Things are really spinning out of control for the Virgin Islands Republican Party.
The Republican Territorial Committee held a joint meeting Saturday at a gun range in St. Croix, but the meeting erupted into chaos with attendees shouting over one another, calling for points of order, and at one point, Gwen Brady, an elected delegate, being allegedly shoved to the ground, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.
This is just the latest in the civil war within the island’s Republican Party where a fight over delegates to the 2016 convention in Cleveland has left the group in disarray.
Virgin Islands Republican Party Vice Chairman Herb Schoenbohm told the paper that Brady was “slammed against the wall and thrown to the floor because she objected to the Gestapo-like tactics of the V.I. Chairman John Canegata.”
Schoenbohm also blasted the location of the meeting, telling the paper that Canegata was “banging the table with a large ammunition cartridge being used as a gavel” and walking around with a “firearm on his belt.”
“People are not used to a Republican meeting being in a combat zone and will avoid future meetings if something isn’t done about his lack of control,” Schoenbohm continued.
Republican Party Chairman John Canegata gave the newspaper a different account, claiming that Brady actually took a cell phone from Dennis Lennox, another attendee, and chucked it at his head. The Virgin Islands Daily News reported that police were called after a physical altercation. At first, Lennox declined to file a complaint against Brady saying that she only needed to issue a written apology and step down from her position.
But the paper reported that when Brady declined, Lennox filed a police report.
As for the location of the meeting, the chairman defended it. Canegata told the paper that he only held the meeting at the gun range because he works there and he has access to gathering space.
The newspaper reported that a corresponding meeting was also being held at a house on St. Thomas and that the two were connected via a phone line.
More than a dozen members of the committee met later, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported, and had a vote of “no confidence” in Chairman Canegata as well as “demanded” that the RNC finally rule on which of the competing delegate slates should be allowed to go to the GOP convention in July.
The Virgin Islands Republican Party is currently divided over whether or not to send the slate of elected delegates to the convention or another slate that was later picked by the chairman. The chairman believes that the delegates who were elected in March failed to meet requirements to be delegates. On Friday, the elected delegates filed a lawsuit against Chairman Canegata.