I have been observing a certain phenomenon in the community that is very interesting and troubling at the same time. It is my perception that there is a lack of a sense of loyalty and pride in matters affecting our community. This is observed across the board in the general population. I believe that to reverse this condition there need to be a concerted effort by all concern, particularly those in leadership positions. This includes parents, religious leaders, educators, community leaders and politicians. We are considering herein not who is a native Virgin Islander that is understood to be those born in the US Virgin Islands. We are considering herein those who love and contribute to the welfare of these Virgin Islands.
I believe we need to foster the development of personal pride in our families, in our community, in our nation, and ourselves. I do not think that a person can be loyal to any person or entity if one is not loyal to oneself. I agree with the saying: "Charity begins at home "
We must first have pride in ourselves, as creatures of a Divine Creator, then in our fellow creatures. Starting with the family of which we are a part, then our own family followed by our community and our nation. Many of the socio-political problems that we encounter in our community, I am told, and I tend to agree, are due to a lack of sense of pride in our community. Not being a sociologist or a psychologist I cannot present a professional assessment of the cited phenomenon, only a non-professional assessment.
I think that we need to develop a sense of national pride by being inclusive in our community. When we recognize all residents of goodwill who contributes to the development of our community are Virgin Islanders regardless of place of birth, race, color, ethnicity or any other natural or artificial particularity of the residents, we would have matured. When we include all our residents, in all spheres of our community life, we will become a stronger, more harmonious and progressive community. We will become a community that all residents can identify with and be proud of their community. When persons are proud of their community, they are willing to contribute more, to make sacrifices and to go the second mile in service. Would we want ours to be such a community? I hope you share that expectation.
We have to work to develop such a community where, the residents are proud of their community and it would manifests itself in the improvement and in the quality of community life. When residents have developed that sense of pride it will show in all areas in the community such as improvement of our standard from that of mediocrity to that of excellence. We would seek and select the best talents in our community and compensate them well for the professional services they render to the community. We should select and elect the best persons to represent us in government. All elected offices in our government are important and we should pay attention to the persons who we select and/or elect to those positions.
Presently there is a promotion to write a locally crafted constitution. What is the urgency? It is the personal ambition of a few politicians and others to satisfy their egos by saying they were involve in the writing of a constitution. How would the writing of a constitution improve the quality of life for the majority of our population? Many others and I believe the priority should be on improving our status, be having a defined status of our own choosing. We need to improve our status from an unincorporated territory to at least an incorporated territory, at the very least. For a more mature status, since becoming a state is not conceivable now, we could opt for a "Free Associated State" with the United States of America. This last option would satisfy the self-determination standard of the United Nations and recognize our own peculiar geographic location and cultural affinity with the rest of the Caribbean. We would be, as now, the USA presence in the Caribbean. We would be able to negotiate directly with our Caribbean neighbors, have our own immigration and custom laws among other benefits. We could retain the privileges of American citizens, even elaborate our own constitution.
We should have pride in ourselves and our community and work with others to improve our society for the benefit of present and future generations. May Allah-God have mercy on us and grant us the wisdom and the courage to do what is right for our beloved Virgin Islands.
J. J. Estemac
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