Loyalty and integrity…I have known in this campaign what an invaluable commodity those things are; how rare it is. And so we must value them when we find them in such a wonderful and magnificent person as the great, Donna Christensen. — Basil Ottley
Such were the praises Basil Ottley–running mate of defeated gubernatorial candidate, Donna M. Christensen–heaped upon the longtime Congresswoman before she took the floor Tuesday night to thank supporters at her campaign headquarters in Barren Spot after a crushing runoff election loss that saw more than 6,000 votes cast for Governor-elect, Kenneth Mapp.
Following his and Christensen’s public remarks, the VI Consortium spoke with the would-be Lt. Governor on his run for office and the impact, if any, the controversy surrounding his candidacy may have had on the outcome of the race.
Of the lawsuit brought against him by Virgin Islands resident, Allen Haynes, Sr., which challenged Ottley’s eligibility to run for political office because of questions surrounding his residency, Ottley said it may have impacted the election.
“I think it has served as a great distraction to people,” Ottley began, “because it helped to create a cloud of uncertainty about what my status may have been. It fed into a general feeling of distrust with the Election System and I think we may have been impacted by that, to what extent, I really don’t know.”
He went on to call the claim a ‘frivolous political tactic,’ adding that in time Virgin Islanders will learn the truth.
“It has always been a frivolous encounter and political tactic, again it will go before the Supreme Court, and again it will be dismissed,” he said. “And I think, in time, the people will come to understand that I have always been a legitimate candidate and that this was a political ploy to confuse and distract people from the real issues.”
Haynes’ case is now headed to the Virgin Islands Supreme Court after being thrown out by two lower courts.
Of coming in second to the Mapp-Potter team, Ottley, like Christensen, expressed his disappointment.
“Definitely, we feel disappointed that we weren’t able to put into action a plan to transform the Virgin Islands economy and to bring a better quality of life for the people; that was our intention,” he said. “I’m disappointed that we will not have an opportunity to serve as Governor and Lieutenant Governor.”
He added: “But I feel victorious in that we made a stand; that we made, I think, an excellent effort in demonstrating to people that we were the right candidates for this time.”
With that, Ottley lauded the efforts of the electorate in participating in the democratic process of electing their leaders.
“We know this is an election and the people decided to go with a different team, and I respect the people of the Virgin Islands for their decision,” he said, “but this doesn’t stop our commitment to serving the people of the Virgin Islands, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people I love.”
And speaking of the people he loves, Ottley said the next thing on his agenda is to spend time with his family.
“What’s next for me, right away, is to begin spending some time with my family,” he said. “This election has taken me away from my two little girls and my wife. The immediacy is spending some quality time with them and then I’ll look at what my next pursuits will be. But, definitely, whatever I do, it will be in service of the people of the Virgin Islands.”
With that he concluded, “And of course, I’d like to congratulate Mr. Mapp and Mr. Potter, and I wish them every success.”