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Board of Elections Chair Falls Back on Same Old Story With Illegal, Illegitimate Meeting

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Majority, led by Arturo Watlington, were up to their usual shenanigans at the first meeting of the newly-formed territorial Board of Elections on Monday.

Watlington, D-St. Thomas, unlawfully presided over an illegal, illegitimate meeting that defied an order of the court, violated well-established provisions of V.I. elections law and ignored the binding legal opinion of Attorney General Claude Earl Walker.

“Virgin Islanders are sick and tired of the Majority’s petty bickering and political gamesmanship,” said Board of Elections Minority Leader Jevon O.A. Williams. “The Majority’s continued defiance of the courts and laws is once again casting a shadow over elections in the territory.”

Williams, R-St. Croix, said Watlington had no legal authority to chair the meeting.

For Minority Caucus member Robert “Max” Schanfarber, it was enough to walk out.

“I will not disobey my sworn oath to faithfully follow the law and discharge my duties,” said Schanfarber, R-St. Thomas. “Instead of performing their duty to the people of the Virgin Islands, the Majority held an illegal and illegitimate meeting.”

Under a court order and V.I. elections law, the board was required to elect a chairman and vice chairman at its first meeting. Walker’s opinion also requires the Board of Elections to “affirmatively revisit each and every decision” the now-defunct district and joint boards of election took after August 1, 2017.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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