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Friday, July 12, 2024
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How Do We Build our Nation?

Dear Source:
We should all acknowledge our reality, the reality of these US Virgin Islands. If we are to move forward and make progress towards a better state; we need to consider certain factors. We need to make a diligent assessment of our demography and arrive at a realistic conclusion as to our potential for growth and our rightful place in the world. We need to develop a sense of identity based on the current population and develop a national pride in our selves, in our community, in our nation. Certain cultural factors should be determined, such as a national language, a curriculum for public education, a political status that is compatible to the aspirations of the majority of the population and finally a constitution that is relevant to contemporary and future generation of Virginislanders.
It is my studied opinion that unless we acknowledge the presence of all the various groups that currently make up our society, our community we would not be able to have a unified community. We need to include all those persons who have come to make up our population and allow them to make their contribution to our development. Our community includes persons of different ethnic and racial groups who are able to make positive contributions to our development. The politicians, the political parties will do well to acknowledge the presence in our community of all the various groups that make up contemporary Virgin Islands and include them in their activities.
We have three official political parties in the US Virgin Islands, namely The ICM Party of the VI, The Republican Party and The Democratic Party. We also have an undefined political group recognized as The No-party. I am registered in The ICM Party of the VI, as such; I have been very active as a member of that party. I was attracted to the party based on my reading of its platform from which I gleaned its political philosophy, which is closest to my own. Unfortunately, political parties have become irrelevant to many persons, even those that run under the banner of a party. Not one of the three parties has put forward their position on the proposed constitution. None of the three parties has put out a position paper on some of the most pressing issues that are to be addressed politically today.
The reality is that the political parties have failed to exercise the leadership that traditionally they provided. The principal factor in my observation is the lack of party discipline due to the lack of dynamic and visionary leadership. That does not reflect well on our political parties to which the populace has looked for leadership. That may explain why the third group in our electorate, The No-party has grown to be the second largest group within the electorate. None of the parties has defined their position on political status, a constitution, or even domestic matters like crime, education and the economy. What do these parties stand for, sit or fall for? We need to develop a community spirit of cooperation to address our community problems and not rely on the politicians; they have proven incapable of resolving basic issues. The current breed of politicians are expert on spending, wasting taxpayers monies but they fail to address basic matters efficiently like crime, education, the infrastructure and other social issues.
It is up to us, the citizens of these Virgin Islands to take control of our government, of our own collective destiny. We have to demand more from our representatives in government, both elected and appointed. We need to hold them all accountable for their performance. There are such violations of law that can be applied to public servants such as malfeasance and/ or nonfeasance. We have been too permissive with the derelictions of our public servants; we need to require better performance, if we believe we deserve better service. We need to charge those who betray the public trust and let the criminal justice system adjudicate the appropriate punishment. We need to expect higher standard of performance from our pubic servants and elevate the standard from mediocrity to that of excellence, not perfection, only excellence, which is achievable. We can do it if we work together, if we communicate better with our neighbors and with our representatives in government, let them know what we expect of them. If we expect nothing we get nothing, and we would deserve nothing. If we appreciate ourselves, if we value ourselves we can begin the process of taking control of our government by working together, in unity there is strength. Let us begin the process of identifying candidates who can adequately represent us, not our personal interests but the interest of our entire community.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

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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