I am writing in response to the article "New hires are justified, Richards says" which appeared in the June 28 issue the Daily News. I thought I had heard every idiotic quote possible from a politician, but the lieutenant governor's comments have got to rank among the highest.
For those who didn't see the article, the lieutenant governor was quoted as saying: "From the time I'm a little boy, age 3, 4 or 5 I've known the lieutenant governor to be given a car. This wasn't created by me. I became lieutenant governor in January, and these position were available, and basically, we filled them. It's like the president of the United States, he's got bodyguards and he's got chauffeurs and I don't think President Bush is responsible for that."
First of all Mr. Lieutenant Governor, you are not the president of the United States, and you are certainly no George Bush. For you to try to equate your elected office and its "perks" with that of the president is nothing short of a travesty.
Furthermore, the lieutenant governor pointed out that when Gov. Charles W. Turnbull began his first term, there was a $100 million operating deficit and, despite that, no chauffeurs or other positions in the Lieutenant Governor's Office were cut. Does this mean our lieutenant governor believes since previously elected officials operated one way, today's officials must operate in the same fashion?
And speaking of that $100 million deficit, it seems to me we're talking about a $152 million deficit now. Where is all that economic improvement Governor Turnbull told us about in his State of the Territory speeches? Doing things the way things have always been done is the reason we are in the financial crisis we have now.
When I was a little boy, if I told my parents I did something wrong because so-and-so did it, I always heard the same thing: "If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you do it?" Mr. Lieutenant Governor, let me ask you: If previously elected officials were corrupt, after self-interests, didn't care for the general welfare of the population of the Virgin Islands, hired relatives and friends at outlandish salaries, didn't pay the government's obligations, misappropriated government funds (I could go on, but I think you get the picture), does that make it correct for this administration to do the same thing?
Indeed, if this administration truly wanted to initiate change, it would realize that it was the "way we always did things" that got us into the mess we are in today. If this administration truly wanted to make a difference, it would be making the necessary — and yes. unpopular — decisions to start to turn things around. Unfortunately, it seems the administration does not have the backbone to do what needs to be done. It appears the "business as usual" mindset is deeply entrenched.
This means we are in for more taxes, fees, borrowing and, most of all, unchecked spending while our elected officials continue collecting their "perks" as the population heads toward the unemployment line or off island because people can't make ends meet.
Eventually the people of the territory will wake up. They will see those who seek public office for exactly what they are: self-indulgent crooks who are only out to improve their personal agenda. This may already be happening with the grass-roots movement on St. Croix to secede from the Virgin Islands and become a separate territory under the Untied States. These people understand that "doing things the way we've always done them" does not work.
The miserable economy highlighted by a 12.4 percent unemployment rate on the island is evidence the administration does not have the best interests of all the Virgin Islanders on its agenda. There are those who say this movement is a pipe dream and will never happen. To these people I say, ask the 4,800 people out of jobs in and around Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and those out of work on the island of Vieques. They didn't think the Navy would pull out either, but it did.
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