The current law governing the appointment of the Attorney General [AG] provides that the governor can remove the AG at his pleasure. I am proposing that the 30th legislature amend the law to insulate and protect the AG from political pressure. This change would be a major step toward the restoration of confidence and trust in the checks and balances of our government.
Currently, the law states in 3 V I C Section 112 that the AG "…shall hold office during the continuance in office of the Governor by whom he is appointed and until his successor is appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed by the Governor." The proposed change would state, that the AG "…shall hold office during the continuance in the office of the Governor by whom he or she is appointed and shall only be removed from office for good cause."
In addition, I would also recommend that the 30th legislature add a new subsection to 3 V.I.C. Section 12 to state: Unless removed for good cause, the AG shall serve until a subsequent Governor, to the Governor who made the appointment, appoints a successor.
Good cause relates to being a member in good standing of the Virgin Islands Bar Association [VIBA]. Removal envisions a complaint to the VIBA that would come before the Supreme Court. Currently, all gubernatorial and senatorial candidates stress restoring public confidence and trust in government.
If these proposed amendments are adopted by the 30th legislature and signed into law by our Governor, the new administration and senate could begin 2015 with an improved system of checks and balances between all branches of government.
Ronald E. Russell Esq., St. Croix