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COVID Protocols Violations Case Moves Forward Against Blyden In Legislature

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — After a preliminary examination of the evidence, to include reviewing witness testimony, the 34th Legislature’s Committee on Ethical Conduct (CEC) has determined that grounds exist to move forward with a formal disciplinary hearing regarding the complaint that Senator Marvin Blyden is in violation of at least two of the rules governing the comportment of members of the body and breaking his sworn Oath of Office. During the hearing, Senator Blyden presented a defense of the complaint and will have another opportunity to provide a more formal response.

On Friday, October 8, 2021, Senator Blyden was served with a letter outlining the charges against him – all of which are related to failing to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Pursuant to the Legislature Rules, he now has up to 20 days to respond to the CEC’s “Statement of Alleged Violations”.

“Whether Senator Blyden chooses to formally answer to these charges or not, a disciplinary hearing will be held, and the Committee will make a final recommendation to the full body as to what punitive or corrective actions, if any, are most appropriate,” CEC Chairman Milton E. Potter said. “It is important to note that as an elected member of the Legislature, Senator Blyden is entitled to, and will continue to receive a fair hearing on all charges.”

“As I have said before, as elected officials we must hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Vice Chairman Kenneth Gittens said. “We would like to address this matter as quickly as possible, but we must follow the procedural Rules of the 34th Legislature. The sooner Senator Blyden answers these charges, the sooner we can bring this matter to final resolution.”

The CEC has charged Senator Blyden with breaking the Legislature’s rules for decorum and ethical conduct, as well as with violating the Oath of Office, in which elected officials swear to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Virgin Islands.

“We have detailed these three charges in our letter to Senator Blyden,” Senator Potter concluded.

Members of the Committee on Ethical Conduct also include Senators Dwayne M. Degraff, Carla J. Joseph and Kurt A. Vialet.

Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George filed a criminal complaint against Blyden in late September, charging the veteran senator with willfully exposing the public to a contagious disease.

Click here for list of charges.

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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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