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We Don't Need $3.2 Million for the Constitutional Convention

Dear Source:
The only money the constitutional delegates need is travel expenses, office help and the stipend owed them. They need to meet weekly not every two months and, for the next 6 months, should dedicate their lives to this venture. As I see it, if the delegates (30) met every week for the next six months it would cost $37,500 for the stipend. If half the delegates had to travel in that same time period, based on $300 per day, it would cost an additional $112, 500 dollars. Adding in some office help and advertising for 6 months on both St Croix and St Thomas would cost another $160,000 for a total of $310,000. Throw in some meals and we would only need $500,000 to get the job done. This is a fair figure but does not include any fluff which we can't afford to give. Office space? Doesn't the government already have some? Work at night! Remember, many delegates were/are government workers and are getting full pay while being a delegate. Many are business owners who chose to run for office so they must have known about the commitment. Many, to their credit, put their personal lives on hold to get the Constitution written. There is no excuse for not being able to show up! Being a delegate means commitment. Delegates would create a document that will live on long after their work is done so commitment is not only a good thing, it's mandatory! Senators, Governors and other elected officials come and go but a Constitution lives on. In that regard, delegates are far more important to the future of the territory than any elected official. If they are not dedicated to this task, we are in BIG trouble!
Committees could meet on each island regularly, and I mean daily if need be, and then teleconference with the other island members. Voting on each issue could be done by phone. Plenary meetings should take place at least every two weeks with committee reports and language voted on and approved at these meetings. The press should be involved in EVERY meeting and citizen input is crucial. Will the delegates be that dedicated? Will money cause this constitutional attempt to be the cause of its failure? Will the media print everything that is being accomplished so that citizens will be kept abreast? I strongly believe that the delegates should get down to work NOW and get the Constitution written in time for next November's election. Wasting anymore time will be the demise of this attempt and we can't afford to continue running this government as it is under the Organic Act and the statues that have been written under it. We NEED change NOW!

Paul Devine
St. John

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