82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, December 4, 2023


If there’s one thing teen-agers and twentysomethings know something about, it’s cars -– how much they cost, which ones are hot, that kind of thing.
So it was interesting to hear so many young Virgin Islanders who were home for the holidays this year scoff at the high cost of so many government vehicles.
Why, we were asked more than once, do so many V.I. government officials drive expensive -– and probably fully loaded — four-wheel-drive vehicles?
When we started looking around, we realized the questioners were right.
Why, indeed, does the director of the Office of Management and Budget need a costly four-wheel-drive vehicle? Or the Finance commissioner? Or the heads of other agencies whose work doesn’t require them to drive up and down unpaved, treacherous roads? Granted, a few of them may need vehicles like that in the 48 hours or so after a hurricane, but is it worth spending that much money on the off-chance that a bad storm will strike us?
These are the kinds of symbols that say something about a government’s commitment to belt-tightening.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull has said he intends to cut the cost of the government vehicle fleet and curb vehicle abuse. To that we say hooray.
But as part of that exercise, we hope he’ll take a close look at who’s driving what and analyze the cost and use of the government fleet.
It’s time to determine whether it’s really essential for each official or department to have a particular government vehicle, how much could be saved by downgrading to dependable but less-costly models, and whether we should institute a mileage-reimbursement system instead of maintaining a government fleet that we can’t afford.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.