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Featured / News / Politics / Virgin Islands / September 29, 2014

In a five-minute, prerecorded statement aired today on radio station 1620 AM The Reef in St. Croix, gubernatorial hopeful Soraya Diase Coffelt said she is “declaring war against corruption” and demanded the immediate unsealing of records in the criminal case involving former Virgin Islands senator, Alvin Williams, stating, “I ask the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the defendant himself to allow the unsealing of these records so that we the people know what has happened in this case.”

According to Coffelt, there are 19 sets of sealed documents and that in Jan. 2013, Williams entered a guilty plea to “operating and participating in a criminal enterprise whose members engaged in illegal activities, including bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud.”

She went on to say that through a statement released by Williams’ attorney, the disgraced lawmaker “acknowledged that he was a part of the corruption in our government. He stated, ‘It is wrong; it must stop.'”

According to Coffelt, Williams’ statement also stated, “It is hope that when the full story is finally revealed, justice will be done.”

Coffelt pointed out it has been 20 months since Williams’ guilty plea, but, according to her, “we the people have not received justice for the wrongdoings that were committed against all of us” because the documents continue to be sealed from public review.

In the far-reaching audio announcement, Coffelt went on to address certain rumors of corruption within the current election cycle.

“There are rumors that persons who are part of this criminal enterprise, are now seeking to be elected to public office, or are associated with people who are trying to be elected to public office,” she said. Adding that, “the integrity of our entire election is at stake,” and it would be a “tremendous embarrassment and disgrace” for the people of the Virgin Islands to “endure” more corrupted leadership.

As part of her plan for the Virgin Islands if she were to be elected governor, Coffelt, a former judge and lawyer, said she would establish a special V.I. Public Corruption Task Force. The new multi-agency group would work with the FBI to investigate and eliminate corruption in public office in the territory.

“Persons will come from existing departments, so little additional funding will be required,” she said of how she would staff the task force. In addition, Coffelt promised she would expand the office of the Inspector General to allow it to perform more honest investigations, again doing so by moving persons around from existing departments.

As an independent candidate with a Republican running mate, Coffelt was barred from the Nov. 4 General Election ballot by Board of Elections Supervisor, Caroline Fawkes; however, after appealing her case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia, Coffelt’s name was ordered back on. She is now No. 1 on the ballot.

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Cynthia Graham

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