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The CHAIRMAN. I do not know how to proceed when you get things in confidence.
Mr. ALEXANDER. I will be frank. He communicated that to the chairman of the Insular Affairs Committee of the House.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder why he picked him out and left me out? I feel slighted.
The House, as you know, does not have a thing to do with the confirmation.
Mr. ALEXANDER. Probably he is not aware of the way the procedure works. So that is what he did.
In addition thereto, he also sent it to the appointing powers.
Mr. Paiewonsky is a distinguished native whose reputation for honesty and sincerity is unquestioned. Nothing is further from the truth of his desire to convert the islands into a gambling mecca.
In my contacts and discussions with him all through the years I have known him, he has always abhorred the idea as being disastrous to the islands' moral welfare as it would encourage a number of undesirables to visit the islands and give a bad example to the people living there.
Mr. Paiewonsky was educated in the islands and New York. Here in the Virgin Islands the color of a man's skin is not important.
What is important in selecting a Governor for the Virgin Islands is that he be a qualified native of the islands, knowing what is necessary to advance the welfare of the people, not only politically, but economically.
Senator ALLOTT. May I interject a question there?
I know that we have gotten into and adopted a policy of appointing natives, but do you mean by that statement to say that no one has any right to aspire to the governorship of the islands unless he be a native?
Mr. ALEXANDER. No, sir. I would like to explain that. What I mean is this:
First of all, to begin with, the Republican administration followed that precedent recently by appointing natives. Prior to that when President Eisenhower was elected and took office two continentals were appointed to that high office. The first one was my namesake by the name of Alexander, who was a contractor and the second one was a gentleman by the name of Gordon who was an attorney from California.
These gentlemen came to the island without any knowledge whatsoever of its geographic, its economic condition, weather, or anything whatsoever.
Senator ALLOTT. This is fine, but you are not saying that any bona fide resident of the island should not have the right to aspire to the governorship whether he is a native or not, are you? Mr. ALEXANDER. No, I am not contending that. The appointing power of the President decides that.
But we are asking that a native be appointed and continue to be appointed providing he is qualified.
Senator ALLOTT. You mean a resident, or native?
. Senator ALLOTT. I will agree with you if you say resident. I do not see why anybody should have to have any more to aspire to the governorship of the Virgin Islands than they have to have to aspire to the governorship of a State.
You can aspire to the governorship of a State simply by becoming a resident. · Mr. ALEXANDER. I agree with you. I mean a resident or a native.
Mr. Paiewonsky's qualifications and background and his knowledge of the economic conditions of the islands and his reputation and respect of the people makes him a logical and qualified person to fill this high office as Governor.
The President could not have designated a better person.
I, therefore, hope your committee will join the President and the people of the Virgin Islands by expressing your confidence in Mr. Paiewonsky by recommending his confirmation to your august body, the U.S. Senate.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Guirty, and I may say Mr. Corneiro, also, has a very short statement to make. Will the two of you please come up here.
STATEMENT OF GERALDO GUIRTY, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
AMERICAN VIRGIN ISLANDS UNITY COUNCIL, NEW YORK, N.Y.
Mr. GUIRTY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of this honorable committee.
I have journeyed from New York City to make a statement purely out of a sense of civic responsibility and patriotic pride.
This testimony comes from the American Virgin Islands Unity Council which represents the colony of Virgin Islanders in the City of New York, in which we are attempting to promote in the interest of quicker progress in our Virgin Islands.
We are deeply concerned because we have learned from our own experiences in the great City of New York that initiative is a very compelling factor to help people rise up, not to be purely dependent upon Government all the time for group progress or individual progress.
So I shall proceed to read this statement. Re the nomination of Ralph M. Paiewonsky as Governor of the Virgin Islands. To the Senate Interior Committee. (Attention Hon. Clinton P. Anderson).
HONORABLE SIRS: The American Virgin Islands Unity Council hereby endorses the nomination of Ralph M. Paiewonsky as Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands and urges your august body to recommend confirmation as such to the whole Senate.
We heartily endorse Mr. Paiewonsky's nomination for the following reasons :
Ralph Paiewonsky, by his background, training, experience, and service to the people of the Virgin Islands, is fully qualified to perform the duties of chief executive of this insular possession of the United States.
1. He has lived in the Virgin Islands most of his life and is fully acquainted with its aspirations as a progressive political subdivision of this great Nation.
Mr. Paiewonsky was born in Charlotte Amalie, V.I.: attended public school there, and raised a family in his hometown.
2. Ralph Paiewonsky has proven his ability to handle the duties of Governor with efficiency, farsightedness, and with wisdom.
He came to the United States in his early manhood, to gain knowledge and was educated at New York University, New York City.
Thereafter, he returned to his native land, became a working member in his father's business, and quickly exemplified his social consciousness for his fellowmen in the Virgin Islands communities.
His business acumen was always coupled with a deep sense of fair play. He has always been willing to listen to and assist in the settlement of labor management disputes, or to find the common benefits that may come from any social or economic proposal offered by community leaders in the three islands.
It was, therefore, not difficult for him as a popular businessman, to win a seat in the local legislature when he first ran, and during his five terms as a legislator he never suffered a setback at the polls.
During his tenure, he served as chairman of the Municipal Council of St. Thomas and St. John for many years, with great success.
He supported and voted for such legislation as the workmen's compensation law, the rent control law, the public utilities law, the wages and hours law, and countless acts designed to support old people's homes; scholarships, nursing, and medical services; schools, public nurseries, and nursery aid ; harbor facilities, business promotions, and agriculture.
Mr. Paiewonsky has traveled to Washington, D.C., on many occasions at his own expense to seek aid for the people of the Virgin Islands, and, as he is well known in the Nation's capital, he has more often than not met with success.
3. Ralph Paiewonsky, in his own business affairs, has always demonstrated his abiding faith in his homeland.
In the 1940's and 1950's, when many local businessmen were pessimistic in their investment outlook, he led the way forward. He was one of the few local businessmen who saw the need for commercial boldness in the islands.
He and his equally able brother, Isidore Paiewonsky, revitalized the local chamber of commerce, built and funded businesses of many types needed, and helped to create the favorable climate which resulted in the present prosperous tourist trade in the Islands.
For the foregoing reasons, we fully support his candidacy, this Presidential nomination, and the substantial backing he has received in the islands. He is an excellent nominee and we urge your unanimous approval.
The American Virgin Islands Unity Council is an affiliation of the stateside Virgin Islands organization in the City of New York, representing over 10,000 Virgin Islanders who live, work, and participate fully as citizens of the United States.
We seek to advance the welfare of the inhabitants of the Virgin Islands and our fellowmen in the United States of America.
We strive to do this as loyal, patriotic citizens who have always been devoted to the well-being of the people of our great Republic under her constitutional form of government.
Likewise, we wish to thank the chairman and the members of his honorable committee for giving us the opportunity to present our opinion on this nomina. tion before you today, and for putting this statement in the record. Respectfully submitted.
ALBERTO R. SENIOR, Chairman;
GERALDO GUIRTY, Executive Secretary.
Mr. GUIRTY. I am presently employed with the New York City Housing Authority in the capacity of housing assistant.
Senator ALLOTT. How long have you been in New York ? Mr. GUIRTY. I have been in New York since my late boyhood. After two decades in 1946 I returned to my homeland and thereafter every year, and was there last August.
Senator ALLOTT. You do not live there? Mr. GUIRTY. Not presently, but we own some old houses there. Senator ALLOTT. You are from there? Mr. GUIRTY. That is correct. I was born there. Senator ALLOTT. But you have lived in New York many years? Mr. GUIRTY. Yes. Senator ALLOTT. Thank you. The CHAIRMAN. Are there questions? Thank you very much, sir. Mr. GUIRTY. Just one more page, Mr. Chairman. This is from the Virgin Islands Public Affairs Council.
We, Geraldo Guirty, president of the Virgin Islands Public Affairs Council, and Mario A. Watlington, chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Virgin Islands Public Affairs Council, do hereby join our compatriots in the Virgin Islands in support of Ralph M. Paiewonsky, a native of the Virgin Islands, for the governorship of these islands.
The appointment and the election of a qualified native of the Virgin Islands as its chief executive is an act that has full endorsement in the islands, and is a part of the platform of both national political parties.
We have seen the statements submitted to your honorable committee this day by the American Virgin Islands Unity Council, of which affiliated body we are a member, and we are in complete agreement with the same.
We urge prompt and favorable support by your members and by the whole Senate.
GERALDO GUIRTY, President.
MARIO A. WATLINGTON, Legislative Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Corneiro.
STATEMENT OF FRANCISCO CORNEIRO, ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR
AT LAW, VIRGIN ISLANDS Mr. CORNEIRO. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Francisco Corneiro, a practicing attorney in the Virgin Islands.
In the past few weeks leading up to this hearing and ever since Mr. Paiewonsky has been nominated, many of us in the island have been considerably disturbed by newspaper stories either on the mainland or in the island concerning the qualifications of Mr. Ralph Paiewonsky for the governorship of the Virgin Islands. · I should like to give an appraisal of my own, and as representative, I believe, too, of a large number of other persons with whom I have spoken in the islands. I have no business relations whatsoever with Mr. Paiewonsky. I owe him no favors; he owes me none, and my ap pearance here is unsolicited.
I am here on funds collected just 2 days ago by a group of people ranging from people in low-income, middle-income, and high-income groups, to finance this appearance for the specific purpose of trying to say to this committee how we feel.
We have read that this nomination implies a threat of gambling to come, of class oppression, of people being reduced to mere lackeys as a tourist mecca.
Mr. Chairman and committee members, with all the emphasis I can put in it, at least believe this of us in the Virgin Islands: We are a proud and hospitable people, but we have absolutely no intention of permitting any Governor whomsoever to force us to lose our selfrespect for the tourist dollar.
We may be a bit unsophisticated by big city standards, but we are not so naive either that we don't know if threats were to come to us that may divide us into classes, we are not so naive as not to know where those threats come from if, indeed, they do come.
Mr. Paiewonsky deserves a clean bill of health. I state that most emphatically.
You have heard Mr. Hodge previously, and from Mr. DeLugo and Mr. Rohlsen. I am generally in their age group. I consider myself a young man. I have a big stake in the future of the Virgin Islands.
Luckily for me, I am more articulate than some of my fellow Virgin Islanders and I can express myself better than they can.
But all of those young men and myself, I think we all have to look to the future and we would not want to advise this committee to make a big mistake.
We do not believe the committee would be making any mistake if it took favorable action on the nomination of Ralph Paiewonsky.
I live and I have my office hardly a block away from this slum area that has been referred to at these hearings, the so-called barracks yard area.
A great part of my clients come from that area and from similar areas in the islands.
My clients are mostly made up of laborers, labor unions, Puerto Ricans, small shopkeepers.
I think I am qualified to sense the feeling of those people. I think I can sense their feeling when I say to you that sometimes we feel frustrated that somehow we, the people, are not getting across to the Congress not only in this hearing, but in many other things sometimes that somehow the spirit of us, our feeling never becomes real things, but people who would speak for us speak with voices that are not truly reflective of us.
No one, no one member of this committee, would say if he were to be at all conversant with the mood of the people in the islands, would for one moment give the slightest credit to the suggestion that Mr. Paiewonsky is an instrument of oppression among our people.
We know Ralph too well. He has not begged me to say this for him. I have been sent up here by humble folk, out of their own pockets, to say this to you.
Senator Carroll yesterday referred to a Governor being a good politician. I took that to mean a person whose force of personality and whose gift of leadership is such as to inspire others to follow the path he would lead.
I think the people are in a mood to accept Mr. Paiewonsky's leadership. I think that the Congress should consider that if we do'make a mistake in supporting him, give us that right to make that mistake.
I think that we do sincerely believe that he will do a good job; that we are willing to go along with him.
Mr. Hodge, who spoke, is an independent in politics.
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