Tuesday, September 26, 2017 6:35 am Last modified: 6:01 am

Virgin Islands Not Nice

I am a Virgin Islander in disbelief of what I see every day. I was born and raised in this beautiful paradise that has potential to grow and uplift it’s people. I said “had” because it’s to late now in my opinion. I am watching this place slowly trickle away from our people. It saddens my heart because I cannot imagine a future for my children and grandchildren, or even future generations to come.

What are we doing as true locals, a community, and a country to maintain these islands for our people? We use to be majority business owners, deed holders, entrepreneurs etc. and now we are the minority in every aspect. What have our ancestors fought for if we are just going to give it all away for pennies. It’s seems like slavery is being reinstated in this territory. We are slaves to our ill will thinking patterns, beliefs in foreigners knowing more or better than us, we all are fighting one another instead of the common enemy taking away our islands.

We have deferred from teaching our children our true history that instills pride in our children about where they are from, to teaching foreign history. I say “foreign” because by definition, it did not originate here. What happened to Queen Mary revolting that paved the way for our now VI Ambassadors?

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We have lost our culture due to the infiltration of all these foreigners visiting and returning to turn us against one another to prosper. We are missing the big picture VIRGIN ISLANDERS. We do not own and maintain many of the gas stations, grocery stores, banks, shopping centers etc. We are relying on foreign investors to come in the territory and dictate how things will be done in the Virgin Islands. They use bribes, lies, loopholes and distraction to take over these islands.

The Virgin Islands is slowly becoming the play ground for the rich with access to all the many cays and islands nearby to enjoy. The cost of owning a home has become so ridiculous that many people have to plan for a rental to maintain there homes. This is clearly because property values is being determined by all the vacation villa rentals constructed or converted within the past 10 years. Majority of the owners reside elsewhere while making anywhere from $2K to $10K a week.

The sad part is they do not pay taxes on that money earned and their houses are being assessed as a residential property rather that commercial. This acceptable behavior raises the values on homes and taxes of the average home owner not receiving that income. What is being done about this?

The politicians you fight amongst each other for sit in a room collecting ridiculous salaries and fail to address the real problems. Creating bills that gets nowhere and quarreling instead of putting the bigger picture into perspective. Every election you all complain and fight for who is best to turn around and complain that you should have not voted for them.

These issues we faced didn’t just started with this administration or Senate and it definitely will not finish with them. Let these politicians prove themselves. What happened to action speak louder than words? It’s a shame you can’t even be free to support who you want because of the fear that you will get backslashed by who is in power or lose your job. People are being placed in positions due to affiliation rather that experience and education. That’s why territory is in the state that it is. The U.S. is looking at the Virgin Islands as that one child that can’t do good and keeps living off their parents. We continue to cling to that 1900’s way of thinking and behavior rather than to face the reality that the young people have the will and power to restructure the future of the territory. Haven’t they proven themselves by fighting their way out of the old school mentality we have adhered to succeed in the real world.

How much examples do you need? They have become doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, sports athletes, to even world renowned musicians (Pressure Buss Pipes and Roc City). When will the elders start to procure and implement the road for these youths to walk on? After all, they are the ones stealing and involved in the rumored corruption.

The crime is high because the youths have no guidance, no teachings, no activities but yet they rude. They turn to what makes time for them. Crime!! There is no money for nothing yet enough money to steal ($6 million still missing and the library still is not functioning after the how many millions increase to the contract,) pay increases to loyal supporters with no education, and food sale employees to get a position for efforts during campaign.

All these EDA companies getting tax breaks but still shopping abroad instead of local, changing positions from permanent to seasonal to get rid of employees and not giving back to the community the way they should be. IRB is in shambles, holding up business license asking for documentation that was filed previous years that they lost. Auditing locals with minor returns while these large companies are not paying or not being audited. Now no tax returns. Can someone tell me if how IRB is operating is really legal?

Why is GERS being ran by incompetent people rather than downsizing and let a large investment firm manage the portfolio with weekly and monthly reports? This is why all the elderly can’t retire to let someone young and able into the job market to provide for their family now. What is being done about all these unregistered businesses by DLCA? All these contractors with no contractor’s business license hiring unregistered people not paying into the system and community. Building million dollar homes and not paying gross receipts. No coordination efforts by these agencies to crack down on all these issues as one unit because they all affect each other.

Taxes cannot be collected if they are not effectively staffing task force to properly document, penalize, and follow up with these organizations.

Please tell me why the government still has it’s hands in private sectors as they do in WAPA and the Hospitals Why can’t they structure a deal to private companies to operate these organizations with stipulations that they have to continuously hire train and maintain 90 percent or more local staff? This is to include managerial positions as well. Why is it that there is a separate scope of work for law enforcers and traffic enforcement?

Ordinary officers will not stay on the scene of an accident if no one is hurt than what is practiced in the mainland. With all these new proposed changes no one has talked about how it will restructure the Virgin Islands to address these issues.

Why is these politicians not noticing that the government needs to restructure? Why can’t the Virgin Islands mirror an actual city? Follow the organizational chart on a smaller level eliminating all there senators and unnecessary positions. Let each island stand on its own and apply for whatever additional funding it may need. Hold these politicians and thieves accountable. No arrest being made for government corruption.

People we needed to support each other. We locals do not support each other and quick to kick each other down. The reality is racism still exists. The foreigners come and support their own growing their race here, owning most if not all of the gas stations and grocery stores; taking over restaurants, real estate companies, vacation villas, beaches, and construction companies.

In the past I prayed that our people would get it together it now I pray for peace because we let our destiny for our people be scribed by others. The truth is many of you will be offended and take it personal and fail to see and address the truth. You all see it and know it deep within your souls, but will not acknowledge it due to your own self interests. Its called constructive criticism.

I am the voice of the unspoken, the scared, the few, the people.

Respectfully,

V.I. Born and Raised

James Brathwaite

St. Thomas

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  1. Mike Reply

    Maybe things would be different IF:
    1) the VI people would stop electing thieves who pilfer 80% of every dollar ear marked for VI improvements via federal grants.
    2) the VI politicians stopped getting kick backs from contractors after they jury-rig the bidding – REAL ID, Tutu Library, Main Street improvements, etc.
    3) the VI police and judges stopped letting their friends and relatives get away literally with murder with no repercussions for their crimes against the people and tourists, leading to less visitors and less income for VI residents and businesses. 75% or more of the VI gross revenue is related to tourism, but crime and a decaying downtown are leading the cruise lines to avoid STT
    4) the VI people would treat tourists with a warm smile and a happy handshake more would come here, read the tourism forum reviews for STT, not good
    5) the VI politicians stopped pilfering and squandering grants and revenue streams for their own personal gain, new limo’s, 3000/mo at the Ritz, trips to China and Europe, then taxes wouldn’t be raised – sin tax, property tax, etc. putting undue financial strain on the people. Additionally, the politicians are now stealing the people’s tax refunds, Mapp says no tax refunds this year, on top of that they steal from GERS to finance their luxury cars, hotels, homes, international trips, etc.

    It’s unfortunate, but all of these things mean fewer tourists and less revenue. The cruise ships are now going elsewhere like St Martin, Roadtown, etc. where tourists are welcomed with open arms, not shunned with frowns, sucking teeth and crime.

    The foreigners that you refer to are simply filling the void and yet they too will soon lose hope and leave these beautiful, but corrupt and lawless islands. Look to the BVI’s as a shining example of success.

  2. Well THAT happened Reply

    Thank you Mr. Brathwaite for a glimpse into the mind of a local, born here. And thank you Mike for a well-worded rebuttal to the editorial.

  3. Someone who cares Reply

    THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING UP.LET THE MIND THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS BE IN THE PEOPLE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS.

  4. Ossi Reply

    So sad to read your point of view, James…
    I guess we are two of the foreigners you are referring to.
    We were not born or raised in the VI, but we chose to invest the money we earn in the mainland, our savings, in Saint Thomas, because we believe this place can be a heaven.
    We employ local contractors & service providers and spend money in stores and restaurants. The money we spend is earned in the states, so we are definitely contributing and feeding into to the local economy.
    We have met mostly lovely and friendly locals but also some down right hostile ones. Maybe they regard us as you do ???
    That is too bad. Because this island has an amazing potential but it needs both “foreigners” like us who invest their hard earned money to developed and innovate, and locals like you to transform this island, attract the tourists and keep the young native talent from leaving!

  5. Servant to all mankind Reply

    Wow!!! What an article, and what interesting replies to this article.

    The heart of man is a very interesting thing. The perspective of man is a very limited thing. The human element of man will never be satisfied.

    The VI is made up of three beautiful islands, but its TRUE beauty is in the HEART of its people. When the heart of man is filled with PRIDE, SELFISHNESS, OWNERSHIP then we lose God’s intended purpose for man and his environment.

    God put on the inside of EVERY man, no matter his race, gifts that are dependent on each other. It was never God’s intent that one group of people function in a vacuum if they want to be success, fruitful, productive, and multiple.

    But what PRIDE, SELFISHNESS, and OWNERSHIP has done to the HEART of man, is change our PERSPECTIVE as to how we ASSUME we need or don’t need each other. But the treasure for success is in the heart of man!

    Something to consider: Maybe the challenges that we are facing has more to do with the ABSENCE of the GOSPEL; maybe the challenges that we are facing has a lot to do with the ABSENCE of the FEAR of GOD; maybe the challenges that we are facing has a great deal to do with the LACK of WORSHIPING the LORD; just maybe what the beautiful islands that make up the Virgin Islands are currently facing is the greatest challenge the the United States are facing, and that is we have found a way to EXCLUDE the LORD from EVERY aspect of our lives, and now what we are experiencing is the manifestation of SEVERAL generations who have REJECTED the LORD!

    Most people exclude the LORD from all conversations, when the truth is, HE should be the FIRST ONE included in EVERY conversation.

    For those who we born and raised in the VI, for those who were born and partially raised in the VI, for those who were not born but raised in the VI, and for those who simply chose to live in the VI must know that the VI does not belong to man, it actually belongs to the LORD. Man is simply a steward over what actually belongs to GOD.

    The article written was great, it was written from someone whose HEART is broken because he remembered when the VI meant something to its people.

    The responses to this article are also great, because it reflects the heart of the person who wrote it, and where there heart is concerning the VI.

    The answer to what was written, and to the responses to what was written can be found in the heart of man. If man will return back to its former love, Revelations 1-2, then there is hope that the VI can return back to its former glory.

    Never forget that there existed a generation of people in the VI who LOVED GOD, who worshiped GOD, who hated sin, and gave their all to their neighbor. Then that generation forget to teach their children to have the same heart that they had; and so the generation who was not taught to LOVE GOD, WORSHIP GOD, HATE SIN, and LOVE TO GIVE didn’t learn the importance of their neighbor so they couldn’t teach their children what their parents knew.

    Now what we have is a generation of people who have no love for GOD, hate for sin, and no heart for their neighbor.

    I just want you to consider these things…….

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