ST. CROIX — Alicia “Chucky” Hansen insulted Senator Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly at a senatorial forum this morning, making a hand gesture to hundreds of students insinuating that Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly — who had merely gone over her allotted time to address some comments made by other candidates that Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly deemed to be false — is mentally ill.
The forum, organized by the St. Croix Educational Complex’s social studies class, served as an opportunity for students to ask questions to sitting senators and candidates on issues pertinent to them.
Attending the forum were four sitting St. Croix senators, including Kurt Vialet, Novelle Francis, Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly and Neville James. Among the candidates participating were Mrs. Hansen, Norman Jn Baptiste, Robert Moorhead, Terence D. Joseph, Danny Emmanuel and Eugene La Corbiniere.
The reaction from Mrs. Hansen came following remarks from Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly as she rebutted Mr. La Corbiniere for claiming that he would giveaway half of his office’s budget to important programs if he were to be elected. Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly said that although the talk sounded good, such actions would be impossible to pull off.
“There is no way that any sitting senator can give you half, or one-fourth, or one-third or the whole budget, because there are three branches of government and I cannot be a senator by myself,” she said. “We have staff, the people that do the work, the people that help us draft laws. There is central staff and none of us is an island.”
Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly went over her allotted time, and it didn’t go unnoticed by Mrs. Hansen. Mrs. Hansen, appearing annoyed, motioned — almost as if she wanted to get up from her chair — to the moderators, hoping that they would stop Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly.
Moments later, Mrs. Hansen turned her gaze to the hundreds of students gathered in the auditorium at the high school, pointed one of her fingers at her ear, and starting twirling it in a clockwise direction, insinuating that Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly is a crazy, deranged person.
The students were aghast. Some could be seen resting their hands on their mouths. Other students’ jaws were dropped in disbelief at the insult. The crowd then erupted with noise.
Mrs. Hansen, meanwhile, sat on stage overwhelmed with laughter.
Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly, who didn’t see the gesture, told The Consortium later that she had to explain to the students that not all what they heard was factual. And of Mrs. Hansen, she said, “It takes one to know; people will make that decision.”
“What happens with people like her and other candidates is that they believe that they can come to forums and be loud, and say catchy phrases, and because they get applause, they want to feed into that,” Mrs. Rivera-O’Reilly added. “My job isn’t to make people enthusiastic; it isn’t to fool people. My job is to tell the truth, and I’ll tell the truth. If I have to yell and scream so that people understand that what they’re being told is not the truth, then I will do that.”
She concluded: “Michelle Obama said when they go low, we go high. Well I’m happy to go high, but I do know when it’s time to go low. And sometimes you’ve got to go low, because that’s the only language they speak.”
Tags: alicia hansen, Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, senate forum, st. croix educational complex