The big challenge of the de Jongh/Francis Team is to improve on the achievements of the Turnbull administration and at the same time correct its errors, even before embarking on any agenda of their own. We do not need to "reinvent the wheel;" we need to build on the achievements of others. Too many time politicians allow their ego to control their better judgment and attempt to overshadow their predecessor accomplishments by ignoring them, suppressing them or disparaging them. I trust the de Jongh/Francis Team will be wiser than to fall for those who advice them to do what I mentioned previously. The theme or motto "together we can, together we will" is very apropos for the proposed healing period after the sometimes acrimonious campaign we just witnessed. Another sign that offers a lot of hope is the often-proffered slogan of "inclusiveness". We all know it is easy to say or promise something and it is another to follow through on it, it takes courage and consistency to accomplish that.
Beginning in January the de Jongh/Francis administration becomes the people's government. We all are responsible to assist the government achieve its objectives, its goals. The success of the government should be our success, the people success. It takes "a village to raise a child"; it takes the people to make the government succeed. We ought to be vigilante and commend the administration for their positive actions and criticize them when they err. We need to put forward our ideas for improvement of our government services in whatever forum is available to us. Just mouthing off without being constructive is like beating a tin can, a lot of noise but no substance. It behooves us then, those of us who consider ourselves people of faith, to pray for the success of the incoming administration, that we may overcome the errors of the past and the present. Those who betrayed the people's trust should be dealt with by the justice system and if they escape that then the Divine judgment will fall upon them.
An immediate and serious challenge to the incoming administration is the lack of law enforcement, the lack of compliance with our laws and regulations. It is our hope that the new administration will surround itself with people of proven integrity who can and will lead by example. I trust they will have people who are respected because they are respectable. I trust they will have people who are law-abiding citizens that will promote a climate of law and order, which is sorely lacking. We need to get a handle on the lawlessness and arrest the crime rate, which has soared above the national average, I am told. Can we control crime? Yes, we can with adequate leadership, by keeping the standard high for all, by being sensitive and fair. The welfare of the community should be first, above the comfort and protection of the guilty. If all persons are treated with respect and kindness, we can make a difference. We know we cannot please all the people anytime, but we can serve all the people all the time, fairly.
Let us enter the New Year as entering a new era in the development of the Virgin Islands, as a society, a cosmopolitan society, one that is developing a new identity. A new society where all people of goodwill who are willing to contribute will be encouraged and supported. Let us recognize our new neighbors, our new citizens, our transient residents, our visitors let them feel welcome and appreciated. What I am proposing is that we remove that stigma that the people here have bad attitudes towards themselves and everybody else. Let us appreciate ourselves as children of the most High and heirs of the heavens and the earth. Let us protect our environment, our home, our nation. Let us remember to smile the Virgin Islands smile, be sincere, and be courteous as in days of old. Together we can, together we must overcome. May our Allah-God have mercy on us and grant us wisdom and courage to do what we know is best for our beloved Virgin Islands. It is one thing to brag that we love the Virgin Islands because we were born here, but it is another to prove your love by doing all that is necessary for the welfare of all its inhabitants. Remember, we had no control where we were born, but do have the right and power to decide where we choose to live. The world is the Lord's and the fullness therein; all that is in the world is the Lord's.
J. J. Estemac
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