current needs of all of the Virgin Islands at a total cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour. Yet somehow the PSC decides it's doing a better job of running it and managing those people within it's ranks.

Again, I want better service, I want more efficiency, I want kindness, and I want the help of every islander I can get to battle alongside me. Again, I'm willing to donate my time to helping anyone who is willing to organize to assist the people of the Virgin Islands and the tourists who feed our economy.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ------Abraham Lincoln


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dntw8up
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May 16, 2008 7:52 pm  

"Regarding "Native" Virgin Islanders... what is the intent of such a classification? What do 'they' hope to gain other than recognition? Is it a quota system? "

The ultimate intent is to give "natives" special treatment i.e. only natives could vote on the VI constitution, natives would not have to pay property taxes, etc.

I choose to live in the Caribbean in planning for my infinite future, to try to grow accustomed to the heat...


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goalusvi
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May 16, 2008 8:51 pm  

"Regarding "Native" Virgin Islanders... what is the intent of such a classification? What do 'they' hope to gain other than recognition? Is it a quota system? "

The ultimate intent is to give "natives" special treatment i.e. only natives could vote on the VI constitution, natives would not have to pay property taxes, etc.

That's what I really want to know! Are there any other territories / states in the US that have done something similar? I would be interested to know how that turned out (good or bad) in other places.


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Ms Information
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May 17, 2008 12:30 am  

It is sad that rampant racism still persists here. Adelbert Bryan, while no longer a senator has managed to get himself elected to the Constitutional Convention committee. He now spews his hate and filth from a different venue. He gets his power from those who support him. His hate filled scream fest against ethnic Indians last week was just one of many.

If the other members of the committee don't stand up to his tirades they will create a document that once again will be VOTED DOWN BY THE PEOPLE. How stupid to invent a special class of people here. Everyone who came after the Taino are new settlers and should all be considered equal.

Please listen Constitutional Convention Delegates....Please listen and write a constitution that recognizes all of us equally.


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