74.2 F
Cruz Bay
Tuesday, March 21, 2023


To the Source:
Concerning the V.I. Tourism web site: How was this project put out for RFP [request for proposals]? This should be public record. What were the responses, and what was the breakdown of services and associated costs by the vendors bidding on the project? Although they are public record, I am sure these documents will never see the light of day.
What was the rationale on selecting the vendor? When did the price negotiating take place — as part of the bid process, or as a post-selection, one-off negotiated affair? The buying power of this government is seldom used effectively. This is always most clearly seen in these nonsensical negotiated enrichment schemes that are so blatantly inane that they scream out "We can do better!" (Does anyone remember the confusion surrounding the HOVIC tax abatement negotiations/renegotiations or the $350 million central government building project?)
I agree with Terence Thomas [See Op-ed story, "Tourism web overpricing is all too typical"] on the high cost for hosting the web site: $50K for hosting seems outrageous. I am not in the hosting business, but I do understand information technology and telecommunications. There is currently a price war, given the excess capacity in telecom and the implosion of dot com companies. Exodus Communications is in terrible straits. Most CLEC’s [competitive local exchange carriers] and hosting companies are venture-funding constrained and have just experienced a meltdown of their customer base. At minimum, given the current environment, the government should be getting better pricing on hosting.
As for the other $700,000: We will just have to imagine whether we got a good deal, but I wouldn't bet on it. Rather, I'd like to know if this was one of those infamous "cost plus" contracts we love to negotiate? Was this another "put out the RFP, select a vendor and then negotiate for a price" affair?
I know the standard rebuff: Locals don't know anything. These are complex issues, and most op-ed articles are written by malcontents who don't have a full appreciation for the issues at hand. Yet, no one else is paying $750,000 for web site development and hosting. What is most unsettling about this entire affair is that absolutely nothing, I mean nothing, will change as a result of my words or the words of thousands of other readers, letter writers, hand wringers, distraught voters or apathetic non-voting residents.
This is what most thinking adults know all too well: Your voice does not matter in the Virgin Islands. The only voice that is heard is that of the permanent power elite. Unfortunately, I wasn't born into this club, so I am going to have to learn to keep my mouth shut. Either that, or take some Rolaids.
Michael Dixon
Beaverton, Ore.

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