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Cruz Bay
Monday, July 22, 2024


Some days I just don’t know. Reading or hearing VI news can make me feel like I am manic depressive. One moment I am thrilled with the good news I read or hear, while the next item sends me plummeting. Life in the Virgin Islands seems schizophrenic at best, but we do get it right sometimes, somehow.
We seem to understand what decisions need to be made and we sometimes make them; then we bounce back and change it if a special interest group protests long and loud enough. Are we leaderless in the true sense of the word? Should we give up on the Virgin Islands? No! So many good things seem to happen, along with the bad, that I believe we still have lots of good thinking people here and our day of improvement is still on the horizon . . . its just waiting to happen, isn’t it?
Let’s look at recent happenings:
• Our leaders join forces to put us further in debt, not (as we would hope) to permanently address our problems, but just to delay our day of reckoning. The bond issue perplexes me. I am not an economist, but I imagine what we are doing is somewhat like if I were to max out my credit card because I spend like there is no tomorrow, then to correct this problem, instead of changing my champagne taste, I borrow to pay my debts and maintain my champagne taste on a beer budget. Someone please help me to understand how adding to our territorial debt is in my best interest. As Brownie says, "Lord send help!"
• The VI Taxi Association donates more than $50,000 to purchase an ambulance for our beleaguered hospital. I am truly amazed by this donation; remember taxi drivers are not multinational corporations, they are small businessmen and these are hard times. This tremendous contribution and much needed donation kinda wipes out all the negative feelings I have toward our local drivers and how they conduct business, particularly when they don’t pick up locals or stuff tourists in like sausage in their oversized vans at our airports . . . at least for a while. Taxi drivers, thank you; the life you save may be mine. I am eternally grateful!
• Post Auditor Campbell Malone tells us that the FY-2000 revenues projected by the Budget Office are overstated by more than $130 million. If this is accurate, how on earth does this happen? I get anxious about this, because if allotments are given to department heads in accordance with these inflated figures and they spend up to or over their max, vendors will continue to remain unpaid as has happened in the past, and services will continue to suffer, like no drivers licences issued because of lack of supplies (imagine trying to explain with a straight face an expired license with a receipt attached that makes it valid…. at an off-island rental car counter. However, this is the least of the problems caused in government due to a lack of vital supplies.) How does this over projection occur with professionals reviewing past revenues and projecting the new ones? Is it that the gap will be filled with money from the bonds? If so, does this mean we will get another loan in FY-01 to make up an even larger deficit?
• Rotary Club has donated four or five dolls that were developed to help teens understand the difficulties and challenges that parents face in caring for infants 24 hours a day. I applaud this one more good work of Rotary. I am positive that the proper use of these dolls and the program that comes with them, will reduce our teen parenting birth rate at Bertha Boschulte Junior High School. Donations to prevention programs like these are perhaps even more important than granting individual scholarships to kids. This particular program allows large groups of kids to succeed and develop without the additional responsibility or early parenting and what that entails. Great contribution Rotary!
• Three VI students attended a Violence Prevention Workshop in Washington, D.C. Their acquired expertise is badly needed here, as we read about the one young man killed at the Central High Complex and another teen possibly facing a permanent future in jail.
• Another happy moment: seven St. Croix students who in 1991 pledged to attend college in a program sponsored by the Sidney Lee Foundation, are now full time students at UVI. Sidney Lee is making a difference in the VI, perhaps one that is even more valuable than the contributions he made while a Senator.
• The Independent newspaper has twice in four or five weeks informed the public that the rape victim in a case was the child or stepchild of the perpetrator. While normally this paper does not print the name of rape victims, they do not seem to realize that saying the victim is the daughter or stepdaughter of the perpetrator is tantamount to releasing the name. Independent, please correct this in the future. It really does not matter that she is the child of the perpetrator when you report on his conviction. Thanks.
• Interior has revised the MOU to change the matter of having our local labor law be compatible with the federal. This occurred, I heard, after national and local labor leaders met with the staff at the White House. Labor has long been a major lobbying force on the national and local political scene. Will this ever change to a policy of what is in the best interests of all rather than a vested few? I think not.
• Two young girls (one of them the exact age of my daughter) walk through a short cut and one is raped. My heart goes out to the girl and her family. It’s just not right that our young children should be hurt, frightened and permanently scarred. We need to fight to make sure that our children remain innocent; it is their birthright. This act, once again, raises a savage side of me that I control…it just sets me to thinking as to what I could do to the perpetrator if I had a good chance, but then reality takes over…….
• Our Tourism Commissioner is changing again; was this really needed? Was there no other way to resolve this matter? I don’t know what all went into the decision making process, and will probably never know, but I do know we really need people with fresh ideas and approaches to run Tourism, among other things. What a shame this could not have been worked out to the better for all of us.
We have seen so many ups and downs in the last few months that I feel I am on a seesaw. Will we ever get on an even keel and collectively work toward a planned future to become a healthy viable economy again? History will tell; I hope it is kind.
Editor’s note: Catherine Lockhart Mills of St. Thomas, a former Human Services commissioner, holds a master’s degree in social work and is a regular columnist. You can send comments to her on the articles she writes or topics you would like her to address at source@viaccess.net.

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