Here’s what’s on tap at the V.I. Legislature this week.
On Thursday, April 25, the St. Thomas community was enjoying J'Ouvert when the celebration was shattered by gunshots which injured three people. Public safety officials immediately canceled the remainder of J'Ouvert.
There continues to be a major "out of touch" element to the serious issues that impact the citizens who live on our small Island and the powers that be over on St. Thomas that make critical decisions.
Governor de Jongh is the first Governor who has established direct, regular and honest communication with St. John so this concern is not directed to him. He works hard in his attempts to get our needs met but it seems that he too has to carry way too much burden in working with his team to get action done.
I appreciate the good man and Leaders that Governor de Jongh is and the deep commitment he shows in listening to our issues-responding to them- in the best way he can in the system he has to work within.
My concerns are directed to our present system of Government that cannot truly represent the needs and concerns of the people of St. John.
Simply put- unless we have a more grass roots localized form of government on St. John made up of community leaders that has the power to identify our unique Island issues and solve them here-we will continue to spin our wheels...going to meeting upon meeting expressing many of the same needs yet finding so few solutions. It is as if these issues get swallowed into a "black hole" crossing Pillsbury Sound to Rock City never to be seen again until the citizens once again have to take up the issue in a another town Meeting!
The amount of consistently hard work and involvement in writing letters, calling Senators- the list is long-time consuming and a burden to the average citizen. We wonder what is it that our tax dollars are being used for. Don't we pay the Government to deal with the serious community needs that arise?
The more serious underlying concern is this: How can we continue to have faith in a Government system that makes so many of us responsible for carrying the burden- time after time-having to express our concerns on the same specific issues (wearing us down) creating problems to each of us that lives, works and resides here?
This erodes faith in democracy and we wonder why our voting public is so apathetic- why so few people come out to vote?
I had hoped that our Constitutional Convention would help fix an outdated system of Government that does not represent St. John's needs in either one "Senator-at-Large" trying to represent all three Islands needs to Commissioners who cannot truly understand the special issues that this small Island faces in the simplest issues like Police protection and run-away development. Sadly-there was not an acceptable document created that could bring us into a better form of representation. So where do we go from here? How do we move ahead in creating a more responsive grass-roots localized form of government? The lack of sound planning and knowledge of specific Island issue on St. John has created monsters like Sirenusa and Grande Bay-yet we continue to sacrifice environmental concerns and quality of life issues by individuals who cannot-do not know-our St. John Island issues...we continue to need to address our Youth's great need for quality Programs to deal with the escalating violence in our Community...there's road issues...dumpsters that look exactly the same as they did years ago-unsightly and embarrassing to anyone with community pride-even though we are putting out many tax dollars for the newly formed VIWMA. We want and need to see our tax dollars working for us.
Can these unconnected "dots' not be seen by those in power? St. John needs to feel and see that their needs are being met by the government that is suppose to represent them. We are weary and exasperated of talking about the same concerns and issues...year after year...Administration after Administration.
Can we have some leadership here in finding some real solutions in what we need to do- what is the process in changing this system of Government that does not work for the small Island of St. John?
Bonny Corbeil, St. John.