Who is the April Fool?
V.I will lose in long run on proposed Carambola land deal
ST. THOMAS – Still awaiting details on the proposed deal between
Jeffrey Prosser and the V.I. Government, Senator Adlah "Foncie"
Donastorg has released a statement outlining his preliminary concerns.
"The bottomline is that all these benefits are valued at less than what
EmCom would have paid in taxes in two years and we are looking at giving
Prosser a free ride for 30 years," Donastorg said. "It is such inflated
tax breaks and so called deals that have gotten the government in the
poor financial position it is in today. No one is giving anything away
here – you can be sure that Prosser is the primary beneficiary of this
deal. He is an excellent business man, but unfortunately those
negotiating for the government are not as savvy."
Donastorg said that paying Government employees has always been among
his very highest priorities, but that it is these same employees that
are likely to suffer in the long run when the Government does not have
sufficient revenues to pay salaries, vendors and tax refunds.
He said this deal with executed on backs of hardworking Virgin
"If he hadn't been overcharging us on our phone bills and if he had
been paying his fair share of taxes this deal never would have
happened," Donastorg said. "Prosser is not giving us anything, but
rather just trying to appease us – the people that he has already ripped
Donastorg listed his other concerns.
The land at Carambola was purchased for less than $4,000 an acre and
with so much land suddenly available in an already soft St. Croix real
estate market, it is unlikely that employees would be able to easily
sell any land that they are given as compensation.
Government cash flow problems will be exacerbated as the territory
will not realize tax revenues from several major businesses well into
the millennium. These lost revenues are estimated at $25 to $40 million
per year for the next 30 years.
VITELCO claims it is willing to forgo its current Industrial
Development Benefits, but this is meaningless as these benefits were
very likely to be canceled as Donastorg has information which
invalidates VITELCO's entire IDC agreement. Prosser needed to strike a
new deal before these benefits were stripped from VITELCO.
Prosser is making such a proposal now in an effort to avoid or stall
pending government investigations that would closely scrutinize his
business practices. It is unlikely, however, that the Federal
Communications Commission will be easily swayed by any such deal and it
is unwise for the V.I. Government to further attach itself to EmCom
before the FCC concludes its investigation.
The Virgin Islands currently does not have the resources to maintain
any of the projects that Prosser intends to construct for the
Government. No plans for their long term maintenance have been released.
Donastorg said he would reserve further comment until he was able to
see the proposed agreement for himself. He said Daily News accounts of
the deal were unreliable at best, and orchestrated in order to sell this
idea to the people of the Virgin Islands.
"These are desperate times and granting new tax breaks to Prosser is a
desperate act," Donastorg said. "It is abominable that any of my
colleagues would endorse this deal without even learning the details. I
hate to say it, but some of them are definitely on the take."
The senator has long been aware of big business efforts to buy and sell
"I never thought I would see the day when someone would try to buy and
sell government employees in the same way," he said. "It sounds good to
many of those workers that have been suffering in wait for their
retroactive wages, but I am convinced that on closer examination very
few employees really want their money this way."
DONASTORG REPONDS TO PROSSER DEAL
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