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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesEstemac Says V.I. Government Lacks Vision

Estemac Says V.I. Government Lacks Vision

Dear Source:
It is unfortunate that our representatives in the legislature are unable to think outside of the box. It is said without a vision the people perish. And we are experiencing the lack of vision in our representatives in government. We have to be realistic and assess our resources. The most important of our resources is the human element. If we would check the general census report we could get a fairly close idea of our actual population. We could also check with our own Department of Labor and get a fairly good idea of the workforce and persons available for work. We also could collect the data of the number of students graduating from high schools and the university and get an idea of the potential workforce. This procedure is not taking into account immigrants, legal and illegal. If our representatives in the legislature would just apply elementary research procedures they could avail themselves and the general public of useful data on which wise decisions could be made; that would be a good thing.
In the absence of solid data, these representatives and some sectors of the public engage in speculation and repeat ad nauseum trite cliché. We need jobs for our population, our permanent population, but we need to find jobs to mach the skills of the available workforce. It is not any and every jobs being created can be filled by the local workforce. Therefore we have to qualify the type of job that is to be created to meet the needs of the population. It is true we can train some in the workforce to meet the qualification for some jobs, which takes time on money. Many investors do not have too much of either commodity. Therefore it is up to the government, our elected and appointed representatives to provide the training to our workforce that would meet the requirements of the enterprises that we are inviting or attracting.
In government services we observe a phenomenon, wherein there have been the need to keep certain key persons in different government agencies beyond their term, beyond their retirement. That should not be, it does not have to be that way if we are more visionary and prepare for the eventuality of a persons retiring, taken ill, die or being transferred. We hear a lot of complaint about people being recycled and not giving the young people a chance at a job. That is true because we do not prepare subordinates for upward mobility; therefore they are not ready to assume the positions. It is understood that not everyone like change. Some people prefer status quo to the challenges of something new or different. But for those with the ambition to advance, to progress every opportunity should be given for them to progress. They should be prepared for the next step in their job or career. The senior employee should be required to prepare the junior employees for promotion. I understand that is not the case because of too many of the senior employees are insecure in their jobs and are afraid a younger subordinate may replace them. All of these anomalies are to the detriment of the proper functioning of our government.
There are many departments of government that are short staff because of retirement, death or transfers. The services to the public suffer because of the shortages. The legislature seems oblivious to these facts and their responsibilities in correcting the problem by instituting adequate policies in the form of laws to address these situations. An area where this situation is critical is in the law enforcement sector of the government. In whichever department you visit, where there are suppose to be enforcement agents, with peace officer status or not is short staff, thus the job hardly gets done. Whether we review the Police Department, DPNR, the Justice Department, the Health Department, the VI Lottery, etc. These agencies of the government are short staff for whatever reasons, foremost is the alleged lack of funds, in spite the alleged surpluses. If we were to review the available work force, keeping in mind the population census per district of about 56,000. Of that population if we were to break it down into categories: A large percentage are senior citizens and minors, there is a large number of working age already in the private sector that leaves a very small number of the population available for employment in government service and in particular in law enforcement. In a previous article wherein I made recommendation for reorganizing the VIPD, I suggested that we employ Police Auxiliaries to assist the regular police.
For the other law enforcement agencies I would suggest the hiring of able body retired law enforcement agents who reside in the territory on contract, as a transitional measure. As more persons become eligible for the job the contract personnel could be phased out. It does not take rocket scientists to come up with solutions to our problems; it takes will and courage with some imagination. If our legislators would employ qualified researchers to work for them they would do a better job on the floor and off the floor. It has become all too apparent that the escalation of violent crime in our community is of concern to most of our residents. But our elected representatives seem to be in a different world, they seem oblivious to the concerns of the residents concerning the state of criminality in the community. We do not see nor hear them having any hearings to address such a serious problem that affects the quality of live in the community. We are all conscious of the executive branch failure to adequately address the escalating crime problem in the community, in spite Governor Turnbull's statement that he intended to following former Mayor Giuliani of NYC strategy of enforcing all laws even the petty laws. That was a promise never kept. I never believed it so it did not console me. But that would be the proper strategy to implement with the proper leadership, which we all know is absent.
It is left to the citizens to empower themselves and demand that these representatives in government pay attention to our clamor for relief from the lawlessness that we are allowing in our beautiful Virgin Islands. Are we succumbing to criminals and criminality in our community? Are we going to allow evil to triumph over good? What excuse would we give to our young people for our inaction, our indifference, our incompetence? I presume many of us have heard the saying silence is consent. So when good people see wrong and do nothing who can they blame? When the good Lord ask what did you do to save my children what would your answer be? There are religious groups and structures all over this community and for the most part ineffective in causing a reduction in crime and evil in the community, that is telling. May Allah-God rise up a new people, even if they are not from these, to save the next generation, since this one appears to be already lost. The Scriptures says God could cause the rocks and trees to serve him if we humans refuse. May Allah-God have mercy on our souls.
J.J. Estemac
St. Thomas, VI

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