There is an abundance of rumors circulating the community naming individuals who intend to be candidates in the upcoming gubernatorial race. Many of the names are familiar; they were unsuccessful candidates who ran against the incumbent. They failed then to convince the electorate they would have done a better job than the incumbent in spite of his very evident shortcomings as a Governor. In this race the incumbent is restricted by law to be a candidate, the race is open. Now we have those who believe if the incumbent could be elected they too could be, because of whatever attributes they ascribe to themselves.
I have no problem with persons offering themselves to run for public office, what I am concern about is their motivation, their purpose and/or their objectives. What are these candidates bringing to the table? Their intelligence, their academic achievements, their social or economical status or their track record of service to the community? Do they have a defined political philosophy? Do they have a defined position on the fundamental issues that affect the territory? Are they a member of an established political party or organization? These are questions that a responsible electorate would ask, and seek definite answers from the candidates. The pattern up to now is that the candidates play "pilinky bird" and avoid taking a public stand and any important or controversial issue.
I personally would like to know what any candidate for Governor or the Senate position is on the following fundamental issues: What is their choice of political status? What is their position on a constitution, which should come first, a resolution of the status issue or seeking approval for a constitution? What is their position on political reform? What changes would they advocate in reorganizing our government structure and operations? What is their position on reforming the government personnel system to include a merit system and to exclude negotiation of monetary compensation in union contracts? These are serious and fundamental issues that affect our government and our community.
Another very important issue that we allow the candidates to avoid is the judiciary and the criminal justice system. We have bought in to the federal government innovation to fight terrorism by establishing our own local "Homeland Security". Who has taken the time to study our local needs and resources to efficiently administer such a wide reaching program of community protection? Are our courts functioning to optimum standard? Are they not ways to improve our courts to make them more efficient? Is there anybody objectively evaluating our first line of defense against any and all dangers, our police department? The practice of throwing good money after bad money has not been working, that is obvious. It takes more than money to solve problems; it takes capable persons who are willing to do what is required to get the job done.
We, the people, the electorate needs to know more about the candidates and of the candidates. Popularity, name recognition should not replace the knowledge of a candidate's position on issues important to you and critical to the community. Are we going to continue to be passive bystanders or be responsible citizens and exercise our rights and responsibilities and select our own representatives and promote their candidacy for public office? We should resist the lure of cynicism, of escapism and of defeatism. We need to stand up for the principles we say we subscribe to, as people of faith, trust in the Almighty God to give us the courage, the wisdom and the success needed to turn things around positively. Keep hope alive and work together for better days ahead.
St. Thomas, V.I.
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