ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE?

Recently, a V.I. newspaper carried two pages of articles calling for more jobs. The primary subjects were V.I. economy, government deficit, casinos and industry. Simplistic growth economics — more is better as tomorrow's inflation will pay for today's excess.
The next day, an editorial bewailed the degradation of our environment and a headline begged the question "Who will stop the killing?" The second headline was "State of the Territory."
Careful study of these articles reveal a labyrinth of hypocrisy and paradox created by well-intentioned individuals too used to glossing over the hard issues.
The editorial dealt with prostitutes, drug addicts, homeless people and the sensitivities of our "citizens." The crime article indicated at least 30 people under age 25 killed in the past three years. The State of the Territory called for more tourists.
This is a clash of opposing dynamics! We are a finite land mass. We are rural by distance between our islands, and from our mother country. We are urban by number of people per square mile. We are ill-educated in relation to our national standard. We are extremely wealthy in relation to our Caribbean neighbors. We are very poor in relation to our nation as a whole and the tourists who flood our streets. Finally, overcrowding + insecurity = stress = violence = pain, suffering and death.
Gov. Ralph Piewonsky attempted to address this problem by sending Tom Blake and Ed Phillips to Harvard for graduate degrees in city planning. They developed the "General Physical Plan for 1980" — tabled to death by the Maduro Legislature.
He then hired one of the world's foremost community planners. Several Legislatures took this effort down the primrose path of obfuscation into political expedience.
In fact, our senators religiously choose political payoff in lieu of logic, reason, and socioeconomic principles. Community planning has become an old wife's lament.
Under the Farrelly administration the V.I. Development Act was proposed, massaged, proposed, massaged – to death. Again, government opted for political expediency — living for the instant with no regard for the future.
An example is the filling of the flood plain along Turpentine Run. The flood plain manager for Planning and Natural Resources apparently stuck his head in the dirt of politics, accepting his biweekly paycheck while allowing rampant environmental degradation. The landfill, higher than the public road, will cause flood waters to destroy the highway, costing millions of dollars to replace and isolating the East End.
How many people can our islands sustain — in an environment both physically and mentally healthy so crime and violence is not a given? In an environment that will encourage wealthy tourists, who will spend money on first-class facilities and high-caliber service, to visit us? In a community dedicated to educating our people to a superior standard in order for them to command above-normal pay so they can earn a high standard of living? With a government which can meet and surpass our needs within our ability to pay? So we can have an environment WE want to live in and enjoy!

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