Why Such a Disparity in Services?

Dear Source:
Thank you to Mr. John Bradford for your insightful rebuttal to my "Virgin Islands vs Hawaii" article. As you point out there are definite differences in resources as well as land distribution. Yes, I am aware of the presence of the military on Hawaii which contributes greatly to the economy of the Hawaiian Islands and I am aware of the difference between the Virgin Islands economy as opposed to Hawaii's. My point was the disparity between basic human services between the Virgin Islands and a similar, yet larger Hawaii. The difference is quality of life for basically the same dollar amount regardless of the means under which revenues are received for those services.
I agree with you that a disparate amount of our Virgin Islands revenue is lost through corruption and poorly planned programs. Most Virgin Islanders are very aware that corruption exists and has for many, many years. Much to my chagrin, I have found that people here take that as a right of passage and expect that some corruption will exist but are not willing to do much about it, thus the waste continues. The fact that we could do better sometimes is lost on a citizenry that is so used to a poorly run government, that apathy has become commonplace. I also agree that our long-term goals must be different from those of other places because of the uniqueness of the fiscal situation we are in. The sad part is, long-term goals are lacking because we are just now in the process of cleaning up the mess created by years of badly run government practices and resultantly–services. This process could take years before any real long-term goals can be realized. In the meantime, we are still creating budgets that are equal to or greater than places that already have the services we so sorely lack and so desperately want.
My question is: Why, if we have such poor service, does the budget have to be so high? My answer, and I think the answer most Virgin Islanders would agree with, is corruption in government. Corruption is not only the taking of public funds illegally; it is the placement of salaried people in positions where there is no need. It is having too many upper-level and high paying positions with too few workers to actually provide the intended service. Corrupt means turning a blind eye to obvious deficiencies in favor of political gains or allowing obvious wrongs for the sole purpose of monetary or political gain. Corruption can also be described as knowingly allowing poor service because if making an issue out of it may bring about a loss of one's job.
Issues must be brought to the forefront if they are ever to be addressed. I thank you again Mr. Bradford for expounding on these important issues of the day.

Paul Devine
St. John

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