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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Something Stinks

Dear Source:
I agree with Dena Langdon that something stinks in this Prosser/PSC connection. What really bothers me is that an agency of government, the very agency that controls utilities in the entire Virgin Islands, cannot establish a quorum. This is unconscionable for a commission that can, by its very utterances, control our lives. The Public Services Commission is charged with many important decision-making obligations: our electric rates, telephone rates, inter-island travel and many other issues concerning any individual or company that wishes to serve the peoples of the Virgin Islands. To not have the PSC meet immediately on such an important issue as the transfer of the phone services in the Virgin Islands, smacks of collusion and stinks to high heaven.
As many know, Jeffrey Prosser, owner of several VI corporations, including our only phone company, has been having a multitude of problems in court having to do with bankruptcy. Last week a federal judge made the final order of a takeover of the phone company by a designated trustee. The PSC objected to this move as being "premature". Why? The phone company operations were unstable under the Prosser administration. He owed millions in debt and has tried desperately for years to get out of the court proceedings to not avail. He has earned shamefully large income while being bankrupt. One would think that the PSC would move quickly and assertively to make sure that the people of the Virgin Islands have a stable, secure company that can handle the day-to-day operations of our phone system. It seems that Prosser will never get out of this mess, so it is incumbent upon the PSC to make sure that we have our phone lines operating without interruption and without a bankruptcy of a major player in our lives looming over our heads.
Since the PSC is a government agency, can't the Governor or legislature do anything to remove members of the PSC who fail to show up? The PSC is a major commission that has the power to set electric rates, phone rates and even how much we pay for transportation. So important is their power that they can affect our ability to live normal lives by regulating burdensome and costly utility rates. We need a PSC that meets regularly and has the will to take on the important issues that affect us all. One would think that the governor would force these people into action!
That is not the case however, because the PSC has literally refused to meet with the court-appointed trustee. The trustee has been appointed because the court felt that the phone company was in dire need of management takeover. As the trustee is the new management for our only phone system, the PSC should be pounding on the trustee's door to make sure the people have the system operating smoothly. The reverse is true and this speaks volumes about the PSC's involvement with the Prosser regime. And why isn't there competitive phone companies in the Virgin Islands? How is it possible that, although federal law disallows monopolies of communications companies, we still have a monopoly here? Why has the PSC continually denied other phone companies from setting up shop here in the VI? It seems to me that the PSC, a government agency, has been finding excuse after excuse to keep Jeffrey Prosser in power? Why?
Governor deJong, please step in and sort this mess out. Perhaps we need new PSC members-members who are willing to make the bold moves to keep our very economy safe from persons who would suck us dry. Is it possible that when the PSC finally wakes up it will make its bed while Prosser helps with the pillows?

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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