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Charlotte Amalie
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HomeNewsArchivesVisiting U.S. Service Ships Bypassing Territory is Missed Opportunity for GOP

Visiting U.S. Service Ships Bypassing Territory is Missed Opportunity for GOP

May 8, 2006 – In January 2005, I wrote a letter describing how the Republican leadership assisted the Democratic governor with the tax benefits the Virgin Islands receive from IDC/EDC. In that letter I stated "it is great that communication between the governor and at least one Republican leader has begun; and let us as a community hope that Mr. Redfield's involvement with the IDC/EDC benefits us all and not just the business he works for."
I further stated that "only time would tell if Mr. Redfield and other Republican leaderships would continue to step up to the plate."
My letter was written over a year ago, and while I personally believe that the local GOP has not stepped up to the plate; you be the judge.
Once again, the window of opportunity to benefit these Islands has been slammed shut due to the inactivity of the local GOP; thus, the main purpose of this letter.
I bring up this issue because the U.S.S. George Washington and the U.S.S. Stout are scheduled to be in the Caribbean for two months.
Although the Virgin Islands is not on the official itinerary as a stop for these ships, the Virgin Islands could have requested to be placed on the itinerary via the local GOP.
With a Republican president and a Republican controlled House and Senate, this could have been a time to use the same political clout used to protect the IDC/EDC tax breaks for the very company that employs some of the local GOP leadership. What a great opportunity it would have been for the Virgin Islands to host these historic ships.
Like other opportunities to bring in resources to the territory, it appears that the local GOP is sitting silently.
This is similar to a situation that occurred a few years ago when the Northeast Leadership Conference was scheduled on the island of St. Croix. The conference was cancelled because the Republican leaders felt it would not be appropriate for them to be enjoying the sun, sand and sea since the U.S. had just invaded Iraq.
Although this rationale seemed reasonable at the time; since then, no effort has been made to reschedule the annual conference on St. Croix.
The mainland rhetoric maintains the standard mantras of buy American and support American. If these mantras are sincere, how in the world could these ships be in the Caribbean for two months and not visit the territory at least once?
Are the Virgin Islands not a part of the U.S.? Does being a U.S. possession not count for something? Although, I am a resident of St. Thomas, my displeasure stems from the fact that these ships could have stopped on St. Croix and could have acted as a catalyst for bringing back other cruise ships to the island.
Amazingly, all three leaders from the Republican Party (National
Committee Man, National Committee Woman, and the State Chair) are from St. Croix; yet, we see no action on their behalf for St. Croix. Do they really care about its people and its depressed economy? You be the judge!
While I could go on to other points of concern, I will stop with this issue and ask you to judge. Ask the local GOP what their view is on this and on other issues that affect our islands to get the conversations going. Maybe, just maybe, we will see leadership emerge, or at best a twinkling of community-focused action that benefits us all.
The local Republican leadership, as well as other leaders in the community, should realize that failure is not the worst thing. The worst thing is not trying to help the people of the Virgin Islands when you know what the problems are and you have the ability to make a positive difference. One final note to all Republicans, June 2005 was the last territorial meeting and the bylaws call for four meetings a year, is this justifiable or mis-leadership? You be the judge.

Editors note:We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.
Editor's note: Lawrence Boschulte, a Republican, is the chairman of the St. Thomas-St.John Board of Elections.

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