The people of the Virgin Islands are lucky to have Donna Christensen as V.I. Delegate to Congress. As the recent article titled "Christensen Challenges NY Times Editorial" pointed out. Delegate Christensen was ready to challenge the NY Times parochial thinking.
If the NY Times "covers the world," as they are so proud to proclaim, they do so from a New York-centric point of view. This limited, parochial position prevents them from seeing the full panorama of life and death issues that other communities face. The people of the U.S. Virgin Islands share a commonality with communities like Miami and especially Orlando in their desperate need of maintaining the highest level of security in the protection of the tourism industry and thus their economic survivability.
Tourism dollars serves as the underpinning for the islands' economy and feed the government coffers, which provide for the needs of so many citizens. The circulation of cash flow created by tourism is essential for a vibrant, independent economic system. These dollars arrive by way of the territory's ports, which must be protected.
Port Security funds cannot be simply viewed from a cargo tonnage standpoint, as New York City views it, when it is the "cruise ports" that are so highly vulnerable that just the rumor of a terrorist attack can result in the elimination of this community revenue-generator.
The citizens of the territory have chosen wisely not once but twice! You have also managed to retain the excellent services of Sen. Lorraine Berry, for many years a true leader in the area of homeland security for the Virgin Islands. It was her tireless effort as chairman of the Senate homeland security committee that resulted in the modernization of the territory's homeland security response capabilities.
Once the port is made secure and the Health Department joins with VITEMA [V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency] in the creation of a bio-terrorist plan inclusive of logistical staging areas (LSAs) and points of distribution (PODs) for inoculating the people of the islands, the territory will finally be made safe.
Delegate Donna Christensen and Senate President Lorraine Berry have helped to make the people of the Virgin Islands safe. You have chosen well.
James L. Bernier
A 25+-year emergency manager with roots to Frenchtown
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