There have been various voter registration days and locations set up by the Boards of Elections. (See "Voter registration on St. John" for locations and dates territorywide.) Voters need to vote responsibly. It is time to change our government.
The purpose of the government in a capitalistic democracy it to provide the services to the citizens that they cannot provide for themselves as individuals — such as police protection, fire protection, protection against foreign enemies (probably not needed in the V.I.), general health systems such as environmentally sound disposal of solid and sanitary waste, an economic environment that provides incentive for business to survive and prosper, construction and maintenance of public works facilities required to accomplish these services such as buildings, highways, treatment plants, etc., and an education at least to the level required to participate in capitalism to the degree necessary to support oneself and possibly a family.
The bottom line is a feeling of security and the possibility to better oneself.
The form of government that we enjoy (and direct by voting if we care to) is made up of three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. All three must be focused on the ideals and philosophies that we the voters want, or we vote them out, right? That is, if we are educated and informed well enough to make decisions that are in our own best interest. We do not vote for the individuals in the Judicial System, but we do control by vote the individuals who appoint them.
What are the issues that we should be concerned with?
Police: Recently there have been monumental improvements in this area; let's keep them going.
Fire: Seems to function okay, as do several other offices and departments.
Environmental health: Paradise is drowning in its own sewer. According to news reports, the Puerto Rico government is concerned that overuse by divers and snorkelers is damaging the reefs of Culebra. Do you know that snorkelers have to take a 45-minute boat ride to snorkel because pollution has long since killed off all of the reefs and reef fish around Puerto Rico itself? The more of us there are in Paradise, and the more trash we throw into the landfills and ocean waters, the quicker this will happen to us.
Economic health: The government is meant to create an economic environment that we can survive, thrive and prosper in. We need to begin a transition to the philosophy that the private sector not only is the generator of money for the government to function but also creates the financial well being of the citizens. The government's role and responsibility is to provide services, not to provide employment or financial well being to its citizens.
Public works facilities: Every four years, like a natural phenomenon, the bush on the sides of the roads is cut, and the litter is picked up, while the decay of our public facilities continues at an embarrassing rate due to lack of maintenance. This ends up costing millions and millions of dollars and reduces the quality of our daily lives. Why do we tolerate it?
Education: Does our educational system have a mission statement? If so, what is it? Is it being accomplished? if not, why not? A good education is available to every child in the Virgin Islands whose parents can afford private school. Why do the rest have to start life at such a great disadvantage?
Know how the people that you vote for stand on the issues — and specifically what they intend to work hard to accomplish, and how they intend to do it.
Do not vote for any incumbent who did not put a full effort into getting a "Numbered Seats" system in place before the elections. If the system is not in place before the election, do not vote for any candidates who will not pledge to put the system in place as soon as they are elected.
It takes only 4,000 to 6,000 votes to elect a senator in the present system. Use your vote wisely. If you only recognize one senatorial candidate that you believe has our best interest at heart, vote only for that one. Every other vote that you cast will be a vote against that one you truly want to support.
Because of the current system of the Majority vs. the Minority, it would take only a couple of intelligent, non-aligned senators who will act at all times in the best interest of the citizens to control the direction of the government. Who are they?
We have all seen in a very recent and short time how rape, spouse abuse and child abuse have become crimes that are being acknowledged and prosecuted. I congratulate everyone who worked so very hard to accomplish this. I encourage everyone to put as much energy into helping to fix our government.
If you would like to help, begin by sending this to the people in your address book, especially any who are running for elective office.
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