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Friday, April 19, 2024


April 23, 2001 – In her weekly radio political address Monday, Sen. Lorraine Berry ripped into Senate Majority Leader Celestino White for ridiculing a private function last week in which some prominent members of the V.I. business community met with minority, Democratic senators.
The Source ran a story Thursday on the cocktail party, which was held at the home of Neil Weiss.
Friday, in a Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, White digressed from the agenda, instead using the allotted time for questioning Labor and other administration officials, to read the story, with a few changes, into the record.
Committee chairwoman Norma Pickard Samuel allowed White to read the story and to make and distribute copies of it. Minority Sen. Douglas Canton requested time for a point of personal privilege and responded to White's action, saying that the people who met with the senators had a right to air their views and should not be subjected to intimidation for doing so.
After that, Samuel chastised all the senators for straying from the issue of the Labor Department and said "the fun and games are over."
Berry, the only other minority senator at the meeting, later told Samuel she appreciated her remarks, but that she was late in making them, since she had allowed White full reign. Berry promised to make her response in her radio broadcast.
Monday Berry described the guests at the party as some of the business people whose efforts generate "probably 97 percent of the millions of dollars which pay the salaries of government workers," adding, "surely these invitees and many more have a right to be heard."
One of White's embellishments when he read the story was a reference to Weiss as a "millionaire." Berry said Monday that by one fiscal definition, White could be considered a millionaire himself because, including his pension, he takes home in excess of $100,000 a year.
Defending reports that the minority senators told the party guests they need financial support, Berry said, "who better to turn to if we see that the Legislature is dominated by a group of power-mad individuals who have abandoned all scruples in dealing with the minority?"
Meanwhile, Weiss has issued an invitation to the majority senators to meet at his home for a similar function.

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