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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Gov. Charles W. Turnbull joined fellow Democrats Monday in condemning remarks made by Sen. Adelbert Bryan, a member of the Independent Citizens Movement, who said on a radio talk show that only native-born Virgin Islanders should be allowed to hold major elective offices.
"No public official in this territory should be silent" on the issue, Turnbull said. "Naturalized citizens have the right to be elected governor . . . or to any other public office."
He called on Bryan to retract his remarks and on Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd to speak out against Bryan's position.
Noting that Bryan is vice president of the Legislature, the governor said "the person in that position has to be very responsible."
Bryan's remarks have become a hot point amid reports that the eight-member, bare majority in the Legislature is crumbling and various members are ready to defect to the predominantly Democratic coalition. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Celestino White Sr. issued a statement saying that Bryan's remarks did not reflect that of the majority coalition, though he defended Bryan's right to express his views.
But that was not enough for Sen. David Jones. On Tuesday, the minority leader said in a statement that "the community would be better served if the Majority had united behind a statement denouncing Sen. Bryan's position. …" He called Bryan's views "unconstitutional and illegal."
Turnbull's comments came in response to a question during a brief, impromptu press conference following a Government House press briefing by the Bilateral Archival Commission.
On another subject, Turnbull refused to say whether the government is considering developing property near St. Thomas' Drake's Seat overlook, which has been the site of ongoing controversy over vendors' right to sell tourist goods there.
"I'm not going to discuss any details about purchase," he said, adding that whatever course the government takes it will be "the best thing for everybody."
Turnbull rejected the suggestion by outgoing prosecutor Boyd Sprehn that the government is not serious enough about prosecuting public corruption cases.
"This administration has done more than any other," he said. "The record speaks for itself."

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