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Thursday, August 18, 2022
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WHAT'S CHANGED?

We have watched with disappointment as Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg has appealed repeatedly to his colleagues for support on his request for a review of the Public Services Commission's actions relative to V.I. Telephone Corp. phone rates and tax breaks, along with other questionable practices.
Since the 23rd Legislature was sworn in, Donastorg's requests have been summarily ignored, up to and including the petition he circulated this week asking again for a Committee of the Whole meeting on the PSC controversy. As of Wednesday, not one senator had signed the petition.
We wonder: What's changed?
After all, it was many of those same senators who voted unanimously in June 1997 to request a rate reduction from the V.I. Telephone Corp. in light of Vitelco's almost total tax ride. And again last October many of those same senators voted unanimously (three senators were absent) to convene the Committee of the Whole to review the PSC's dismissal of both the Senate resolution and the recommendations of the PSC's own consulting firm and legal counsel.
For the record, here are the senators who are still in office who voted with Donastorg to review the PSC's actions: Lorraine L. Berry, Adelbert M. Bryan, Roosevelt St. C. David, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Allie-Allison Petrus and Vargrave Richards.
Suddenly, those same legislators won't touch this issue — and we want to know why. We think the entire community should want to know why.
Donastorg — and we commend him for his guts and tenacity — suggests two possibilities, fear or greed. Are our senators being intimidated or purchased? Or is there some other explanation? If so, no one has come forward with it.
Senate President Vargrave Richards, one of the senators who voted both for a rate reduction and then for a hearing, says he doesn't have to call the meeting now because he's not bound by a vote taken by a former Legislature. To that we say, who cares? What does that have to do with anything? We're interested in him doing the right thing — not the mandated thing.
The majority of this community voted clearly last November against fear, greed and corruption. We hope those same voters will make their wishes known to the people they elected and send that message again — loud and clear. Call them. Write them. Demand action.
Finally, we would remind the senators who are ignoring a fair request by their colleague — indeed, a request they all supported a short six months ago — that they serve at the pleasure of the people. We think the people want answers. We think the people want action to protect their interests. And we think the people ultimately express their displeasure over issues such as this where it counts — in the voting booth.

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