Despite Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's expressed support for other aspects of the five-year economic recovery plan, Sen. Lorraine Berry says his veto of the tourism authority proposalpart of the five-year plan and advocated by scores of tourism professionalswas politics, pure and simple.
Speaking Thursday to Rotary East, Berry said she is increasingly convinced that former acting Tourism Commissioner Michael Bornn was let go because of his "dedication to tourism authority principles." Those include, she said, getting rid of unproductive political cronies in offshore offices that do little to promote V.I. tourism while draining hundreds of thousands of dollars from government coffers.
Berry said the Senate majority's policy agenda recommended revisiting creation of a tourism authority. "Hopefully, this indicates there are enough senators who will see the wisdom of the override."
Noting the governor's approval of Industrial Development Commission reforms, Berry said many senators lead the public to believe the Virgin Islands "gives away the store" through IDC legislation when in fact other competitors offer far more to lure investors and create new jobs.
She also told Rotarians that the Wrongful Discharge Law needs additional amendments.
"Here again, we have senators who strike fear into the hearts of the people by claiming the Wrongful Discharge Law is what prevents wholesale firing, when in fact it has led to investors' determination not to invest in the Virgin Islands," she said, thus denying the territory tax revenue and jobs.
Berry also said she would reintroduce the Child Protection Act, which calls for stronger punishment of rapists; she asked Rotarians to lobby for its adoption.