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Sunday, December 3, 2023


As Sen. Lorraine Berry sat upstairs at the 24th Legislature's opening session listening to pleas for cooperation from the new majority, the leader of the new majority was downstairs removing the lock from her office.
A clearly vexed Berry later stood among the ruins of her hastily cleared-out office, expressing amazement at what had taken place. "I've been evicted," she said. "No senator has ever been evicted, in all my 18 years." Berry said she couldn't believe White's action.
James Francis, Berry's chief of staff, echoed her thoughts. "They just came in and started taking things out," he said.
The workmen had moved Berry to Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole's considerably smaller quarters.
The office's lock had been removed, as had locks in several other offices, including those of Nicole Bollentini, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg's chief of staff, and Sen. Roosevelt David's chief of staff, Tom Dunn.
While Berry was surveying her plight, Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste came into the office. He observed the situation, and said perhaps he could "mediate" things. Francis noted it was a "little late" to be mediating now, with which Berry concurred.
Donastorg said he wasn't going to get involved in the politics of the situation, "I'm not going to cry over spilt milk," he said.
He said it was Liburd who had given him the extra space down the hall for Bollentini, to which he now had moved her.
Berry had received warning that the new majority wanted her office. In a letter forwarded to her in December by former Senate President Vargrave Richards, Liburd asked Richards for Berry's office to be vacated by Dec. 27 to accommodate freshman Sen. Norma Samuel. Berry didn't reveal at the time what her future plans were; she did express her indignation at being asked to move for a freshman senator.
She said at the time, and on Monday, that she had accommodated both Liburd and White when she was Senate president. As she was talking, workmen with wheelbarrows were relocating her belongings to her new digs down the hall.
White had a different view.
"She has known since last month that we wanted this office," he said. "She knew she was supposed to move by the 27th of December."
White said, "I'm a leader and leaders get things done. We want to be organized, whether it's office space, allotments or whatever."
He said Berry was supposed to have moved her belongings after she was sworn in. "Here she is in her office, and Norma Samuel is out in the hallway with nowhere to put her things," White said.
Berry's nameplate now is firmly affixed to the door of Cole's old office.

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