Whitaker Says Patricia James is Threatening Her Life; Complaint Filed Against Angel Bolques's Senate Bid; Kent Bernier Raises Issue With Party Leadership's Alleged Favoring of Bryan-Roach Team

Politics Published On June 16, 2022 05:30 AM
Ernice Gilbert | June 16, 2022 05:30:35 AM

Upper left to right: Patricia James and Genevieve Whitaker. Lower left to right, gubernatorial team Kent Bernier and Oakland Benta, and Angel Bolques.

Board of Elections members during a Wednesday meeting immediately went into executive session to discuss three complaints brought before the board through letters pertaining to the upcoming Democratic Primary Election. Board member and chair of the board's Investigative Committee, Lisa Harris-Moorehead, out of executive session said responses to the complaints would be sent to the complainants, and that it was improper to discuss with the public the responses before they were delivered.

Among the complainants is Senator Genevieve Whitaker, who said in her letter that her life was being threatened by Senate candidate Patricia James and that Ms. James was forcing people to vote against her. Ms. Whitaker also filed a police report against Ms. James, according to the letter.

Another complainant is Linford Warner, who challenged the candidacy of at-large Senate candidate Angel Bolques, contending that Mr. Bolques has not resided in St. John for the time period required by law.

The Kent Bernier and Oakland Benta gubernatorial ticket also lodged a complaint, raising a matter to the board involving the Democratic Party leadership's alleged favoring of the Bryan-Roach ticket, which Messrs Bernier and Benta deemed improper while an active campaign season is ongoing.

Harris-Moorehead said the matters discussed during executive session were determined to be out of the board's jurisdiction. "The committee and through our discussion just now because all these are legal matters, rather than say the specifics of the outcome of each of these, the board's Investigative Committee found and the board has just agreed that none of these fall within our jurisdiction for various reasons. And those individual reasons for each complaint will be provided to each of the parties and I don't think it's proper that we publicize it," she said.

Board Chairman Raymond Williams clarified that no decision was made in executive session. "What member Moorehead just explained was what was discussed," he said.

Board member Harriet Mercer called a motion that sought to demand from Mr. Bolques his St. John address along with the date of his residency on the island from Nov. 2019 to present. The motion, which was seconded by board member and vice chair Atanya Springette, was ruled out of order by Mr. Williams "simply because the due diligence work that was done by the Office of the Supervisor, who has the responsibility for verifying such information, was done," he said.

Ms. Mercer challenged Mr. Williams. "We have not seen the evidence, sir," she countered. Mr. Williams reiterated that it was not the board's responsibility but rather Ms. Fakwes's. "If the person that filed the complaint wants to go beyond that, there is always a remedy called the courts that the person could do," he said. Mr. Williams's out-of-order ruling was challenged by Ms. Mercer, setting in play a roll call which ultimately resulted in the challenge's failure after a majority of the board members sided with Mr. Williams.

Members Harris-Moorehead, Lydia Hendricks, Barbara Jackson-McIntosh, Angeli Leerdam, Lilliana Belardo De O'Neal, Alecia M. Wells, and Mr. Williams voted against Ms. Mercer's motion. Members Mercer and Springette voted in favor. Frederick R. Espinosa, Shikima Jones, Epiphane Joseph and Arturo Watlington, Jr. were absent, and member Glenn Webster is deceased.

The Consortium was unable to reach Ms. Fawkes for comment.

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