24 February 2010

Implications of Pending Federal Legislation on US Territories

Press Release February 22, 2010
Panel Discussion on Federal Political Status Legislation

A panel discussion on the Implications of Pending Federal Legislation on the Self-Determination of the US Virgin Islands will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 PM (Thursday) on February 25, 2010 at the NWW Great Hall University on the St. Croix Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. The activity is being conducted by the United Nations Association of the Virgin Islands in conjunction with the Student Affairs Office of the University of the Virgin Islands.

A similar forum was held by UNAVI on March 20, 2010 in St. Thomas in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute.

The panelists in the St. Croix session will explore several legislative measures which have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives designed to advance political development in U.S. territories, including a measure to fund educational programs in the territories on political status options. This bill was approved by the House of Representatives last December, and is awaiting Senate action.

A similar measure authorizing a federally-sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico, leading to a referendum on political status options, will also be examined. The Puerto Rico bill is awaiting final passage by the US House of Representatives.

The implications of the proposed constitutional amendment extending the presidential vote to the territories and the District of Columbia, and legislation for greater territorial representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, will also be reviewed by the panelists.

Participants are:

Gerard Emanuel, former Director of the Virgin Islands Status Commission
Genevieve Whitaker, Attorney
Amaris Chew, Virgin Islands Youth Activist
A Representative of Congressional Delegate Donna Christensen
Moderator: Dr. Carlyle Corbin, International Advisor on Governance