The committee appointed to review the conduct of Senator Marvin A. Blyden met this week to establish a course of action and evaluate potential disciplinary measures related to his alleged violation of health directives after testing positive for COVID-19.
Pursuant to the Rules of the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands, Senate President Donna A. Frett-Gregory has appointed five senators to evaluate allegations that Senator Marvin A. Blyden acted inappropriately after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus by failing to quarantine. Members of the Committee on Ethical Conduct (CEC) are Senators Milton E. Potter, Kenneth L. Gittens, Kurt A. Vialet, Carla J. Joseph, and Dwayne M. DeGraff.
Senator Potter, who is leading the inquiry as CEC Chairman, said his committee is taking the allegations very seriously.
“Given the danger coronavirus poses to our community and the many lives lost to this terrible virus, we must thoroughly evaluate all evidence and the complaint before us,” Senator Potter said. “I can assure the public that this matter is being carefully reviewed.”
CEC Vice Chairman Gittens noted the need to hold elected officials to a higher standard.
“Here at the Legislature, we are bound by a code of conduct and our sworn oath of office,” Senator Gittens said. “Our Rules state that Senators must act in a manner complimentary to the Senate and with dignity and respect for the office. We are expected to set an example.”
A formal complaint was lodged against Senator Blyden on September 20, 2021, and amended on September 21, 2021, by officers of the 34th Legislature - President Frett-Gregory, Vice President Novelle E. Francis Jr., and Legislative Secretary Genevieve R. Whitaker.
The CEC met Tuesday to review the complaint and have found it “in accordance with the Legislature’s Rules,” Senator Potter said.
Senator Blyden has been issued a copy of the complaint and was also advised of the CEC’s plan to move forward with the administrative process established to review his conduct. Senator Blyden will have an opportunity to respond to this complaint and to offer any evidence or witnesses he deems relevant.
“We ask for the public’s patience as we do our best to fairly evaluate this matter,” Senator Potter said. “We promise to keep you informed.”