Members of the St. Thomas and St. John community have been questioning the legitimacy of the August 2nd primary election certification process for multiple reasons, not the least of which being the tardiness of the board when it missed the deadline to certify the election by August 17th, and conducting the certification process in an unscrupulous manner that saw one member who was needed for quorum participating via teleconference.
In light of all the confusion, the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections met on Monday to re-certify the elections, and even then one board member, some candidates and members of the community, questioned the legality of the election.
Members in attendance of Monday’s re-certification of the St. Thomas-St. John District were board Chairman Arturo Watlingon Jr., Vice-chairman Harry Daniel, Secretary Claudette Georges, member Larry Boschulte and member Lydia Hendricks.
Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, the only member to abstain from Monday’s re-certification of the elections, said “anything after the deadline makes it illegal.”
Monsanto added that she chose to abstain from the original vote and Monday’s re-certification because, amongst other things, the law was violated as the August 17th deadline wasn’t met, claiming that over 3,000 ballots went missing, and questioning Boschulte’s vote because he is a candidate in the election.
After Monsanto’s objections of the certification, the meeting was adjourned and board members descended into a squabble with yelling and name-calling reminiscent of the St. Criox Board of Elections’ episode.
The St. Thomas-St. John District could not come to a quorum on August 17th or 18th because four of the seven board members were off Island. They include: Arturo Watlington Jr., Lydia Hendricks, Alecia Wells and Harry Daniel.
Daniel, who returned to St. Thomas on Monday, met with remaining board members Claudette Georges and Larry Boschulte, however Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, who was on Island, decided not to show up, citing late notice as the reason.
“I must disassociate myself for my own legal protection,” Monsanto wrote.
On Tuesday August 19th, two days later than permitted by law, the same board members convened, with Alicia Wells participating through teleconference and finally a quorum was established.
“You can’t vote. There was not a quorum,” Watlington said at the Monday, August 25th meeting, speaking of board member Alicia Wells who had participated via teleconference and cast her vote via an electronic signature sent over a fax machine.
The re-certification on Monday was conducted to rectify all discrepancies.
V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer issued a stern notice demanding that the board certify the election as soon as possible or board members could face up to $500 in fines or no more than one year in prison, in accordance with V.I. Code.