In a gathering of family, friends and well-wishers, St. Thomas attorney Tom Bolt announced his candidacy for the Virgin Islands 5th Constitutional Convention at a Memorial Day rally on St. Thomas. Bolt who has served as Counsel to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands urged the supporters to "go to the polls and exercise their right to vote" at the Tuesday, June 12th Special Election. Virgin Islands voters in each district will elect 13 district delegates and 4 at large delegates. Of the 13 delegates from the St. Thomas-St. John district, 2 must be from the island of St. John. Half of the at large delegates must reside in the St. Thomas-St. John district and half must reside in the district of St. Croix.
"The Virgin Islands is taking another step toward self-governance with the election of the 5th Constitutional Convention." Bolt said. "Every U.S. state and territory has its own constitution other than Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is fundamental to our future governance that people of the Virgin Islands approve our own constitution."
"The delegates to the Virgin Islands 5th Constitutional Convention will review a series of issues including the rights of our citizens, the structure of government, home rule and the power to tax." Bolt explained. "Many of the problems that we encounter every day can – with the adoption of a Virgin Islands constitution, be within the grasp of the people to control. We can be the masters of our own destiny, controlling our future properity for the benefit our children and grandchildren." the candidate noted.
Currently Bolt serves as President of Habitat for Humanity of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the Children’s Trust of the Virgin Islands. "Having provided service to the community over the years, gives me a unique perspective." Bolt told the group. "Coupled this with my service in the law, having managed a law firm, served as Chairman of the Virgin Islands Uniform Law Commission for two decades, and as Counsel to the Law Revision Commission, all should assist me if elected delegate."
"It is my hope that we can achieve consensus in this 5th Constitutional Convention by listening to the people through public hearings. Home rule is another key issue for the Convention. Not only are the people of St. Croix and St. John clamoring for local control, but so are the residents of Water Island. In addition, there are those in need of municipal services in outlying areas that should be empowered to come together to provide themselves water, sewer and other services if the territorial government is not providing them. Also business people in our town areas want special services. Why should these services be on the backs of the taxpayers? We should examine the ability of these individuals to group together to tax themselves to achieve their common goals."
"Another issue for delegates, will be instituting single member districts in our legislature." Bolt said. "Again it is about vesting control within the people of the Virgin Islands." "This can also be accomplished through an enhanced referendum and initiative process whereby 5% of the electorate can cause a measure to be placed on the ballot for action at a general election."
Bolt thanked those that attended the rally and said he look foward to going out to the electorate in the next two weeks to address questions and concerns with regard to his platform and the 5th Constitutional Convention.