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Sunday, January 29, 2023

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It Is Up to the Average Citizen

Dear Source:
Love it! Finally people are speaking out on just about every issue imaginable that has to do with the almost complete incompetence of the Virgin Islands government. It seems that after 53 years, the government of the Virgin Islands is just starting to get their act together as a governing entity. Trained police, environmental issues, transparency in government, a legislature and executive branch that must work more efficiently and a host of other issues are now just starting to be brought to the table. It's because people are speaking out that we are seeing some changes made. Of course, we have to thank a courageous governor and his staff who seem to be truly committed to making our lives better. Unfortunately, there are still certain entities who will want to stop that but we all wish the governor well in his quest to fight off those that would not have any changes to the completely inefficient system we have now.
There is much cynicism out there on just about anything the government says. We simply don't believe the government anymore, and we are letting them know. We see waste and corruption at every level. We see money spent on things we don't need or can't seem to come to fruition, like the UVI Tech Park and a litany of issues too numerous to mention here. We have phony companies made up of ex-government officials trying to screw the people out of even more money. We see senators and an ex-governor giving themselves 11th hour-pay raises and beefed-up retirements in virtual secret. We have police who are not trained in solving crimes. We have developers who rape the land all for the sake of quick profits at the expense of the people and the environment.
The Virgin Islands government officials state "that we are maturing politically". When are we ever going to mature enough to stop the greed and waste that surrounds us?
All these issues are out there for all to see and it is gratifying to see that some people are taking a stand against the continued incompetence of the government. We need change desperately and we need to change the system if we are ever to see change in the quality of life for Virgin Islanders. We need to change the foundation of our laws that created the problem to begin with. The many statutes that exist in the Virgin Islands Code are archaic and tend to favor a minority group of people.
The government history shows us that, since 1954, when the government was officially sanctioned, the legislature effectively ran the government. For 16 years, before an elected governor came to power, the legislature made laws that worked in their favor as a controlling entity. Some of these laws actually disallowed a true separation of powers as the US Constitution mandates it should. That history is a root-cause of why we are in trouble today. Run-away government means insider dealings and those dealing have taken root throughout Virgin Islands society. We can trace the problems we have today directly to the corruption that occurred in the government from its very beginnings.
How do we "mature" enough to reverse that? One way is to remove the objectionable laws that created the problems through a new Constitution and install new wording that prevents it from ever happening again. There are many that would try to stop that from happening but as we can see, people are now up-in-arms and want the system to change. We can sit and complain all we want but unless change in the government occurs, the momentum of the people who are speaking out will whither.
Only the average person on the street can make change happen. We know that entrenched government officials and people who control them will not want to change anything because it not in their best interest to do so. It is gratifying that the elected delegates to the Constitutional Convention are mostly average citizens. We need that type of person to see through the rhetoric of existing government in order to make real change occur. We wish them well.
It is up to us, the average citizen to tell them what to do. Keep up the protests, speak out on the issues and don't let a few well-chosen statements from the government convince you that all will be well and that "better days are coming". We need a new basis for our government and only a comprehensive constitution can do that. Stay involved!

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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