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CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS? Rogue St. Thomas Elections Board Members Hijacked Meeting

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE: Arturo Watlington had no authority to call or preside over today’s purported meeting of the Board of Elections.

Here are the facts:

FACT: Watlington was secretary, not chairman of the now-former Board of Elections. There is no provision of V.I. law allowing the secretary to act as chairman in the event the chair is vacancy.

FACT: Under V.I. law and the bylaws of the Board of Elections, a meeting of the Board of Elections can only be called by (1) the chairman, (2) by a demand of five members of the Board of Elections, or (3) by an affirmative vote of members of the Board of Elections at a meeting with a quorum of the members.

FACT: Only Watlington called this meeting. Watlington is one member, not five members.

FACT: There is no provision of the Board of Elections that expressly prohibits voting by telephone.

FACT: Five members of the Board of Elections, Minority Caucus Leader Jevon Williams, Member Robert Max Schanfarber, Member Harriet Mercer, Member Bert Bryan and Member Glenn Webster, called a meeting for June
20 at 4 p.m. Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes refused to recognize their demand and call for meeting.

Additionally, Article VII, Section 6 of the bylaws states:

“A Member may attend such meeting for the expressed purpose of objecting to the conduct of any business because he alleges that the meeting is not lawfully called or convened and shall make his objection known on the record.”

See attached for the bylaws, which were adopted in 2015.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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