News & Opinion
Note: Blogs are excluded from this list.
Wenner, Mark, Good governance is critical to public service delivery, economic growth, Virgin Island Daily News, Oct. 19, 2023.
Buchanan, Don, Opening Channel for Government Workers to Become Politicians Called Pandora’s Box, St. Thomas Voice, Sept. 29, 2023. J.H. Snider comment: the same political reasoning should also apply to favoring government employees who run or serve as convention delegates.
Bernetia Akin, Constitutional Convention Glides Under Radar Toward 2024 Election, St. Thomas Voice, August 13, 2023. Also published in St. Croix Voice and St. John Voice. “In a recent session of the 35th Legislature, crowded with honorarium bills, a non-descript amendment referring to some date changes in “Act 8681” was slipped onto a popular measure concerning veteran’s benefits, along with a couple of other unrelated items.It was so seemingly unimportant Act 8681’s name and purpose weren’t even included on the amendment.But this rider was anything but innocuous.”
Plaskett, Stacey, ADOPTING THE CONSTITUTION OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, Congressional Record, May 11, 2023, p. H2254 (text version here). Excerpt: “Mr. Speaker, this week I was pleased to introduce legislation to adopt the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands and its amendments as the constitution of the Virgin Islands of the United States. My legislation provides for the adoption of the Revised Organic Act, as it has been approved by Congress, signed into law, and amended, as the constitution of our territory.”
Elections ‘Great Debate’ on ratifying V.I. Constitution ends in 50-50 draw, The Daily Herald, May 10, 2023. J.H. Snider Comment: hardly a “great” debate.
Macavoy, Kit, Elections ‘Great Debate’ on ratifying V.I. constitution ends in 50-50 draw, Virgin Islands Daily News, May 6, 2023.
Macavoy, Kit, Plaskett: Bill to pave way to V.I. Constitution, Virgin Islands Daily News, May 5, 2023.
Probasco, Mat, Plaskett Pushes Congress for USVI Constitution, St. Thomas Voice, May 3, 2023.
PLASKETT INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO ADOPT THE REVISED ORGANIC ACT AND ITS AMENDMENTS AS THE VIRGIN ISLANDS CONSTITUTION, Press Release, May 3, 2023. The accompanying statements can be found here. This press released was re-posted in Pasquines, which covers the five U.S. territories, and ConstitutionNet, which covers constitutional developments worldwide.
Election System to Host ‘The Great Debate’, St. Thomas Source, May 2, 2023. “Two teams will sound off on the topic: Is it time for our own constitution or to become an independent country, commonwealth or state? What’s best for Virgin Islanders?” Snider note: The actual debate topic was different: “The Virgin Islands needs to ratify a constitution before defining its continued relationship with the United States of America.”
Alvarez, Julisa, Transfer Day Great Debate At UVI, St. Thomas Voice, March 31, 2023.
Pate, Russell, Open Forum: How to Save $900,000 in Constructing a Constitution, St. Croix Voice, Feb. 13, 2023.
Bryan Signs 19 Bills into Law from 34th Legislature, Vetoes 7, St. Thomas Voice, Feb. 2, 2023.
Jaeger, Kyle, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Would Be ‘Foolish’ Not To Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill, Senate Sponsor Says, Marijuana Moment, Jan. 17, 2023. Sen. Janelle Sarauw: “we do need a constitution that will give us some level of political maturity.”
Frett-Gregory, Donna, Legislature Corner: The 35th Senate Will Continue to Pass Meaningful Legislation,
USVI Legislators Approve Establishing a 6th Constitutional Convention, Virgin Islands Consortium, Dec. 31, 2022.
Governor Bryan Signs Order Establishing Committee to Plan 175th Anniversary Celebrations of Emancipation Proclamation, Official Site of the United States Virgin Islands government, July 1, 2022. Press conference here.
Deputy Elections Supervisor Terrell Alexandre… acknowledged the absence of filings for candidates to the Sixth Constitutional Convention. A slate of candidates is supposed to be presented to the voters as part of the Nov. 8 General Election, he said, but preparations for that vote can only be made after the 34th Legislature Committee of the Whole approves a bill establishing the sixth convention.”
This Week’s Senate Calendar: May 9 – 13, St. Thomas Source, May 9, 2022. “The 34th Legislature will convene in Committee of the Whole on to receive testimony on… Bill No. 34-0155 — An Act establishing the Sixth Constitutional Convention of the Virgin Islands and providing for an appropriation to cover convention-related expenses.”
Gutierrez, Carl T.C., Of course Guam should have its own constitution!, Pacific Daily News, April 30, 2022. “So here we stand, four and a half decades after obtaining federal approval of our draft constitution, and we are still asking, “Should Guam have its own constitution?” My position is that, instead of starting from scratch, we dust off that constitution and ask I Liheslatura to call for a ratification of that document.”
Shimel, Judi, Elections Board Approves 2022 Seasonal Calendar, St. Thomas Source, April 6, 2022. “Election Systems Supervisor Caroline Fawkes circulated two proposed calendars for 2022 – one for the Nov. 8 General Election and one for a separate ballot to choose delegates for the Sixth Constitutional Convention…. A draft calendar for the convention was more of a sketch than a plan, Fawkes said. Lawmakers are still working out the language on a bill to establish the convention, the rules delegates will have to observe and other related matters…. Fawkes told board members her staff wants to start advising potential candidates when they can pick up nomination petitions, how long they have to collect signatures and when to turn them in.”
Shimel, Judi, Doc Petersen Crosses the Finish Line Unexpectedly at 73, St. Thomas Source, April 6, 2022. “In 2007 Petersen ran for and won the election to serve on the Fifth Constitutional Convention.”
Why celebrate Transfer Day?, Virgin Islands Daily News, March 31, 2022. “Momentum is building for a Constitutional Convention, which could restructure our government and free us from Congressional supervision as we currently are via the Revised Organic Act of 1954. We seek government that genuinely is of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Petersen, Verdel L., The Virgin Islands Must Plan for the 6th Constitutional Convention, St. Thomas Source, March 28, 2022. “The main difference between an organic act and a constitution is an organic act is written by Congress whereas a constitution is written by the people…. the ROA can be adopted by a constitutional convention and later amendments could be ratified by the electorate. “
CHARLES WESLEY TURNBULL (1935- ), Black Past, March 27, 2022. “Turnbull… served as an elected delegate to all five Constitutional Conventions held between 1964 and 2009. He was the Secretary of the Second Convention in 1972.”
Sekou, Malik, A new V.I constitution: A step towards greater self determination, Virgin Islands Daily News, March 24, 2022. “…the creation of a written constitution that places increasing responsibility, accountability, and power in the hands of the people or as some say — the masses — by definition is inherently progressive….” A later, more extended version of his written legislative testimony was published in New V.I. Constitution is Step Towards Greater Self Determination, Virgin Islands Consortium, April 6, 2022.
This Week’s Senate Calendar: March 21-25, St. Thomas Source, March 20, 2022.
Kirkpatrick, Sara, UVI Office works to educate territory on constitutional development, Virgin Islands Daily News, Jan. 26, 2022.
Akin, Bernetia, Thorny Issues Line the Path to Possible Constitutional Convention, St. John Source, Jan. 24, 2022.
Sraker, Linda, Bill to Establish Sixth Constitutional Convention Crosses First Hurdle; Frett-Gregory Plans Committee of the Whole Government, The Virgin Islands Consortium, January 20, 2022
Kirkpatrick, Sara, V.I. Legislators vet bill on sixth constitutional convention, Virgin Islands Daily News, Jan. 20, 2022.
Kirkpatrick, Sara, Senate committee to hear bill on 6th constitutional convention, Virgin Islands Daily News, Jan. 19, 2022.
Lee, Bethany, Committee Advances Bill Assembling the Sixth Constitutional Convention, St. Thomas Source, Jan. 19, 2022.
Petersen, Verdel L., Letter: Referendum makes voters choice clear are on Revised Organic Act; why take new gamble?, The Virgin Island Daily News, Dec. 27, 2021.*
Petersen, Verdel L., Letter: Open forum: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?, The St. John Source, Dec. 22, 2021.*
Historical Society to resume monthly meetings, Virgin Islands Daily News, Nov. 11, 2021.
UVI Publishes Simplified Revised Organic Act eBook, St. Thomas Source, Nov. 5, 2021.
UVI Receives $250K Grant to Advance Constitutional Development, Self Determination, Press Release, St. Thomas Source, Sept. 14, 2021.
USVI Self Determination and Constitutional Development to Make Progress With $250,000 Insular Affairs Grant, The Virgin Islands Consortium, Sept. 8, 2021.
Kirkpatrick, Sara, Elections supervisor urges bigger budget, pay hikes, Virgin Islands Daily News, Aug. 19, 2021. Describes the legislature’s extraordinary and unexplained delay in proposing an enabling act for the approved constitutional convention.
Cobb, Sian, Plaskett Touts Legislative Strides at League of Women Voters Meeting, St. John’s Source, April 25, 2021.
The Year in Review: October to December, Virgin Island Daily News, Dec. 31, 2020.
Pate, Russell, Letter: Don’t repeat failed constitutional convention; push for voting rights, virginislandsdailynews.com, Dec. 15, 2020.
Russell, Ronald (former senator), Letter: Dear Editor, Here are Some Ideas for the Upcoming Sixth Constitutional Convention, Virgin Islands Consortium, Nov. 24, 2020.
Russell, Ronald (former senator), Letter: Planning guide for Constitutional Convention, Virgin Island Daily News, Nov 23, 2020.
Russell,Ronald, Letter: Dear Editor, Here are Some Ideas for the Upcoming Sixth Constitutional Convention, The Virgin Islands Consortium, Nov 24, 2020. A variation In Nov. 23 Virgin Islands Daily News.
Cohen, Stephen K., Letter: How do we guarantee against mistakes of past constitutional conventions?, Virgin Island Daily News, Nov. 21, 2020.
Read the Full Revised Organic Act of 1954 (U.S. Virgin Islands), State of the Territories—Virgin Island, Nov. 14, 2020.
Halos & Pitchforks, virginislandsdailynews.com, virginislandsdailynews.com, Nov 11, 2020.
Gilbert, Ernice, Virgin Islanders Overwhelmingly Support Referendum Calling for Constitutional Convention, The Virgin Islands Consortium, Nov. 5, 2020.*
Voters overwhelming push for sixth constitutional convention, virginislandsdailynews.com, Nov 4, 2020.
Kossler, Bill, Election 2020: Referendum is a Possible Road to USVI Constitution, The Saint John Source, Oct. 28, 2020.*
Petersen, Verdel, Letter: V.I. residents should seize the moment and change how they’re governed, virginislandsdailynews.com, Sept. 26, 2020.
Petersen, Verdel, Letter: Open forum: It is Time to Amend the Revised Organic Act, St. John Tradewinds, Sept. 26, 2020.
Should another constitutional convention be called? Referendum vote on the issue on November ballots, virginislandsdailynews.com, May 27, 2020.
Letter: Moolenaar, Gwen-Marie, It is Necessary to Educate the Public on Adopting a V.I. Constitution, St. John’s Source, May 27, 2020.
Buchanen, Dawn, Prospect of Another Constitutional Convention Raises Concerns for Former Delegate, The St. John Source, May 21, 2020.*
After Five Failed Attempts at a VI Constitution, New Bill Seeks Placement of Question on November Ballot, The Virgin Islands Consortium, May 17, 2020.
Forging a vision for the territory’s future: Concerns and recommendations, virginislandsdailynews.com, Aug. 29, 2019.
The Reapportionment Initiative: Look at the cup as half full, instead of half empty, Virgin Islands Daily News, Apr 8, 2019.
Plaskett repeats call for debate over statehood, Virgin Islands Daily News, Apr 2, 2019.
After nearly 10 years, Constitutional Convention still owes the V.I. public a report of all its spending, Virgin Islands Daily News, Aug 12, 2017.
Undercurrents: Hey, Virgin Islands, What Do You Want to Be Now That You’ve Grown Up?, St. Thomas Source, March 20, 2017.
Corbin, Carlyle G., Choose or Lose: U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017, Pacific Island Times, Jan. 5, 2017.
V.I. Answer Desk: What Is the Status of a V.I. Constitution?, St. Thomas Source, Aug. 29, 2013.
USVI League of Women Voters, Referendum 2020: Know Before You Vote Fall 2020.
The Referendum: A Constitution for the USVI
- Four of the speakers were delegates to the 5th constitutional convention.
- Senator Myron Jackson introduced the bill to call the 6th constitutional convention.
- Senator Alicia Barnes co-sponsored the bill.
- Several USVI political scientists.
News & Opinion–Other Territories
Dupraz-Dobias, Paula, Puerto Rico prepares to possibly become new US state, swissinfo.ch, Jan. 3, 2023.
Rampe, William, British Virgin Islands Report Reveals The Insidiousness Of Modern Colonialism, The Organization for World Peace, June 26, 2022.
Letter: Notes on Guam’s second Constitutional Convention, Pacific Daily News, May 12, 2022. See also Taitano II, Joe, Leaders mourn the passing of former Sen. Pilar Lujan, Pacific Daily News, June 13, 2022.