77.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 30, 2023


The recent articles detailing the territory's Y2K (year 2000)problems all fail to emphasize the following points:
— The government must respond positively to any potential threat, perceived or real, posed by the year 2000 issue as it has a responsibility to the public that it serves to take the most prudent course of action. To not address this issue would be a dereliction of that responsibility.
— To rush out and spend $32 million on a plan that is poorly thought out and/or based on a poorly researched investigation of our Y2K problems will not be in our best interest.
— The government's decision to respond has taken so long that the options for response have been severely narrowed.
— The best consultants and computer experts have long ago been signed to contracts by others and now there are not enough year 2000 knowledgeable experts left to respond to the growing demand for them.
— The need for Y2K-compliant hardware and software may result in greatly increased demand for these products. We therefore may find that the delivery time for these items is so far out that there may not be enough time left to purchase, to install, to test and then put them online.
— There has not been enough work done on alternate backup solutions for specific Y2K problems that we may not have fixed before the Y2K deadline, i.e., contingency planning.
— This government's deadline to fix the Y2K problem is not Dec. 31, 1999. Its deadline is much, much sooner: Sept. 30. This leaves us only eight months to address our Y2K problems.
— What collateral has the government pledged to Banco Popular and IBM to secure this loan? Conversely what revenue streams have they identified to pay for this loan? What are the terms of repayment?
If you believe, as I do, that our government must respond to this issue, we then have to ask, "What can be accomplished in the time left, what contingency plans must we have for those systems that cannot be fixed by Sept. 30, and how much should we spend to accomplish our goals?"
These questions should be answered by our consultants. Given the short period of time left to solve our problems and given the lack of adequate contingency planning, they may recommend spending only a small amount of the $32 million at this time.
Much debate ensued over the amount of money requested and the parties proposed to supply the funding and the equipment.
All of this debate obscures two important issues.
One, the funding is a line of credit that will give the government the ability to borrow up to $30 million (that's what's left after closing costs) to address our multiple Y2K problems.
Two, the government should not contract with multiple small consultants and/or vendors to supply the necessary expertise, hardware and/or software it needs. It should enter into a contract with a large, multi-disciplinary, resource-rich firm to gain access to the experts, equipment and software that we need. By using a company such as IBM, we are really purchasing the right to access their resources.
The time for debate and investigation by the Senate and the executive branch of our government have long since passed.
We need immediate action, a plan and a timetable to fix our Y2K problems.
Editor's note: Thomas B. Brunt III owns MSI Building Supplies and is finishing his third year as president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.

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