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News / Politics / Virgin Islands / August 25, 2014

Gubernatorial candidate and Judge Soraya Diase Coffelt said on the Virgin Islands Political Consortium on Saturday that if elected the next governor of the territory, she would concentrate more on St. Croix than she would the other Islands because it needs more care.

On my political show held every Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. on 102.1 FM Life Radio, I ask candidates pertinent questions as they relate to the Virgin Islands, and last Saturday was my second interview with judge Coffelt, who had been fighting to keep her candidacy alive for months after being challenged by the Board of Elections concerning the viability of her candidacy, which the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately upheld.

My question to Coffelt was straightforward: “You are given $1 billion to spend on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John on your first official day in office. Obviously because of our geographical placement, the three Islands defer economically, and different strategies must be employed to satisfy each Island’s needs. With the $1 billion, around $333 million must be spent on each respective Island on a project or projects that would swiftly get the economy moving again and get the people of the Virgin Islands back to work.

Beginning with St. John, moving to St. Thomas and bringing it home to St. Croix, what are the projects would you embark on?”

The other candidates had evenly split the money amongst the three Islands, some better than others, but Coffelt was the first candidate to pinpoint St. Croix in the manner she did, giving the perfect analogy as to why she had chosen this direction.

“Well first of all I would step back, and you’ve divided the $1 billion equally between three Islands, and I’m not sure that I would do that,” she said.

“Why I say that is because St. Croix is really suffering. I’m a mother with two sons. I see the Virgin Islands as the governor having four children, and what do we do as parents when one of our four children is suffering? We concentrate our efforts in helping this child to overcome whatever challenges the child has. That doesn’t mean we love any of the other children less, but we need to really focus on this child.”

Coffelt added: “In my mind, St. Croix needs to be heavily focused on, that doesn’t mean that all of the $ 1 billion goes to St. Croix, but we need to see how much of that money should be fairly allocated to St. Croix to revive the economy.”

Judge Coffelt and her running mate John Canegata had already spoken in length about their intentions for WAPA and how they would bring down the energy costs by pushing deeper into alternative sources of energy, and eventually moving the plant to the south shore.

Coffelt and Canegata also showed much interest in an Agriculture industry on St. Croix, a plan that would be facilitated by making inter-Island travel cheaper with more options — which includes ferries not only for human travel, but also to easily move vehicles to and fro.

The Coffelt/Canegata team is number on the ballot, however the road to victory won’t be easy, as they face major opponents like the Christensen/Ottley and Mapp/Potter teams, who’ve proven to be formidable political machines.

The general election in the Virgin Islands takes place on November 4th. We’ll have extended coverage leading up to election day.

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Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected].

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