St. Croix Elections Board battles over criminal checks


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ST. CROIX - When the St. Croix Board of Elections met in its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, discussion was rife with explosive arguments that ultimately resulted in board member Lisa Moorhead walking out of the meeting and breaking the quorum.

Discussion arose with an agenda item about a candidate questionnaire and candidate information sheet that was developed primarily by Deputy Supervisor Genevieve Whitaker and presented to the board for approval Wednesday.

Moorhead said she did not have a problem with it but was concerned that the board was asking for police records from the candidates.

Chairman Adlebert Bryan said because of his law enforcement background he wanted to ensure that the candidates were carefully vetted.

Board member Roland Moolenaar made a motion for the board to accept the questionnaire, and the motion was seconded by Glenn Webster.

At that point Moorhead had an objection, saying she had not been able to thoroughly review the documents and that the approval should be postponed until the board's April meeting.

Moorhead said that even at that point, the joint board should be the one conducting the approval because there are territorial positions for which the candidates will be running.

Bryan said Moorhead was wilfully trying to hold up the process because she is against having the questionnaire in time for this year's election. He said she is playing games and is holding up the meeting and needs to get serious with the people's business.

Moorhead took exception to those comments and stood and gathered her belongings, saying that she will not be bullied to vote on something she is not familiar with or does not feel comfortable about.

She sat down before another round of arguments between herself and Bryan, then left the meeting, breaking the quorum, leaving only Webster, Bryan and Moolenaar present.

Members Raymond Williams, Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal and Rupert Ross Jr. were said to be off island and were excused from Wednesday's meeting.

Earlier in the meeting, Bryan announced that Patrick Cawdette - the board's selection to fill the administrative assistant position that was announced at a special meeting last week - rejected the board's offer, saying that his experience was far beyond the $35,000 salary offered.

Bryan said the board moved forward to make an offer to Terrell Alexandre, who has accepted and may be brought on board once his paper work is completed and if there are no issues.

When the meeting adjourned, Fawkes handed Bryan the keys to the new 2014 Chevrolet Express 15-passenger van that was recently delivered.

She said the van was purchased for $32,000 from Caribbean Automart, who has the contract for local government vehicle purchases, and will be used to transport visiting board members and contractors and also serve as a source of information and advertisement for the system.

The exterior of the white van has been wrapped so that it displays the system's logo, seal, contact information and website. The wrapping covers the rear portion of the van, including the windows, with a translucent material. The logo and information is in bright red, blue, yellow and green.

Fawkes said the St. Thomas van will be delivered shortly.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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