Concerns About the Economy After COVID-19

Angel L. Bolques Jr.

The political views expressed here in this letter are solely mine in my private capacity as a concerned citizen of the Virgin Islands and may not in any way represent the views of any other citizen or public official in the Government of the Virgin Islands or other countries or governments.

A global economy reset is on the horizon. Whether economies can evade the new recession or not, the path back to growth/normalcy under a COVID-19 pandemic will likely be a long rough road. If the aftershock is a spike or lasts, or whether there is long-term damage, we are yet to know. Recovery will likely be one of the three shapes on the economic scale, V-U-L.

Every government in the world has put its economy in a deep freezer type coma to help meet the suppression requirements of the virus spread, the tricky part of this process is being able to unthaw [sic] your economy without freezer burns.

Before COVID-19, the Virgin Islands was experiencing a slight spike (economically) due to the infusion of federal disaster dollars, but now, the federal government will possibly be overwhelmed with the entire mainland, international issues and may not be able to accommodate our needs immediately. In addition, the banking/lending systems will likely have issues recovering from the impact and aftershock.

In my opinion, the Government of the Virgin Islands should plan to “prepare for the worst trajectories.” Bear in mind that a V-shaped recovery on the economic scale is a reasonable scenario conceptually and empirically, but we shouldn’t let that insight make us complacent.

GVI should begin looking past the crisis (scenario wise) and create a strategic plan focusing on many critical questions that our economy will face. What micro or macroeconomic effects will COVID-19 have on the Virgin Islands? What opportunities or challenges will arise? Consider how they will address “post-crisis” Virgin Islands. What technologies, processes and contingencies can we adopt or implement that were used in prior epidemics/pandemics?

There are a million questions that need to be answered, and we should start working on them yesterday.

Angel Luis Bolques Jr.

Concerned Citizen of the Virgin Islands

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