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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Governor Schneider had the Prosser deal. Senator Magras had VITELCO. A handful of VI Legislators had Zufreitenhoit (Magens Bay). The landscape of the Virgin Islands is littered with carcasses of politicians who failed to hear the concerns of constituents. Will the contemplated WAPA deal be the historian/Governor’s political Waterloo?
WAPA has long been the focus of political opportunism, and given our present financial dilemma the sale of this key government asset is a truly inviting target. So why all the clandestine maneuvering, non-competitive negotiations and inevitable leaks? And are there leaks – making WAPA's water lines look good by comparison.
Of many rumors the most troubling is the "blank check." For approximately 100 million dollars, and the promise of no rate increases for two years, SEI will be forever exempt from regulatory oversight – allowing them to raise rates as they determine prudent. Can our Government negotiators be so shortsighted? 100 million will cover four months payroll – be gone for good, and SEI will have achieved the ultimate business coup – an unregulated business monopoly. Let's hope this is not the case and that details of negotiations are soon forthcoming from responsible parties. The political future of the incumbent Governor could well be determined by his ability " to heed the lessons of history or be doomed to repeat it."
Editor's note: Bob Mathes is a former Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and WAPA Board member. He is now a private consultant and businessman.

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