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Need for Local Island Government
Dec 4, 2009 - 12:12

Tis the seaon to be jolly but I don’t feel that way. A sense of hopeless seems to be pervasive. Why?

It is because I have absolutely no faith left in the possibility for change for our Islands under the present system of Governance.

I do not believe that a new Governor or new Senators can ever break through this thick dysfunctional system that has been in operation for many years now.

It is cancerous monster of bureaucracy with re-cycled people being moved from one position to another – year after year- administration after administration-often when they have already proven to fail in their previous role.

This system is old…badly broken…incapable of meeting the needs of it's constituents...top heavy with Administrators…and spends all of our monies on “too many Chiefs and not enough Indian” expenditures…there is so much talk…non-stop talk…we talk issues to death…then move onto the next problem and begin the talk process again.

There is rarely any action or timely solutions.

It has been proven to fail the people….time after time. It does not work.

It does not get the basic needs of each individual and each unique virgin island problems addressed.

Why do we not see and understand this?

You will not find too many people happy with the hoped for changes on St. John since Gov. de Jongh was elected.

I do not fault the Governor for this. I believe that he is a great man who is trying to work hard with a failed system of representation. Add 15 Senators to the mix-one at-Large from St. John who has to run from Island to Island to somehow balance the decisions made-and it only adds to the probability of failure.

An Island Administrator with no power -meeting with citizens over concerns then writing down problems then sending them over to St. Thomas to be discussed (yet again) does not work.

Have our roads been fixed? Do we have better parking on St. John? Do we have a striped centerline road yet? Why are our citizens left with the burden - time after time- meeting after meeting, testifying about the same problems that have plagued us for the last 10 years-yet get no solutions?

A lack of faith and hope by the people in Government is a very serious issue that can no longer be ignored. Something has got to change and soon. In impacts everyone-esp. our Youth who look to us to be positive role-models of change.

We do not need 15 Senators for a VI population of approximately 120,000 people. We do not need Commissioners with Assistant Commissioners who then have Deputy Commissioners and further assistance to once again organize meetings to discuss the (same) problems- once again and reach the usual consensus: we have no monies.

We do not need to spend $85,000.a year for salaries for each Senator who is elected to legislate laws- when many are not enforced (no money!) or appropriate money (no money!).

With every challenge comes opportunity to think outside the box.

There is an opportunity for someone in a leadership role to summon the courage within their hearts to address this issue.

Sadly, our Constitutional Convention failed us miserably- and we are in “the twilight zone” of "What now?".

Who will pick up this lead and become a true voice for the people of the Virgin islands?

In a letter I have written to individual Senators concerning my frustrations, I am being told that our Governor holds the power to create Island Councils on each Island- through Executive order to identify needs and find solutions on each Island by the individuals who live there.

Governor de Jongh, we need you to address this possibility.

Why can’t we have a Town Council on each Island dealing directly with Island issues-with an elected Council to solve problems directly? What can’t we have our own budgets?

There does NOT need to be another layer of Government…God Knows that is not what anyone wants!

All that we need to do is own the fact that our present system is an absolute failure. There are plenty of facts that support this.

I suggest anyone in our Islands that is absolutely tired with the lack of evident change still - to write every Senator as well as our Governor to ask for Leadership NOW in making the change that brings the power and control of each Island back to the people who reside there.

We know the problems…we have made suggestions for years on what is needed to make things better however no one is listening.

This is an election year. We have to find a way to get our voices heard.

Local Island Government must be at the top of issues that every person demands. There must be a referendum on this. Anyone who refuses to look at this issue just might be more concerned about self-preservation or in keeping their job and the status quo.

Those are the individuals that we should dismiss. We have far too many problems for these kind of individuals.

If not-we will continue to “spin our wheels” and get nowhere…like we have done for years and years now.

We will continue the downward spiral of a lack of faith and hope in Government.

We, the people, deserve so much better. Is anyone in power out there or up there listening?

Bonny Corbeil St. John.

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Yes Bonny, I lived in St Thomas and St Croix between 1978 and 1990. I saw lots of changes, but most of them were for the worst unfortunately. That's no way to run a Territory. The recycling of the same old people in a poorly run government always left me shaking my head! Who remembers Ruby Rouse and her antics in the Legislature? How about good old Roy Schneider, and Governor Juan Luis? There was corruption up and down the isle in those days and I'm seeing that not much has changed. I've read The Source and that other paper (for what it's worth really!) for a very long time to keep up with the goings on in the territory. I can't honestly say I'd ever tell any friend to visit the VI. That's really too bad, because it has it all over everywhere else as far as beaches, water, food, weather and sun. But the key ingredients, people who want tourists there, a much lower crime rate, a much better police department, a real tourism board etc etc...

My two cents