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Virgin Island Constitution approved

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Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
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http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17636426

The daily news reports today that the 20 votes needed to pass the constitution forward have been found. This is a sad day for the future of the Virgin Islands. We all have read of the discord, waste and corruption associated with writing this document, it will now be sent to President Obama and the US Congress. I do not know the actual procedure, but I hope they bury it so deep we will never see it again. I hope President Obama shows the wisdom that I feel he has and have this document rewritten from top to bottom.

This constitution is an embarrassment to us all. It is blatantly racist, and should never pass the scrutiny of wise men. If it ever comes back here in it's current form, it will go a long way towards promoting divisiveness and discord among all citizens of these islands. The committee is now asking for another half million dollars $$$ to try to sell" (buy votes?) this travesty to us.

If you care, please write to President Obama and encourage him to do the right thing.

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Topic starter Posted : June 2, 2009 10:39 pm
stcmike
(@stcmike)
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There are allot of beautiful islands in the world. I really suggest that if people feel like they are being treated as second class citizens that they stop investing their hard earned dollars in the virgin islands. There are plenty of other places that welcome people of all backgrounds. Look at the Dominican Republid, when Cuba finally opens up do you really think any tourist is going to waste their time going to St. C when they go to Cuba. If the so call native Virgin Islanders think they can do better by going it alone, let them. If they don't want to be a part of the US, let the US stop sending millions of dollars in federal aid to support the corruption down here. If this so called constituion passes I suggest an economic boycott immediately. Spend your money where you are respected, are you respected here in the Virgin Islands. Stop whining, use the power of the buck. Boycott

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Posted : June 2, 2009 11:40 pm
Uttica
(@Uttica)
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Is there any petition that we, the people, of the VI can sign against this document that can be forwarded to Pres. Obama?

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Posted : June 3, 2009 12:55 am
billd
(@billd)
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I'm all for touting your background, remembering the things that were good, as well as bad, and simply being proud of your heritage. But I believe that this document had one objective and that as to separate a group of people from others and give them every break possible. Just think about it. If JFK was a resident in the VI he could not run for governer. They worked so long to "craft" the words. There are some good things in it, but there are some things that make me think twice.

We will see how the people of the VI look at this.

Also, how it fits under the US Constitution.

billd

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Posted : June 3, 2009 1:13 am
SistaIrijah
(@SistaIrijah)
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greetings

how many people on this board that have relocated to st. croix have become permanent VI residents?
by doing that it SOMETIMES gives a continental's grievances more power.
if you have simply relocated, your voice is not heard as loudly as it might be.

bless

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Posted : June 3, 2009 1:31 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
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Everyone's grievances deserve equal consideration. Attributes like race and ethnicity are social constructions, and dividing people into continentals, natives, and down islanders only serves to distinguish discrimination's beneficiaries from its victims. Nobody can foresee the future, so "permanent" residence is impossible for anyone to claim, but most of us pay taxes here and vote her and consider the VI our home. But the permanence of our residency in the VI is irrelevant, because the recently crafted VI Constitution gives people who were born here and left the VI many years ago more rights than people who were born elsewhere and have lived here for many years. I have to believe that the only way the VI Constitution will withstand review by the federal government is if everyone in Washington involved in the decision was born in the VI.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 3:23 am
DL
 DL
(@DL)
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I believe a lot of the comments posted are based on hearsay and what they heard was in the constitution, rather than what they actually read in the proposed constitution.

This is a link to the constitution, read it for yourselves!
http://cruciansinfocus.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/finalconstitution_5thconstitutionalconvention.pdf

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Posted : June 3, 2009 5:16 am
SistaIrijah
(@SistaIrijah)
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greetings and good morning

i just read the proposed constitution.
i truly do not see why ones are offended by it or angered in any way.

it clearly identifies at the beginning of the document in article III, section 1 and 2, what an ancestral native virgin islander is and what a native virgin islander is. (my daughter is clearly a native virgin islander).
it is good that it is made clear, because if one wants to become a part of the government, it states the necessary qualifications needed to do so up front.
these distinctions, in my opinion, must be made, as the VI is not a state, but a territory, therefore there will be some dissimilarities in the document which some may be unfamiliar with.

then we move on to article V, section 3, to the qualifications of a senator....
i see nothing offensive there.
one must vote and live in the VI and must be a dual citizen of both US and VI.
i see nothing wrong there.
one must have the necessary balance, in my humble opinion, to carry out the duties of a senator, in a territorial situation.
now....if a senator messes up or is corrupted or is unpopular that is not the fault of the constitution.

moving on to article VI, section 3, to the qualifications of a governor and lieutenant governor....
one must have voted in VI for at least ten years.
must be domiciled in VI for at least 15 years.
be an ancestral or native virgin islander and not have dual citizenship.
what is wrong with that.
one must live and vote somewhere in order to know the runnings.
and one must remember that the VI is NOT A STATE, but a territory of the US.....i see nothing wrong with the governor's qualifications either.
unless ones elect a corrupted individual into office, again, there should be no problems.
i think it is proper for a virgin islander to be governor, etc, because it should ensure (again, unless corruption is involved) that the people of the virgin islands as a whole are represented, not just an elite and select few.

moving on again.
the only other part that i see that might get some people's panties in a wad is in the bill of rights....
article I, section 18, states that the union of marriage is one between a man and a woman.
this might offend some but it is what it is.
when the laws are changed globally, this article will more than likely change locally, but i doubt it.

i see nothing wrong with the proposed constitution.
where is all the hullabaloo coming from?
i do not see it.

in article I, section 2 of the US constitution there are age and residency, along with citizenship requirements for the house of representatives.
same way in article I, section 3, for senators.

check it out in the US constitution....article II, section 1, about the requirements for a president of the united states....
it clearly states:

...No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the united states, at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the united states...

now, how is that any different from the qualifications of a governor of the USVI?
still keeping in mind that the USVI is a US territory...
the GOVERNOR is as a president to the VI....
why do ones have problems with the stated qualifications?

i think corruption of government officials and so is the problem (it always has been there), not the constitution itself...

and there is corruption EVERYWHERE, in ALL levels of governments....globally..it is a dis-ease, and if a person is weak minded and greedy, corruption blossoms and blooms and is invasive like ivy. sadly, corruption has been in place since creation. on a small island, it is just more visible.

there is only one mention of marriage in the US constitution and that is in the bill of rights, amendment X.
basically it states in the amendment's explanation that:

...any power not listed (in the constitution), says the tenth amendment, is left to the states or the people. although the tenth amendment does not specify what these "powers" may be, the us supreme court has ruled that laws affecting family relations (such as marriage, divorce, and adoption), commerce that occurs within a state's own borders, and local law enforcement activities, are among those specifically reserved to the states or the people...

so the states and the people share the burden for getting what defines marriage changed, not the executive branch.

i just do not see anything improper or unusual in the documentation of the proposed USVI constitution.

no, i do not live there now, but i did at one time, for many years, and hope to come back permanently soon if in JAH will....so although living in NC now, i do think i have a right to express my views. the runnings are not all that different now, just more violence; which in part, is due to lack of employment and the corruption vibration. same way stateside, just more visible on a small island. does not make it right, but it can be changed if all work toward a unified goal of peace, keeping in mind that no where is utopia.

oh well, just my two cents......

guidance to all

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Posted : June 3, 2009 12:01 pm
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member

Being a we the people kind of person my opinion is that the draft constitution isn't perfect but at least we have one. The governor reviews it the legislature reviews it, we vote on it .Our delegate to congress reviews it, then the president. then the legislature. They all can comment and suggest revisions. It's the process that may or may not produce an acceptable document.

Although I have opinions about the native issues I can't see that in the final constitution as similar language was proposed in Hawaii's and was removed. I want to see it go through the process and evolve. I'm hoping for the best .

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Posted : June 3, 2009 12:07 pm
Edward
(@Edward)
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Is this a rough draft? I just started to read the Preamble. The first paragraph is grammatically incorrect. Anyone notice? Anyone care?

I'll likely have more comments as I read it, but I'm always put off by poor writing, especially in a Constitution.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 1:03 pm
saucey
(@saucey)
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Does anyone on this thread have the addresses to write to?

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Posted : June 3, 2009 1:21 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

Sistalrijah, The thing that some including myself have a problem with is the tax exemption for the Native VI.
I do not think anyone should be exempt form another group.

Does anyone know when this might come to a vote by the citizens?

Ho9w long do you have to be a resident to vote? I think that I will change my home to USVI to vote against this type of thing.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 2:02 pm
islandtyme
(@islandtyme)
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It should be up for citizen vote once Obama pens his approval.
So if you aren't registered, I 'd suggest doing it.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 2:20 pm
Bombi
(@Bombi)
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SistaIrijah
(@SistaIrijah)
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greetings terry...

actually, i think it is the ANCESTRAL native virgin islander that would be exempt from taxation....not the native virgin islander.
i agree with the exemption.
the ancestral native virgin islander's great great great grandfather probably built some of the buildings everyone walks about in daily in town, probably with chains about his ankles and a whip close to his back.
i think just the thought of that deserves SOME sort of compensation.
but i agree with reparations as well.
again, this is my opinion.

guidance

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Posted : June 3, 2009 2:47 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
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Sistalrijah, The thing that some including myself have a problem with is the tax exemption for the Native VI.
I do not think anyone should be exempt form another group.

Does anyone know when this might come to a vote by the citizens?

Ho9w long do you have to be a resident to vote? I think that I will change my home to USVI to vote against this type of thing.

My objections to this document, begin with the willful misuse of taxpayer million$ to write what should be a simple, inclusive guide for our islands. I had hoped that the framers, would have used this opportunity to help unite us and strengthen our position. Instead, they created a "special class of people" who have privileges and rights that are not offered to everyone. This special group are the only people who apparently have what ever it takes to govern effectively. This special group are also offered tax savings not available to all other property owners.

As it turns out, this special group is mostly of one racial group. At a time when we are trying to share equality and fairness, our constitution starts by taking away rights. In addition, the constitution violates it's own section 1 (line 2-4) when it discriminates by race and sexual orientation. This is suppose to be a constitution that guides, instead it is written as "legislation" and creates new laws such as classroom size and suitability to marry. These guys got all that wrong. That wasn't their job description.

I hope that Washington DC is able to remove the illegal sections. If not, we the voters, have no choice except to reject it totally.

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2009 2:59 pm
SistaIrijah
(@SistaIrijah)
Advanced Member

it is not taking away your rights.
it is giving certain exemptions to ones whose families BUILT THE ISLAND and WERE BATTERED, BEATEN, RAPED, and treated lower than CHATTEL in order to do so....(just as an introduction to the brutality of the past in case ones are not aware).
those sugar cane mills and lovely places you go to, to sniff the pretty flowers were built by them too. think about that the next time you visit....try to let your mind release and just IMAGINE yourself as a slave.....go read the slave narratives.......my JAH, reagan gave the japanese reparations....why not ancestors of slaves.....do none of you have one iota of sympathy for that era in history, are you that caught up in self that you cannot see the sufferings of the past and how they are related to the present?
it seems as if ones are just angry they have to pay taxes on a piece of land.
but that is why you moved there, no? to own a piece of paradise?
the land your gates sit on prolly sits on the bones of a slave and u don't even know it. would you care if you knew?

guidance

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Posted : June 3, 2009 3:37 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
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Sista,
So by the same token, how would you feel if the US government passed a law saying that all Ancestral Virgin Islanders must pay a tax surcharge to live in the US. After all they are late comers. They did not help build the US. So for the priviledge of being able to move to the US they must pay an additional tax. Sounds fair to me! Oh and they are not allowed to hold office in any states or the federal government. The only place that they have full rights is in the Virgin Islands.

Sound fair to me. After all they have been nothing but a tax burden to US taxpayers since the islands were purchased. Let's have reciprocity. Any law passed to give special rights to Ancestral Virgin Islanders results is a similar law being passed to counter those rights if they move to the US. Sounds Fair! NOT!

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Posted : June 3, 2009 4:52 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

You say you support reparations in the U.S., which ostensibly seek to ameliorate the long term consequences of an uneven playing field due to a minority's oppression by a majority, yet you support the VI Constitution legitimizing the majority oppressing the minority? It is unacceptable in a free society for the dominant group (one who holds all of the political and most of the economic power) to write a Constitution protecting their interests at the expense of the interests of the minority group, Would you be fine with NC rewriting their Constitution to tax blacks disproportionately to whites and to prevent residents (like Obama who wasn't born in IL but served as IL's U.S. Senator from '05-'08, or Gannt who wasn't born in NC but served as Charlotte's mayor from '83-'87) from holding certain offices because they weren't born where they live and want to serve, or because their skin isn't the "correct" hue?

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Posted : June 3, 2009 4:58 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

President Ronald Regan gave reparations to the people who were wrongly detained and lost their lands. Not to third, forth, or fifth generations later.
When the US bought the islands slavery was no longer being done.
Yes, slavery was a wrong wrong thing, but I owned no slaves, my great great grandfather from West Virgina ( which split from Virgina due to the slave issue ) fought in the Civil War to end slavery. Why should I pay taxes that someone many many generations down the line do not have to.

Didn't the slaves overthrow and kill many people? Maybe their ancestors should pay the third, forth, and fifth generations of those killed. Where does it end????

People need to stop using this, and other things from the past, to lean on and keep them from success. Get on with your lives. Many successful people who come from that background certainly have. Bill Cosby, our current president, Clarance Thomas, Colin Powell just to name a few.

I probably had a relative that was beaten or killed by the British during the war to win this country, but I still have to pay my way. My father was a prisoner of war during WWII, but he still pays his taxes and collects no money from Germany.
I will register to vote there to help stop this if the US Congress doesn't.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 4:58 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Reparations?
Who should pay and who should receive? No one living in the US today was ever a slave or slaveowner. In the US we are not held responsible for the actions of out ancestors.

As for the results of slavery, African Americans as a group have a higher standard of living than Africans living in Africa. Where would you rather live North Carolina or Ethiopia?

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Posted : June 3, 2009 5:22 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

it is not taking away your rights.
it is giving certain exemptions to ones whose families BUILT THE ISLAND and WERE BATTERED, BEATEN, RAPED, and treated lower than CHATTEL in order to do so....(just as an introduction to the brutality of the past in case ones are not aware).
those sugar cane mills and lovely places you go to, to sniff the pretty flowers were built by them too. think about that the next time you visit....try to let your mind release and just IMAGINE yourself as a slave.....go read the slave narratives.......my JAH, reagan gave the japanese reparations....why not ancestors of slaves.....do none of you have one iota of sympathy for that era in history, are you that caught up in self that you cannot see the sufferings of the past and how they are related to the present?
it seems as if ones are just angry they have to pay taxes on a piece of land.
but that is why you moved there, no? to own a piece of paradise?
the land your gates sit on prolly sits on the bones of a slave and u don't even know it. would you care if you knew?

guidance

Dear Sistah
I think your heart is in the right place. You do care and want things to be better. If I remember, you are not a black person, but have a great empathy for the terrible things that took place in the past. I sincerely do not believe that reparation or special privileges is a good thing for any group. It only perpetuates the negatives and does not build for a better future. The well educated black people that I know are horrified by the thought of special privileges or reparation. They want to continue to educate and grow so we all can become color blind.

It would be a nightmare for us all if we are asked to vote on this constitution in it's present form. Two, three. four negatives do not make a positive.

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2009 11:11 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

My mother is a Native American. I think we should be given back the entire Cherokee Nation. Just kidding. Don't mean to make fun of such a serious subject. I don't understand the subject enough to make an educated comment. I usually stay out of political discussion because even though I live here most of the year I have kept my residency in the states due to business matters so I cannot vote here. Because I am half Native American and half Irish, both treated horribly in the US, I will say that I first consider myself American and I am not an activist for Native American or Irish. But then again I am at least a generation removed from any abuse because of my race. Which brings me to a article I read in the daily news here. A man was interviewed because he was a WW2 veteran. He was asked in the interview what stood out most during his time of service. His answer was racism. He had never experienced that here on St. Croix. That really stood out in my mind. Did these Virgin Islands not experience racism from the time that the slaves were set free? Did they not experience having to go to separate schools, restaurants, bathrooms, stores, drinking fountains, and churches? I did a little research and from what I can tell, they did not come even close to the horrible fight for civil rights that black people experienced in the rest of the world. These islands have been free to govern and be independent since the slavery ended, by themselves. Maybe I am wrong or misinformed, if so, someone please correct me.

Native Virgin Islanders. This is your island. You make the rules and govern yourselves with little interference. Do the right thing for yourselves and your children to make this island a better place. Personally I feel as soon as the VI gets off the "tit" of the US and becomes more responsible without US government funding, the less corrupt and more productive these beautiful islands will be.

I hope I did not offend anyone. I will say again, I am mostly uneducated on the subject of politics here in the VI. If I am wrong on anything I posted, please correct me.

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Posted : June 3, 2009 11:20 pm
billd
(@billd)
Trusted Member

My father was killed defending this country (including the VI). What more can one give then his life! So am I due reparations?

billd

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Posted : June 4, 2009 1:17 pm
Edward
(@Edward)
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My guess is that these special treatments would not survive a Constitutional challenge in Federal Court based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Posted : June 4, 2009 1:24 pm
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