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Politics of the United States Virgin Islands takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of the local government, and of a multi-party system. The United States Virgin Islands are an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. Executive power is exercised by the local government of the Virgin Islands. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Virgin Islands residents are
U.S. citizens but cannot vote in United States presidential election and cannot elect voting members of Congress. However, in the U.S. House of Representatives, they are represented by a delegate, who can vote in congressional committees but not in the House itself. Virgin Islands residents can vote fully in all elections if they become a resident of one of the 50 U.S. states, while residents of one of the 50 states who become residents of the Virgin Islands can no longer vote for President or for voting members of Congress.
A federal lawsuit since 2011 in the District Court of the Virgin Islands and now before the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court is currently
pending to provide Virgin Islanders with the fundamental right to be represented in Congress and vote for U.S. President. [1 ] The federal case is Civil No. 3:11-cv-110, Charles v. U.S. Federal Elections Commission. [2 ] A similar case was filed in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands against the local Board of Elections. [3 ] The cases allege it was racial discrimination present in an all-white and segregated Congress of 1917 that was the impetus to deny the right to vote to a majority non-white constituency. [4 ] The local case is also pending a decision. [5 ]
The Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands of 1954
is the current [6 ] Organic Act defining the government of the United States Virgin Islands, which were acquired by the United States through the Treaty of the Danish West Indies of 1916. It replaced the Organic Act of the Virgin Islands of 1936 and earlier temporary provisions. [7 ] [8 ]
It was subsequently amended in 1958 to prohibit political or religious tests, but required a loyalty oath as qualification to any office or public trust.
The Virgin Islands Elective Governor Act [9 ] made the Governor an elected office, [10 ] and further amendments in 1984 removed the right to [11 ] indictment for certain crimes and the jurisdiction of the admiralty courts. [12 ]
There have been several attempts at a constitution. The most recent attempt was the
Fifth Constitutional Convention of the U.S. Virgin Islands which passed a proposed constitution in May 2009 but was rejected by Congress in June 2010.
Executive branch [ edit ]
governor and the lieutenant governor are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms.
Territorial Cabinet [ edit ]
in Office since
Department of Finance
Angel E. Dawson, Jr.
Department of Justice Attorney General
Vincent F. Frazer
Office of Management & Budget
Department of Education Commissioner
LaVerne Terry, Ph.D.
Department of Public Works
Darryl A. Smalls
Department of Sports, Parks & Recreation Commissioner
St. Claire N. Williams
Department of Police Commissioner
Novelle E. Francis, Jr.
Department of Property & Procurement Commissioner
Lynn A. Millin Maduro
Department of Tourism Commissioner
Beverly Nicholson Doty
Department of Agriculture Commissioner
Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr.
Department of Labor Commissioner
Albert Bryan, Jr.
Department of Health Commissioner
Department of Human Services Commissioner
Christopher E. Finch
Department of Planning & Natural Resources Commissioner, (acting)
Department of Licensing & Consumer Affairs Commissioner
Wayne L. Biggs, Jr.
Division of Personnel Commissioner
Kenneth Hermon, Jr.
Office of Collective Bargaining
Valdemar Hill, Jr.
Internal Revenue Bureau Director
Department of Fire Services
Adjutant General Gen. Renaldo Rivera
VITEMA Director, (designee)
Inspector General Inspector General
Steven G. van Beverhoudt
Department of Veteran's Affairs
Morris D. Moorehead
Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer
Bureau of Economic Research
Motor Vehicle Bureau
Jerris T. Browne
Legislative branch [ edit ]
The Virgin Islands's territorial legislature is the 15-member
Legislature of the Virgin Islands. The body is unicameral and comprises seven Senators from the district of Saint Croix, seven Senators from the district of Saint Thomas and Saint John, and one Senator at-large (who must be a resident of Saint John). They are elected for a two-year term to the territorial legislature.
Political parties and elections [ edit ]
Summary of the 7 and 21 November 2006 U.S. Virgin Islands gubernatorial election results
1st round %
2nd round %
John de Jongh - Democratic Party 15,914
Kenneth Mapp - Independent 8,756
Adlah Donastorg - Independent 7,580
Source: Electoral System of the Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands elects one non-voting delegate to the
United States House of Representatives; election last held 7 November 2006); results: Donna M. Christian-Christensen (Democrat) 62%, Warren B. Mosler (Independent) 37%,
Judicial branch [ edit ]
The U.S. Virgin Islands has a
District Court, a Supreme Court and a Superior Court. Judges on the District Court are appointed by the President for ten year terms. Judges on the Supreme Court and Superior Court are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislative body.
Administrative divisions [ edit ]
There are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the
U.S. Government, but there are three islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas.
References [ edit ]
^ Virgin Islands Daily News
^ Trial Warrior Blog
^ Voice of Russia Radio, Audio interview of the Attorney Pate at 1/3 through the audio stream.
^ Pub.L. 83–517, 68 Stat. 497, enacted July 22, 1954
^ Pub.L. 74–749, 49 Stat. 1807, enacted June 22, 1936
^ Pub.L. 64–389, 39 Stat. 1132, enacted March 3, 1917
^ Pub.L. 85–851, 72 Stat. 1094, enacted August 28, 1958
^ Pub.L. 90–496, 82 Stat. 837, enacted August 23, 1968
^ Pub.L. 98–213, 97 Stat. 1459, enacted December 8, 1983
^ Pub.L. 98–454 Pub.L. 98–454, 98 Stat. 1732, enacted October 5, 1984