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HomeCommentaryLegislature Corner: Blyden Expresses Deep Concern Amid Latest Corruption Allegations; Urges Recommitment...

Legislature Corner: Blyden Expresses Deep Concern Amid Latest Corruption Allegations; Urges Recommitment to Transparency and Accountability

Senator Marvin A. Blyden expressed concern over recent government corruption allegations. (Photo courtesy V.I. Legislature)

Sen. Marvin Blyden, Senate vice president and chairman of the Committee on Housing, Transportation & Telecommunications, expressed his outrage and concern regarding the recent revelations of corruption by public officials and lamented the impact that misuse of funds or resources has on the public, both in terms of services not delivered and of erosion of public trust.

“Let me state from the outset that I have no comment on any of the specific allegations that have been made, as these are matters that the investigators and the courts will handle,” said Blyden. “However, I must confess that the events of the last couple days, and what they imply about the depths and the breadth of potential abuse, make me angry and embarrassed as a Virgin Islander. It is clear that as a government and as a people, we must take immediate action to not only thoroughly investigate and prosecute present instances of corruption but we must also put the necessary safeguards in place to ensure a more transparent and efficient process moving forward. Even more importantly, we must look at today as a day of reckoning in which we decide, from top to bottom, in the public and the private sectors, to develop a culture of integrity and accountability in the Virgin Islands. When significant numbers of public officials are implicated in wrongdoing, it is not just an indictment of a few individuals. It reflects on our entire society, and it means that as a government and as a people we need to clean up our act.”

Blyden closed by emphasizing the fact that every dollar abused or misspent has real-life consequences in the lives of everyday Virgin Islanders who depend on the government doing what it is supposed to do. “When we see that x or y millions of dollars is stolen or misappropriated, that is not just a number on paper,” the senator said. “It represents homeowners who are still waiting, after seven years, to have their homes rebuilt after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. It represents people who are waiting on services that they need to save their lives, or vendors waiting on overdue payments that make the difference in their businesses staying open or not. It represents children waiting to see their schools rebuilt while they struggle in substandard conditions. It angers me to see people suffering while we read reports of people enriching themselves on the public purse,” concluded Blyden. “It has to stop!”

Blyden is a sponsor of the strengthened ethics legislation that was recently introduced in the Virgin Islands Legislature.


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