ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection chaired by Senator Carla J. Joseph, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building. Policymakers voted on six (6) measures including resolutions honoring and commending the 50th Year Anniversary of the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School (IEKHS) and Gloria H. Canegata Waterman for her outstanding contributions to the Virgin Islands.
Lawmakers voted in the affirmative for Bill No. 34-0174- A Resolution commending the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands on the occasion of the commemoration of its 50th Anniversary (1971-2021) and acknowledging the many accomplishments of the administrators, teachers, and students. The school was previously named Nazareth Bay High School and was renamed the Ivanna Eudora Kean High for the past 50 years. The bill is sponsored by Senators Steven D. Payne, Sr., and Carla J. Joseph. Senator Joseph, IEKHS alumni of the Class of 1988 indicated that Ã¢â‚¬Å“we inherited the struggle, but we did not sit back and endure it silently. We had superior instructors who were a part of our extended family.Ã¢â‚¬Â Former Teacher and Principal Sinclair Wilkinson stated that although IEKHS evolved from a mode of survival to one that is now the premier high school in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is important to continue to expand the school. Wilkinson recommended that to ensure the building space is fully utilized, structural repairs are needed in areas damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Furthermore, IEKHS needs an auditorium, a museum to hold Archives/Hall of Fame, and a State-of-the-Art Vocational Education Program for students.
Similarly, senators voted favorably for Bill No. 34-0157- A Resolution honoring and commending Gloria H. Canegata Waterman for her outstanding years of service to the Virgin Islands Community as an educator and public servant through various organizations. The bill is sponsored by Senators Kenneth L. Gittens and Genevieve R. Whitaker. Gizette Canegata Thomas, WatermanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s daughter, mentioned that because of Gloria H. Canegata WatermanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s noteworthy public record and community-service involvement she is worthy of permanent documentation in the history of the Virgin Islands. In a written testimony submitted to the Legislature by Former Governor Charles Wesley Turnbull it was noted that during his tenure as Governor, Waterman served in the positions such as the Assistant to the Governor and eventually served with distinction as the Administrator for St. Croix.
Separately, policymakers voted and approved for Bill No. 34-0153- An Act establishing the Sixth Constitutional Convention of the Virgin Islands, and providing for an appropriation to cover convention-related expenses. The measure is sponsored by Senators Janelle K. Sarauw and Genevieve R. Whitaker. Previously, the five constitutional conventions purposed to establish a Constitution for the Virgin Islands were unsuccessful. None of the drafts were successful in being adopted as the Constitution for the Virgin Islands. In support of the measure, former Senator Myron Jackson noted that this is a small step towards political maturity and self-government. The quest for self-determination should and must continue and efforts for an educational campaign for our people at home and abroad is also critical in achieving that goal. However, St. Croix Resident Russell Christopher expressed opposition to the bill. Christopher mentioned that to convene a Sixth Constitutional Convention of the Virgin Islands and not address previous concerns of the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) can be time and cost-effective and would be in violation of the laws of the Constitution of the United States.
Lastly, senators voted and approved the following:
- Bill No. 34-0182- An Act amending Title 31 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 1, section 4, relating to the naming of real and personal property of the Government of the Virgin Islands after persons, to exempt the University of the Virgin Islands from the requirement of obtaining legislative approval before naming any property of the University of the Virgin Islands. The bill is sponsored by Senator Marvin A. Blyden.
- Bill No. 34-0146- An Act acknowledging and commemorating the memory of Mary Thomas, Axeline Salomon, Mathilde Mcbean, Susanna Abramson, and other estate laborers before, during, and after the Labor Uprising of 1878 or Ã¢â‚¬Å“FirebunÃ¢â‚¬Â and their courageous pursuit of human rights, freedom from serfdom variant, and improvement of labor conditions in the former Danish West Indies, and condemning the excessive, cruel, and unjust punishment meted out to the laborers by the Danish Government. The bill is sponsored by Senators Javan E. James, Sr., Marvin A. Blyden, and Genevieve R. Whitaker.
- Bill No. 34-0090- An Act amending Title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 25, subchapter V, section 570 relating to the Career Incentive Program for peace officers to extend the Program to all peace officers identified in Title 5 Virgin Islands Code, section 3561(a). The bill is sponsored by Senators Milton E. Potter and Javan E. James, Sr.
Senators attending the meeting: Carla J. Joseph, Alma Francis Heyliger, Javan E. James, Sr., Milton E. Potter, Steven D. Payne, Sr. Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Kurt A. Vialet, Franklin D. Johnson, Genevieve R. Whitaker, Kenneth L. Gittens, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, and Janelle K. Sarauw.