First of three parts
I made a mistake.
When I testified before a congressional subcommittee field hearing on St. Croix in July, Delegate Donna M. Christensen asked me if I believed that a lack of resources has led to some of the environmental threats that our territory faces. I answered that I believed that this lack was a part of the problem.
I was wrong. If anything, our local government has demonstrated that it has an abundance of resources. With administration salaries skyrocketing and news that corruption is rampant, it is apparent that lack of will, not lack of resources, is the problem. This lack of will has led to an environmental catastrophe.
The government has claimed that the Golden Rock sewage leak has been repaired. If there are no resources, how could this repair have been effected? What about all of the other areas of sewage bypass? Does the government have the ability to repair these? I have waded through the sewage. I became very ill after being hit by a sewage spray at Campo Rico. I was there taking photos. It is not pleasant.
What about our solid waste crisis? The government has exceeded the time constraints that it placed on itself. If there were a will, there would be found a way to solve this crisis. We still have a non-compliant landfill.
This government has demonstrated that it has no problem spending money. It spends freely on salaries and consulting contracts. It does not need more money. In fact, I call the government spending here "shore-leave economics."
A final analysis of this government's spending is almost impossible to accomplish. Why? This government cannot even effectively determine how much it has spent.
How can this problem be solved? I will address that in my next column.
Editor's note: Bill Turner, executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, was formerly a teacher and vice principal at the high school level in Puerto Rico.
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