VI Constitution & Education
I am all for us having our own Constitution as per all states & territories of the United States. My problem is the provisions for special rights & segregation IE defining a Virgin Islander. Now I read an article in the Source how the new constitution will be telling me exactly what is to be taught in schools.
Now before I get beat up on this subject, let me state that I agree that African History should be taught in schools, especially here in the VI. However the Constitution should not mandate this specifically & I researched several states & their constitutions. They all provide FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS...........but none of them include what should or should not be taught. This subject should be for the board of education NOT our Constitution.
I also looked up the US Constitution & the good people of the VI constitution committee should actually read it & here's a couple places to start..............OK, let my beatings begin!!!
US Constitution Article 4 - section 3
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I'm sure that if I cared more (i.e. had kids) I might be more inclined to get involved....but I got out of high school in '86 and I'm never having any kids, so it doesn't concern me a whole lot....other than the fact that our children here that are 'learning' may not be getting the best of educations....
I agree. I am very concerned that the committee is writing a document that contains too much special interest and prejudicial language. IT WILL NOT BE APPROVED BY THE VOTERS, unless they come to their senses.
There should be NO definition of "who is a Virgin Islander?, or who is a native? The language should be as simple and straightforward as the US constitution.
The Constitution has no reason in the world to try to "Micromanage" the VI schools. Get serious , that is the job of the educational community guided by the government and the people. Big emphasis on PEOPLE.
Once again stupidity, ignorance and prejudice triumph. Maybe some day we will have people of "goodwill" get together and write a constitution for all of the people. Then it will get passed.
I am unable to have children, but it doesn't stop me from wanting the future moms, dads, teachers, political leaders etc to be smarter than a friggin coconut!!!! Good gosh, they will be the ones taking care of us in the future!!!!!!
Maybe they better look real close to the American Samoa Consitution & see no special privy for them!!!
I and dwelling on the past will not help either.
The native Virgin Islander thing will be a deal breaker for everyone except a few thousand people and will doom any chances of success for #5. Using the Guam example makes way to much sense.
If a simple bare bones document could be created and approved then all the crazy special interest people could hold more conventions to amend it instead of the current draft which seems to want to re invent all the branches of government to the usual dysfunctional method.
Education is my most important issue .Education is the only way to stop the carnival and the great society downward spiral that Lyndon Johnson created.
Every time I see this discussion about "Native Virgin Islanders" it makes me want to laugh. The "Native Virgin Islanders" were the Taino and Carib tribes. None are left in the Virgin Islands. So how can the descendants of African Slaves be "Native Virgin Islanders"? You can call yourself anything you want but that don't make it so. It is like the prisoners of Botany Bay deciding that since the British sent them there against there will that they are now "Native Australians". Everyone knows that the "Native Australians" are the Aboriginal peoples. The people living in the Virgin Islands are no more "Native" than I am even though I have only lived here 10 years.
Someone on another thread likened the US possession of the Virgin Islands to the British control of India before 1947. This is ridiculous. The US did not take the Virgin Islands by force, they bought it from the legal owners, just like they bought Alaska. The descendants of the slaves living here were not the native people who historically lived here, they came after the European colonists. The European colonists were here before the current "Native Virgin Islanders". The only reason that we are even having this discussion is that for a short period of time the descendants of African slaves outnumbered the European colonists who brought them here. But demographics change with time. There was a time when the European colonists outnumbered the African slaves. Were they then "Native Virgin Islanders".
This comes up because some descendants of African slaves feel that they have not been treated fairly so they now deserve preferential treatment to make up for past injustices. Unfortunately this will probably never occur. Slavery was recognized by the Europeans as a bad thing and abolished, it still goes on in Africa and the Middle East. You can't change the past or right past wrongs by perpetuating discrimination in the present. Move On. Fight any discrimination in the present and you will have many who will stand up to help you but try to put laws into place which legalize discrimination and you will find many who stand up to fight you. If you look at US history you will see that slavery wasn't abolished because of a slave uprising but because the European American population came to the conclusion that it was wrong and many stood up to fight the bloodiest war in American history to abolish it.
Demographics change, look at St John, the West Indian people are now the minority. With the influx of baby boomers from the mainland the demographics are changing on the other islands as well. They have already changed enough that a constitution like the one being proposed is doomed to failure.
The whole thing boils down to economic jealousy. If someone is successful then they must have cheated someone else out of something. If someone moves down from the mainland and lands a job at Hovensa or any other employer then they have taken that job from a local person. It doesn't matter that the local person was not qualified for the job, he deserved it because he lived here first.
This reminds me of my move from California to Washington. The Native Washingtonians did not like people from California moving there; they drove up the real estate prices and took all of the good jobs. People are free to move around within the United States and the Virgin Islands is no different than Washington; the VI was bought and paid for by the citizens of the US and they are allowed to live here if they wish.
I see the logic with all of the arguments made, and can't find fault when I look at the picture that is painted. However, I keep getting a feeling that there are pieces of the puzzle that are missing. So, just for contrast, what if:
- America decided to sell VI to China
- China sets up a Chinese gov
- Chinese start moving in and buying up property
- the Chinese implants start imposing their desires based on their culture (chinese language mandated, chinese schools, only one child, mandatory military service(?), travel restrictions, etc)
If you started to complain, couldn't you see the local Chinese saying the same things about your complaints (you've had equal access to schools and gov; they're obeying the laws, etc). You would be the majority (for a while), but the overlying culture is not yours.
Might you grasp at anything you could to try to make a change? Would you adapt, or might the task be so daunting that extreme frustration would be the norm...
So, I guess my question is: How do the "locals" get representation in a fair way?
Is this a fair analogy?
I would compare it to the same way other cultures encoroporate themselves into the US. You keep your culture. We don't try to change laws giving each ethnic group special rights. If this island spentt half as much money each year on finding ways to enrich the local culture instead of this consituation nonsense every year after year, I think it would be a much greater improvement.
And I very strongly agree with rotorhead, the people here now simply are not "native" virgin islands. Like the transplants they all come from somewhere else. People on these islands are friendly but not really welcoming. MANY don't want us (transplants) here no matter our skin color. To them we just don't belong. Its a completely stupid way of thinking because they need the money and jobs people bring in. But you will never really belong here until you've been here a couple of generations by local way of thinking.
They are never going to get this passed as long as it rememblse any of the nonsense it does know. So you don't have to worry about education. Same thing happens every year.
Locals get representation ............. it starts by taking responsibility......................look at some stats in todays Source & tell me why the government should continue to provide more provisions when pumping out babies & dropping out of school is the norm & excuse me it's not a "culture" thing............it's booo hooooooo I don't want a better life if I'm responsible, I should just sit on my duff & cry for more ...........look where its got us.......
University of the Virgin Islands. Based on the most recent statistics available from the 2005 V.I. Community Survey, the measurements reveal that:
-- while median family income increased in 2005, more than one in every three children in the territory lives in poverty, or almost 36 percent, compared to 19 percent nationally, and the figure is up from previous years;
-- 49 percent of all V.I. families with children are now single-mother families, compared to 18 percent nationally;
-- since 1997, the number of children living in single-mother families continues to rise -- 40 percent -- despite a 14-percent decline in child population during these years;
-- births among girls ages 15 to 19 continued to fall from 62.4 per 1,000 in 2001 to 47 per 1,000 in 2005, attributable in part to an increase in the number of teenage girls in the territory;
-- juvenile violent crime, on the other hand, has increased by 56 percent since 2001 among youth ages 10-17;
-- the percent of teens who are high school dropouts fell to15.7 percent in 2005, compared to 22 percent in 1997, however, the dropout rate itself rose to 5.6 percent in 2005-06, from 2.6 percent in 1996-97; and
-- the V.I. "detached youth" rate, which refers to children ages 16-19 who are not in school and not employed, is almost 300 percent greater than in the rest of the nation, at 23.7 percent compared to eight percent nationally
Yup sounds to me like more special privys are needed. :X
I think that it is impossible to go back and try to impose what is politically correct today onto the past. You have to remember that the transfer from Denmark to the US happened almost 100 years ago. Women didn't even have the right to vote then.
In your example it would be more like the US decided to sell the VI to China and all of the US citizens agreed but the migrant workers weren't asked. Later it was discovered that the non-citizen migrant workers wanted the VI for themselves and disagreed with the sale of the islands. You have to remember that the slave descendants were not considered Danish citizens at the time of the sale. When the US bought the islands the Danish citizens were given the option of becoming US citizens or remaining Danish citizens. The slave descendants not being Danish citizens were in limbo for another 10 years. Just as they had been under the Danish rule.
As far as imposing language and customs on people, it happens everywhere. Puerto Rico has done a pretty good job of retaining their language and customs without writing a constitution which is discriminatory toward people who move there.