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Alexander A. Farrelly dead at 78

By John Collins (1)

Two-term governor of U.S. Virgin Islands died September 10 in Virginia after long illness.

Photos:© Nina York

Alexander A. Farrelly, the first elected Democratic governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), died Sept. 10 at his home in Arlington, Virginia. Farrelly had Parkinson’s disease and died after a long illness. He was 78.

A native of St. Croix, Farrelly served as the territory’s fourth elected governor from 1987 to 1995. A former senator and judge as well, he was the only governor to have served in the legislative and judicial branches as well.

Well known throughout the Caribbean, Farrelly started his legal career in New York as a Caribbean specialist at the United Nations with the old Decolonization Committee. There he prepared studies evaluating the constitutional, economic, social and educational development of the territories in the region administered by France, Great Britain and the Netherlands as well as the United States.

A graduate from both St. John’s College in New York and Yale University Law School, Farrelly returned to the USVI in 1962 to become an assistant attorney and in 1965 was named a judge by the late Gov. Ralph M. Paiewonsky.

He ran for the territorial legislature in 1966 and was elected by the largest vote ever amassed in the territory until then. Later he was to run unsuccessfully for governor three times before being elected in 1987. Since the USVI has term limitation on the office of governor, Farrelly retired after two terms.

Farrelly was elected president of the USVI Third Constitutional Convention in 1977 and served as general counsel of the Fourth Constitutional Convention in 1980. Both efforts failed and the territory is still governed by a Revised Organic Act of the U.S. Congress.

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1) Other articles by the well known Caribbean author John Collins can be read at:

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September 17, 2002


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