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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, December 2, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesThe V.I. Should Have a Different Role in the Prosser Fiasco

The V.I. Should Have a Different Role in the Prosser Fiasco

Dear Source:

I can understand the government having an interest in assuring that our only phone company should not come under pressure of shutting down. The government should, under these circumstances, find a way to keep phone service running as usual, regardless of the poor state of affairs Mr. Prosser has made for himself. What is not understandable is that the government actually is considering buying the communications companies. There must be other measures that can be taken, including the Public Service Commission's recommendation to the FCC that a receivership be in order. These are legitimate government actions and the government has a right to proceed in this way. Why should the answer to a private firm's fiscal shortfalls be a buyout? And it may even be unlawful.
The government's role is not to be a fail-safe for every major corporation that mismanages its assets, which clearly is the case is here, rather, the role of government is to ensure that the people do not fall victim to the pitfalls of poorly administered corporations, especially one that operates under the auspices of government law and regulation. Mr. Prosser made his bed and he, and he alone must lie down in it. If his actions caused the communications companies to be less than promised to the PSC, or if the people suffer from his gross negligence, then the PSC and the government's role is to prosecute him for not following the law that mandates he provide service under any circumstances.
This does not seem to be the case. Why would the PSC continually disregard federal law, the rural telephone regulations aside, and not force Mr. Prosser to either sell at a loss or face receivership? In a bankruptcy proceeding to protect assets, it is clear that those assets that are being protected are the root-case of the proceeding to begin with. The courts, and the government, have every right to force Mr. Prosser to make good his promises to the people of the Virgin Islands or face loss of those assets and the ability to do business here. I think Mr. Prosser knows this and is grasping at straws to not only get rid of the problem, but to actually make a profit on the deal. This shameful practice puts the users of his services, the people of the Virgin Islands, in jeopardy. It is up to the government, either the Virgin Islands government or the federal government, to intervene-not for a purchase but to ensure that there would be no loss of services, and that's it.
I believe that it is more prudent for the government to allow the bankruptcy court(s) to make a decision, let a receiver come in and attempt to sort out the mess, and let Mr. Prosser go away with his remaining assets. No matter how shrewd a businessman Mr. Prosser may be, he still has to answer to the vow he took, through the PSC, to provide communications services to the VI and not use the monies generated in the Virgin Islands to make even greater profits, from other ventures, which have nothing to do with communications in the Virgin Islands. That vow to provide services is sacred and lawful. Not keeping that vow may place the Virgin Islands in jeopardy. If that occurs, the government should not only disregard any offer from Mr. Prosser, but should consider prosecution for breach of fiduciary promise.
Paul Devine
St. John

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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