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HomeNewsArchivesWhy Not Locate the V.I. Supreme Court In Frederksted?

Why Not Locate the V.I. Supreme Court In Frederksted?

Dear Source:
Please allow me to comment on the location of the proposed U.S. Virgin Islands Supreme Court. It should be located in Frederiksted. Undoubly this will sound radical or laughable to some. However, if the people and the government work on the bases of logic and on the principal of "what is best for the most people and the Virgin Islands as a whole for the long term" than this is a wise choice, concerning economic and development planning. Fact, Charlotte Amalia is overdeveloped, this should be a given for argument sake.
Recently, I was listening to the radio and heard a senator from the St. Thomas – St. John District state that all or most of the U.S. States have their supreme courts located in their capitals. He practically stated that it would be ludicrous to locate the supreme court on St. Croix versus St. Thomas. The Senator is correct that most states do have their supreme courts located in their capitals. However, what the good senator failed to point out was that most U.S. State Capitals are not the major commercial cities of those states – as Charlotte Amalia is to the Virgin Islands!
Contrary, most states' capitals are located in the economically depressed areas of those states and,thus located, helped those economies develop and thrive. Therefore, the real issue is: why not move the capital to Frederiksted: This would accomplish what community organizations in Frederiksted have been trying to do for "donkey years".
Capitals were not located in the most economically developed city specifically so the capital's location would help the economy of an under-developed or struggling region and avoid the dominant city from dominating the sate government. Some examples of state capitals being located far away from the dominate state's city or cities are: California's capital is not Los Angeles or San Francisco but is "in-land" Sacramento, New York's capital is not New York City (The Big Apple) but is "up-state" Albany, Florida's capital is not Miami but is kind of in "backwater" Tallahassee (close to Georgia's boarder), Pennsylvania capital is not Philadelphia but is Harrisburg, Texas's capital is not Dallas / Fort Worth or Houston but is Austin, Washington's capital is not Seattle but is Olympia, Oregon's capital is not Portland but is Salem, Illinois capital is not Chicago but is located in the center of the state in Springfield, Michigan's capital is not Detroit but is Lansing.
Internationally, developing countries have located their capitals in regions not developed at all in order to develop their economies in remote regions. The capital of Brazil moved from Rio de Janeiro on the coast and a new capital built from scratch in the interior of the country now called Brasília.
Think what would happen if the supreme court were located in Frederiksted. The staff and attorneys would have to spend money there (similar to the legislature now). The restaurateurs, hoteliers and shop owners should understand this. Perhaps the seaplane would return. Getting the picture? More people traffic means more business. Now, imagine if Frederiksted was the capital. The legislative branch and executive branch of government would be located there. This probably would definitely enable the seaplane to operate economically; perhaps a hotel or two built to accommodate the new commerce! This would also cushion the impact of the on-off effects of the cruise ship industry.
I am not for overdevelopment; however, I am for the existing business to have enough people traffic to sustain themselves and for the old buildings and empty lots historically rehabilitated. This will only happen if there are enough customers to warrant the investments.
If one agrees with this logic and principal of doing the most good for the Virgin Islands for the long term then why is Senator's Russell's endeavours to locate the supreme court in St. Croix not notably supported by more Senators and community organizations. Remember, "you only get what you work / fight for", and "real leaders lead – they don't follow".
Daniel F. Coughlin, P.E.
Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
West End, St. Croix VI

Editor's 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.

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