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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


To the Editor:
With eyes focused on WAPA, ears turned to the talk shows and our brains trying to decipher truth from fiction, it's decision time. After months of speculation about whether to sell or not to sell, the matter is before the people. Public hearings, Senate debates and backroom pressure are the order of the day.
In the Virgin Islands, even easy decisions are argued, scrutinized, criticized and in some cases demonized. Yes, we have our talk show junkies with opinions on everything, our issue exploiters who circle like vultures over a wounded animal, and lastly our conspiracy theorizers who see the devil in every deal. But what we also have is a silent majority that is smart, quiet and reserved. This is not to be confused with apathy, a term mistakenly used in our last election. This large segment of our population is frustrated by those who presume to speak for them, who regularly use the media irresponsibly, and who could care less about whom they injure while promoting devisiveness that keeps driving a wedge in our sense of community.
As with the WAPA issue, a simple offer of purchase and partnership has evoked charges of corruption, racial prejudice, a return to slavery, a white conspiracy, illegal negotiations, hidden agendas and the like. These claims are made daily by what appears to be a vocal minority.
We as a people are very capable of weighing the pros and cons of an issue. We as a democracy have a well-established system of checks and balances to prevent abuse and a court system to right a wrong. Reasonable debate and discourse can achieve good results. Character assassination and libelous innuendos can confuse the issue, leading us to bad decisions and costly consequences.
The silent majority will prevail, but when? Let's start now with the WAPA issue. Talk to your neighbor, your friends, your senators and your family. Let them know where you stand, and trust me: The right decision will be made.
Andrew Rutnik
St. John

Editor's note: Andrew Rutnik, Licensing and Consumer Affairs commissioner, a member of the WAPA board and a member of the governor's WAPA sale negotiating committee, writes here as a private citizen.

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