The dream of most people in the US Virgin Islands is to eventually own a home as a part of saving some measure of wealth for the future. We do this for ourselves and our retirement, and for the next generation that we, as human beings, always hope will have more in their lives that we have had. On a very basic human level, we want to ensure the survival of our lineage.
With increases in all commodity prices, increases in basic services such as water and electric, increases in the cost of even working due to shared insurances, higher gas prices etc., I have watched as people try to compensate. Instead of seeking energy efficient air conditioning, we are at the point of seeking energy efficient fans. As we can see even in the local papers, more people are doing less landscaping and more growing of their own fruits and vegetables. We recycle gray water, rainwater and use energy saver lighting and appliances whenever we can.
Still, we fall farther behind due to price increases, primarily with utilities. So now, companies are coming to the islands to help people to generate power from the sun, the wind, basically anyway we can. It would seem that the issue as written about in the St. Croix Source is an important one. More and more, people will be in the same situation: trying to produce their own energy.
Although this new influx can be ironed out through litigation in terms of how it will work with WAPA, it would seem that power is power, and instead of fighting it out, WAPA could get on the wagon and even earn money by taking solar power seriously and helping the people of St. Croix in this process of energy conservation. For example, WAPA has the potential to be a huge buyer of technology, and market a branch of their services that is able to compete with other green energy companies. Given their size, they have an economy of savings potential by purchasing or aligning themselves as a major buyer, thereby getting bulk pricing for the things we need on this island to survive now and into the future. Rather than making it more of a challenge to still hold onto the dream of being able to afford one's own home, they could partner with the VI Government and the private sector and be a leader in innovation, installation and ultimate success of people who are trying to ensure the success of 'living the dream' and leaving a legacy of hope for the next generation.
I hope when I read the St. Croix Source, I see more articles of this nature: How we can work together to achieve success for everyone, rather than reports of litigation, frustration and failure. In litigation, remember that one party always loses. On St. Croix, we have the capacity to be a model in the Caribbean and for the states as well. That is my hope and that is my dream. Please continue to report on this issue as it is central to all of our lives.
Daniel J. Gilbride
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