April 18, 2004 — Readers responding to a Source poll on the issue of the V.I. government's financial management overwhelmingly voted for federal officials to oversee the government's finances.
Seventy-seven percent of votes cast were either in favor of the Office of Insular Affairs appointing a chief financial officer, not from the territory, or they wanted federal officials to set up a control board.
Another 13 percent favored the plan set forth in a bill authored by Delegate Donna M Christensen to have the Virgin Islands governor appoint a chief financial officer, making 90 percent of voters in the poll in favor of some sort of control.
Not one person voted in favor of a financial review board appointed by the governor.
Five votes on St. Croix were cast in favor of borrowing more money. No one on St. Thomas or St. John thought borrowing was a good idea. And eight people, five on St. Thomas and three on St. Croix, said they would opt to ask the federal government to give the V.I. $1 billion to pay off its debt.
Seven people of the 455 readers who voted thought the V.I. would eventually solve its own financial problems and 13 thought a control board made up of local financial professionals who would oversee all expenditures could be the solution.
The poll was conducted over a seven-day period.
The question as posed and the total answers for each of the six options presented: Please choose which statement best describes your opinion about the best way to begin to get a grip on the territory's financial situation. If none of these apply, feel free to e-mail us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Ask the federal government's Office of Insular Affairs to appoint a chief financial officer, not from the territory, to oversee expenditures and to install a financial management system. STT 114, STX 75, STJ 17 = Total 206 (45%)
2 The Virgin Islands will eventually solve its own financial problems. There is no reason to change anything. STT 6, STX 1, STJ 0 = Total 7(2 %)
3. Create a financial control board made up of local financial professionals to be appointed by the Legislature. The board would oversee all expenditures. STT 9, STX 1, STJ 2 = Total 12 (3 %)
4. Call upon federal officials to create a financial control board similar to that imposed in Washington, D.C. STT 79, STX 55, STJ 12 = Total 146 (32%)
5. Look to local officials to establish their own controls, including the installation of a financial management system. STT 8, STX 2, STJ 1 =Total 11 (2%)
6. Borrow more money. STT 0, STX 5, STJ 0 = Total 5 (1%)
7. Ask the federal government to give the territory $1 billion to erase the territory's debt. STT 5, STX 3, STJ 0 = Total 8 (2 %)
8. Create a financial review board appointed by the governor that would work with the governor to develop a "five year financial plan." STT 0, STX 0, STJ 0 = Total 0 (0%)
9. Have Congress create an Office of Chief Financial Officer of the Virgin Islands with a CFO to be appointed by the V.I. governor and approved by the Legislature, per Delegate Donna M. Christensen's bill. STT 30, STX 25, STJ 5 = Total 60 (13%)
This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we feel that, as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory, the results are interesting and worth considering. And we hope that you will consider voting in future polls.
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