AARP Virgin Islands joined forces with the People United for a Better Virgin Islands (PUBVI) to present a Delegate to Congress Forum aimed at informing voters on the positions that candidates have taken on the issues.
In the last year the VI has gone through many, many changes. The closing of Hovensa, the “Rum Wars” between Diageo Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, increased unemployment, increased fuel costs for utilities, an 8 percent salary reduction for government employees, and a projected downturn in the tourism industry, a contributor to the VI economy.
Considering these factors, the position of Delegate and that person’s ability to position the territory to maximize Federal assistance, has become critical to the future of the territory.
“Voters need to know where the candidates stand,” stated Denyce Singleton, State Director for the AARP Virgin Islands State Office. “Now more than ever, residents voting in the November election need to know the positions’ of the candidates so that they can send the person they feel has the greatest ability to represent them in Washington.
This year’s Forum featured five candidates: Holland Redfield, (Republican), Donna Christensen, (Democrat), Guillaume Mimoun, (USVI Green Party Candidate), Norma Pickard Samuel (Independent), and Warren Mosler (Independent).
“There is no doubt that this race is critical to the Virgin Island’s future,” continued Singleton, “The successful candidate must be one that is not only knowledgeable of our unique territorial issues but must also be able and willing to work jointly with the other territories to achieve shared goals.”
The Forum was well attended by representatives from PUBVI, the general public, and AARP. As anticipated the responses to the questions were heated and informative. The event was filmed by the Government Access Channel which is Channel 6 on St. Croix and Channel 5 in the St. Thomas/St. John District. The Forum will be re-broadcast on these respective channels for the weeks leading up the General Election in November.
“Due to the extreme importance of all the races this year,” stated Singleton, “It is supremely important that everyone educate themselves on the issues, identify the candidates of their choice, and most important VOTE!”