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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeCommentaryOpen forumVirgin Islands Not Nice

Virgin Islands Not Nice

Dear Source:

I am a Virgin Islander in disbelief of what I see every day. I was born and raised in this beautiful paradise that has potential to grow and uplift it’s people. I said “had” because it’s to late now in my opinion. I am watching this place slowly trickle away from our people. It saddens my heart because I cannot imagine a future for my children and grandchildren, or even future generations to come.

What are we doing as true locals, a community, and a country to maintain these islands for our people? We use to be majority business owners, deed holders, entrepreneurs etc. and now we are the minority in every aspect. What have our ancestors fought for if we are just going to give it all away for pennies. It’s seems like slavery is being reinstated in this territory. We are slaves to our ill will thinking patterns, beliefs in foreigners knowing more or better than us, we all are fighting one another instead of the common enemy taking away our islands.

We have deferred from teaching our children our true history that instills pride in our children about where they are from, to teaching foreign history. I say “foreign” because by definition, it did not originate here. What happened to Queen Mary revolting that paved the way for our now VI Ambassadors?

We have lost our culture due to the infiltration of all these foreigners visiting and returning to turn us against one another to prosper. We are missing the big picture VIRGIN ISLANDERS. We do not own and maintain many of the gas stations, grocery stores, banks, shopping centers etc. We are relying on foreign investors to come in the territory and dictate how things will be done in the Virgin Islands. They use bribes, lies, loopholes and distraction to take over these islands.

The Virgin Islands is slowly becoming the play ground for the rich with access to all the many cays and islands nearby to enjoy. The cost of owning a home has become so ridiculous that many people have to plan for a rental to maintain there homes. This is clearly because property values is being determined by all the vacation villa rentals constructed or converted within the past 10 years. Majority of the owners reside elsewhere while making anywhere from $2K to $10K a week.

The sad part is they do not pay taxes on that money earned and their houses are being assessed as a residential property rather that commercial. This acceptable behavior raises the values on homes and taxes of the average home owner not receiving that income. What is being done about this?

The politicians you fight amongst each other for sit in a room collecting ridiculous salaries and fail to address the real problems. Creating bills that gets nowhere and quarreling instead of putting the bigger picture into perspective. Every election you all complain and fight for who is best to turn around and complain that you should have not voted for them.

These issues we faced didn’t just started with this administration or Senate and it definitely will not finish with them. Let these politicians prove themselves. What happened to action speak louder than words? It’s a shame you can’t even be free to support who you want because of the fear that you will get backslashed by who is in power or lose your job. People are being placed in positions due to affiliation rather that experience and education. That’s why territory is in the state that it is. The U.S. is looking at the Virgin Islands as that one child that can’t do good and keeps living off their parents. We continue to cling to that 1900’s way of thinking and behavior rather than to face the reality that the young people have the will and power to restructure the future of the territory. Haven’t they proven themselves by fighting their way out of the old school mentality we have adhered to succeed in the real world.

How much examples do you need? They have become doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, sports athletes, to even world renowned musicians (Pressure Buss Pipes and Roc City). When will the elders start to procure and implement the road for these youths to walk on? After all, they are the ones stealing and involved in the rumored corruption.

The crime is high because the youths have no guidance, no teachings, no activities but yet they rude. They turn to what makes time for them. Crime!! There is no money for nothing yet enough money to steal ($6 million still missing and the library still is not functioning after the how many millions increase to the contract,) pay increases to loyal supporters with no education, and food sale employees to get a position for efforts during campaign.

All these EDA companies getting tax breaks but still shopping abroad instead of local, changing positions from permanent to seasonal to get rid of employees and not giving back to the community the way they should be. IRB is in shambles, holding up business license asking for documentation that was filed previous years that they lost. Auditing locals with minor returns while these large companies are not paying or not being audited. Now no tax returns. Can someone tell me if how IRB is operating is really legal?

Why is GERS being ran by incompetent people rather than downsizing and let a large investment firm manage the portfolio with weekly and monthly reports? This is why all the elderly can’t retire to let someone young and able into the job market to provide for their family now. What is being done about all these unregistered businesses by DLCA? All these contractors with no contractor’s business license hiring unregistered people not paying into the system and community. Building million dollar homes and not paying gross receipts. No coordination efforts by these agencies to crack down on all these issues as one unit because they all affect each other.

Taxes cannot be collected if they are not effectively staffing task force to properly document, penalize, and follow up with these organizations.

Please tell me why the government still has it’s hands in private sectors as they do in WAPA and the Hospitals Why can’t they structure a deal to private companies to operate these organizations with stipulations that they have to continuously hire train and maintain 90 percent or more local staff? This is to include managerial positions as well. Why is it that there is a separate scope of work for law enforcers and traffic enforcement?

Ordinary officers will not stay on the scene of an accident if no one is hurt than what is practiced in the mainland. With all these new proposed changes no one has talked about how it will restructure the Virgin Islands to address these issues.

Why is these politicians not noticing that the government needs to restructure? Why can’t the Virgin Islands mirror an actual city? Follow the organizational chart on a smaller level eliminating all there senators and unnecessary positions. Let each island stand on its own and apply for whatever additional funding it may need. Hold these politicians and thieves accountable. No arrest being made for government corruption.

People we needed to support each other. We locals do not support each other and quick to kick each other down. The reality is racism still exists. The foreigners come and support their own growing their race here, owning most if not all of the gas stations and grocery stores; taking over restaurants, real estate companies, vacation villas, beaches, and construction companies.

In the past I prayed that our people would get it together it now I pray for peace because we let our destiny for our people be scribed by others. The truth is many of you will be offended and take it personal and fail to see and address the truth. You all see it and know it deep within your souls, but will not acknowledge it due to your own self interests. Its called constructive criticism.

I am the voice of the unspoken, the scared, the few, the people.


James Brathwaite, V.I. Born and Raised on St. Thomas


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  1. They ACTUALLY put this content up? Wow, they must really feel like they got it all now, and that there is nothing that “locals” could ever do about it. You are on point James Brathwaite. Now consider that this scenario is duplicated in EVERY CORNER OF THE EARTH. Why? Afterall there must be some reason right? Can’t be coincidence in every Caribbean island, every single community where we reside = same exact scenario.

    Here is why – Deuteronomy 28 (entire chapter).

    There will be no uniting unless we come back to our God, the God of Israel. Who is Israel you ask? Better find out, or else you will continue scratching your heads.

    Also, please realize that the politicians are all financed by the same outside interests your refer too, because our people vote for who ever has the most expensive campaign.

    Hosea 4-6 – we are destroyed because we lack knowledge. What knowledge, the knowledge of who we are. Our history did not start with Queen Mary… it started with Abraham Isaac and Jacob..

  2. Why do you blame the foreigners when Virgin Islanders are being lazy, criminal, and non pro-active? Stop blaming businesses. Stop blaming slavery from 150 years ago. Stop having kids you can’t afford. Get to church. Get involved in the schools. Get a job or start a business. Tourism slows from crime. Crime is bad because of apathy and poor morals. Stop placing the blame game and look at our own USVI people!

  3. Hi James,
    Your letter is really moving. I see you care beyond words, with your life history, and what you are saying is so important and true.
    I wish there was an easy answer. I’m not entirely sure what that might be.
    After Irma, I see the people of St. Croix reaching out to help their neighbors, when they themselves need so much assistance now.
    I would say, please do not give up on your Island. Keep trust in people you know and those who are proving themselves. Right now, you and your neighbors are working hard for their neighbors in need. It is above and beyond, crazy humane zen goodness.
    I can only imagine.
    You are right to say there is enough local talent to get things done. To administer and run the island? Absolutely, why not?
    It is difficult (terribly downplayed adjective, needing to be an adverb) to assess/influence/change a government. You are correct that money has so much influence these days.
    Small steps help.
    Writing letters to the newspaper gets noticed. I noticed – 2000 miles away. That is the new power of speech you can harness.
    And you know; your own voice may not be enough. Get support. Your opinion is reasonable and believeable. Talk, write, draw, bite, scream! Communicate to get other people onboard.
    I wish I were there but have obligations to be elsewhere to caretake my elderly Mom. When I am able, I will join your beautiful paradise, which I have visited only once, and to which I will gladly transplant and be proud to call it my home.
    With great respect and best wishes.

  4. Although this article was posted on August 2017, It is still relevant today..
    I, too, thank you J. Brathwaite.
    I am one generation removed from a long history of family in St. Croix, with ties also in St. Thomas. My Mom came to the States for better job opportunities in the 40’s because (as told by her) her station in life limited her to either being someone’s wife or a seamstress. However, she was progressive and was able to enjoy a profession she loved and have a thriving family as well. Through her hard earn savings and family/friends ties, she was able to purchase real estate and build a home on St. Croix. I have been coming back and forth since I was a child.
    I have always loved St. Croix from the moment I first came to visit. I just say “it’s in my blood”. When I was younger I truly had plans to someday make it my home with my parents, Mom especially. Today as I am nearing retirement, I realistically, can’t seem to see it in my future. Over the years, the pattern was the same. The Elders who lived or returned, died out and the youth would leave for better opportunities whether it be for higher education and/or more secure jobs. Those who stayed around did so mostly for love of the island and also being able to prosper. Not many can return or don’t want to because what opportunities are available to them? In their place come other people who are looking for better opportunity for their children and/or as a gateway to the States. Then there is the group who see “island living” as a different way of living and have the financial resources to enjoy it.
    The Healthcare system has been less than desirable for the Islanders. It’s a major contention and why so many have to leave the island for better health services when a world class health system could (and still) be put into place with the amount of monies that have passed through the government. Was it a good idea to build a casino which the local residents could freely have access to, Really? That in itself, would NOT help to keep a healthy and thriving community. Which leaves all that you have stated as true and factual. If there was a strong and united community, it could be changed for the betterment of all. So, I will just simply state that time moves.

  5. I wonder if there are any surviving Ciboney, Caribs or Arawaks among us (a few original St. Croix tribes) that miss the good old days and rich pre-Columbus cultural history.

    I hear that the Caribs did not hunt humans for the purpose of providing food for their tribe. What they did was practice ritual cannibalism: They ate people or body parts ceremonially in order to absorb their spiritual and physical powers. Testicles, were considered to be especially empowering, so I heard.

    Personally, I have no desire to re-live “the good old days” of St. Croix, because I think it’s pretty cool that the United States sees fits to pump billion$ of FEMA and HUD USDs into the islands following hurricanes. I also like the idea that inhabitants of the US Virgin Islands have education and job opportunities on the US mainland enabling them to return to the USVI and make it better.

    Or maybe all of us should just pack up our stuff and move the countries of our ancestors’s origin (Ireland in my case), and leave St. Croix to the Ciboney, Caribs or Arawaks. Sound good?