86.8 F
Cruz Bay
Tuesday, October 4, 2022


There is one major thing wrong with this territory. It needs to be managed. The territory is not being managed.
I have worked many many hours in different areas of this community to help to bring about positive change – change that will empower people and move us to higher heights, but our elected officials seem to think that because they were elected by the people, they have all the answers to all the problems, and constantly ignore those of us, who work for this community just because we love it.
The document presented at the Legislature's Economic Summit from the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce has all the information needed to get us out of this mess, but the problem lies in the two areas that I will address in my comments.
First, the administration needs to understand that change is inevitable, and it is needed.
Second, we must insist that government officials develop the will to manage the changes when they do occur.
— Implementation of a compulsory automobile law, now.
— Seriously address the wrongful discharge issue by reforming the legislation.
— Pass a realistic annual budget, making it mandatory for the executive branch to live within the constraints of the budget.
— Implement a road tax on all users of the roads in the Virgin Islands even if the taxi drivers pay 50% of what the rest of us pay. It is the only certain tax that we may get.
— Government must have Public Relations experts who are clever enough not to have information on pay-cuts and pay increases appear in the press on the same day.
— The government is short on everything, supplies, vehicles, equipment, school books etc. therefore, reducing government then is left to those areas that must be privatized. I do believe that, over the years, enough has been said about that.
— To make an immediate impact on government's finances, the following changes must be made:
a) Payroll must be reduced and ALL hiring cease.
b) Reduction in payroll must come from pay cuts not layoffs.
c) Retirees should not be re-hired in Government.
d)Privatizing some areas in Government, thus reducing payroll, while the jobs will still be available.
e) Commissioners must be leaders – administrators must be managers
f) Government employees in leadership positions — . directors , administrators , managers. Supervisors must be retrained with the mind-set, which places emphasis on productivity.
g) Directors , managers, supervisors must be responsible and accountable for achieving the objectives set by their commissioners within the time line set for achieving these objectives.
h) When commissioners set objectives, they must contain certain components which would be used as a yard-stick to indicate whether the objectives are being achieved.
All over the United States "housing starts" is a main indicator that the economy is doing well. Housing is still the American Dream and everyone who has any sense of pride and forward thinking, tries to own a home. Here in the territory, unless you have 20% of the cost of a property you cannot own a home. Banks are finally lending money for raw land, but if one happens to get the down payment to purchase a piece of land, then what is the next step. It takes forever for them to get a building put on that land.
The banking industry is creating legislation that would help solve that problem. While I do not have all the details of the proposed legislation, I can tell you that the intent of the Bill is to make home loans available with a smaller percentage of the cost as the down payment.
Both of my sons own their own home in Atlanta, and this was accomplished because they could put down 5% of the purchase price.
This Bill is going to need the support of all segments of this community to get it passed, but I do believe that this could be another way to stimulate this economy. There are people in public housing who have been there since public housing came to these islands. Their parents, grandparents and in some cases great grandparents have all lived in public housing. I might add that some people in public housing are paying rents as high as some mortgages. The obstacle, in my opinion, is the lack of money for the down payment which have prohibited them from owning their home.
This territory has more studies than you can shake a stick at. What the authorities do with them is another story. I head the education cluster for the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce and we are making head-way, but I am concerned about the effort versus the implementation.
At this stage of life, I would rather spend some time combing the hair of a resident at Lucinda Millin Home, or telling kids about saving money, than doing another study.

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