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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, February 29, 2024


We were, we must admit, among the skeptics who wondered whether last week’s Economic Summit would result in anything more than gum-batting.
We still are. But we hope our skepticism proves unfounded.
The summit was marked by a lot of same-old-same-old — rehashed proposals, old but scary statistics, and entrenched positions. But many good ideas were put forward — some of them new, as evidenced by Dr. Richard W. Moore’s luncheon speech (see Commentary/Op-ed) — along with some questionable suggestions that ought to be set aside poste haste, including one to allow casinos in St. Thomas hotels.
But the question in everyone’s mind now is: What next?
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said at the summit that many good suggestions that emerged could be put into effect immediately. OK: which ones, how and when?
It is incumbent upon the governor to take the lead now — unless he wants to defer to the Senate, which would be an abrogation of his proper role and a political mistake.
We know that a five-year plan is in the works. But meanwhile, our bad economic situation is getting worse — and the long, slow summer months are almost here. The governor is correct that many proposals put forward at the summit can be implemented immediately, but now he needs to spell those out, with a timetable for implementing each one, as a prelude to the intermediate and longer-term actions that reportedly are now in the works.
Are we going to spend every cent of the 8 percent hotel occupany tax to advertise the islands? Let’s decide. Are we going to privatize some government services? Let’s decide which ones, and when. Are we going to overhaul the Industrial Development Commission? This has been the subject of numerous studies and suggestions — let’s agree on how best to do it.
The time for talk is long past. The ideas are on the table. Let’s start implementing them in a well-thought-out, systematic way. Now.

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