Am I the only one that finds it strange that at a time when our government is most in need of exhibiting fiscal responsibility, they exhibit irresponsibility? I question why they appear to have tunnel-vision "tax, borrow and spend" versus finding alternative means of generating revenue. I am having difficulty understanding why our government would chose to invest $220,000 a year in hiring five individuals (two special assistants, one protocol officer, two chauffeurs) that will take funds away from the General Fund, rather than investing those same dollars into tourism advertisement to generate funds for the General Fund budget.
Imagine the potential return on that $220,000 amount if it was used to reach thousands of potential tourists. I am not from the world of advertisement. I am certain, however, that advertising is expensive; and I would expect decisions on how much to invest in advertising are based on the amount of return in revenue those doing the advertising expect to generate as a result of that advertisement.
As I sat watching the NBA playoffs, it occurred to me what a great opportunity the government was passing up by not advertising during the NBA playoffs. Not knowing the advertising basics, I still wondered why our government has not taken advantage of the fact that Tim Duncan and Raja Bell are from the Big Island. I see a potential payoff in this fact. Tim Duncan is a gold mine of the San Antonio Spurs, and Raja Bell of the Dallas Mavericks is a gem. The Virgin Islands is fortunate to have two players in the NBA, and even more fortunate to have a native son that not only led his team during the playoffs, but led them to win the 2003 NBA Championship.
In addition he was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the finals and for the league.
As I sat watching and listening to the sports announcers speak so highly of the talent, leadership, and sportsmanship of Tim Duncan, a rush of pride washed over me. During the NBA playoffs, he was not ignorant, he was not flashy, he was not unnecessarily aggressive in his play; Tim just played the game, and did his thing. Tim Duncan represented, and he represented well!
Tim Duncan has achieved great recognition for this leadership and his gentle but strong gamesmanship on the basketball court. Although I do not know Mr.
Duncan personally, I would venture out on a limb to say that I believe Tim would not be opposed to giving back to our community (which he has done in the past) through partnering in some manner to drawn potential tourist to the sun through advertising campaigns that feature him as our native son. A simple thing the Government could take advantage of is a link to his Internet Web site, www.slamduncan.com.
And further, my suggestion is not based on the fact that Tim Duncan is obligated to the Virgin Islands, as I do not believe he owes the Virgin Island or St. Croix anything. However, given our fiscal crisis, asking is but only to try.
And let us not forget Raja Bell. How about trying to set up some type of one-on-one commercial featuring both players with the conclusion stating we have more than basketball in common: "Visit our home, St. Croix"? Although it is too late now to reach the millions of viewers around the world that watched the NBA playoffs, I am still sure investing $220,000 into activities that will generate future revenue for the territory is better than investing those same dollars in government positions that are not critical to the operations of the government. Investing in advertisement (sports magazines and radio should be considered) through the use of the names of two of the NBA's players not only has the potential to draw tourists, but also lets Tim Duncan and Raja Bell know the pride we all share in the fact that these two players are from a tiny group of islands that is working hard to make a huge splash! Sure, $220,000 is not a lot of money, but if it can be used to bring more money to the Virgin Islands versus draining money from it, it has to be the wiser choice. Let's use our heads. Let's get creative.
I personally would like to thank Tim Duncan for returning to St. Croix for the "Ballers" weekend, bringing so much joy and hope to the children of the Virgin Islands. A big St. Croix hug goes out to Sun Stroke CEO Rashidi Clenance and his staff for having the vision to put on the "Ballers" weekend.
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