Open forum: It’s Time to Change How We Interact With Each Other

Bryan/Roach Campaign’s “Course Changer” a Nissan Leaf electric car, assisted in getting out the vote on St. Thomas.

Dear Source:

It’s a time to rebuild!

After being bombarded with campaign ads that portrayed the aspiring gubernatorial team as inexperienced, untrustworthy and uncaring, the majority of V.I. voters decided to take a chance with it anyway. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, more than 11, 000 voters cast their ballots in favor of the Bryan-Roach Team. Despite a relentless message from the incumbent that was vile, divisive and deceptive most voters opted for a change from the status quo, they supported the challengers.

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Since that fateful moment, many of us are pondering what is next? What did the voters actually reject and what changes are they ready to embrace? While some people continue to rejoice victory for Democrats, others are mourning and anguished over their losses. As we reflect on the experiences of past administrations, we must also examine the results of the runoff election to get answers.

How could all of us work in synchrony to make things better?

Democrats won the political war this time, but there are many battles they have yet to conquer. It’s going to take time to change the tide in these areas: the unfounded GERS liability, escalating cost to maintain WAPA, instability of our healthcare system, public corruption and the deplorable state of our infrastructures, especially public schools.

There is a litany of other concerns that the new administration will have to tackle. However, it cannot be disputed that it should focus its attention on unifying our community. The fact that the St. Croix voters overwhelmingly supported the incumbent cannot be ignored. It is also evident that every precinct in St. Thomas and St. John rejected the current administration. Does it matter what are the forces fueling divisions in our territory?

We need to have an open dialogue about the perceived and actual disparities that exist. Whether it’s an amicable talk at the dinner table, blogging on social media, chattering on talk shows or formal debates in public arenas, it’s important that the conversation begins before the inauguration.

It’s the time to restore trust in our government. Hardly anyone is questioning the accuracy of the results from the runoff election. Nevertheless, there is lingering doubt about the integrity of the election process. It’s time to replace secrecy with transparency. Why wasn’t an investigation into “double-dipping” conducted before the General Election?

It’s time to heal. This process is never expedient. Although not all voters were bamboozled by the political rhetoric spewed by the incumbent, many supporters of the governor accepted everything he uttered as gospel truths. Propaganda is usually an effective tool of politicians but this time it failed. Deciphering the messages that seasoned politicians use during their campaigns is not a simple task but eventually the facts will be revealed to all.

Some voters, especially on St. Croix, remain gullible. They still believe that the governor cares for them more than himself and his cronies. Several admitted that they voted with their hearts and will stay loyal to the governor. In their minds, he’s a great emperor with no fear. According to them, their leader was prepared to debate the issues affecting us. They even tried to coerce Governor-elect Bryan Jr. into a debate by initiating a petition and labelled him as a “coward.” Isn’t time for democracy to prevail over aristocracy?

The truth hurts. Some of us are offended when someone speaks about hypocrisy and gullibility of our people. Let it be clear, my intention is not to undermine any voter. An electorate has the right to support candidates who espouse their principles. Regardless of political party affiliation or voting district, all V.I. residents should be on the same team whose goal is to improve the territory for all of us.

It’s time to unite. The people have spoken! As democracy is the system that allows citizens to speak their minds through their ballots, the majority of [the] electorate on St. Croix preferred the incumbent to the aspirant. Their choice was not to be. It may appear as if I am gloating that my team won and that I lack sympathy for those who were disappointed with the outcome of the runoff election. No! It pains me that our territory is divided.

Hence, it’s time to change how we interact with each other. Let’s chart a new course in love, unity & happiness? Sincerely,

Verdel L. Petersen of St. Croix

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