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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, November 28, 2023


St. Croix Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste, who broke rank with Democrats in the 24th Legislature and aligned himself with the majority bloc, paid the price Saturday.
The territorial committee of the Democratic Party voted to strip Baptiste of his vote in committee for the duration of his term, and he came in for severe criticism from party members.
The vote came after the committee designated the Senate's minority bloc as the party's recognized caucus.
Despite attempts by Baptiste to calm the troubled waters with promises that he would work with the majority to undo the disparity in funding between majority and minority senators, it was tough sledding for the two-term senator.
Congressional Delegate Donna Christian Christiansen said she thinks Baptiste will find tough times "serving two masters." Christiansen noted that not only will Baptiste have to undo the disparity
in funding but he will also have to dodge the criticism often leveled at the Democratic senators from the majority.
Maria "Chi-Chi" Heywood was more direct. "You participated in the rally, TV shows, radio programs and then after your seat was secured, you joined hands with the opposition," she said. Heywood said Baptiste was hypocritical when he attacked the Democratic Party after it campaigned for his re-election.
Unsuccessful senatorial candidate Ophelia "Nemmy" Williams-Felix pressed Baptiste for answers as to why he left the six Democrats and aligned himself with the majority bloc. His response was short on specifics. "It just happened because of mitigating circumstances that we did not come to grips with," he said.
He suggested that the party look to the future. "We cannot reclaim what has gone past us, but we can look forward to the future," he said.
The meeting was held at Gertrude's restaurant on St. Croix and chaired by Arturo Watlington, Jr.

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