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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTOO MUCH POWER IN ONE MAN'S HANDS

TOO MUCH POWER IN ONE MAN'S HANDS

What happens to a community that is controlled by one man? Fear and silence are what we see in the aftermath of reports that St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser is buying the Chase Bank operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands along with those in the British Virgin Islands and Barbados.
In our islands, few people are talking on the record, though many are privately voicing concerns ranging from uneasiness to worry to outrage.
Sources inside the bank say employees are extremely upset. We have heard numerous Chase customers threatening to pull their accounts out of the bank. But hardly anyone has been willing to give their name for publication.
Why?
Fear of repercussions.
Remember Sam Raphael's remarks during the legislative hearing in May on the "Prosser bill"? He said that when he publicly opposed the "Prosser bill," he got a letter threatening foreclosure on his mortgages and a call from V.I. Community Bank President Michael Dow suggesting that he not "go against his banker."
So what can we expect when Prosser takes over the extensive Chase operations?
People already being afraid is a bad sign of what one man with too much power can inspire.
In addition to the V.I. Community Bank, Jeffrey Prosser owns the local access telephone company, a cellular phone company, several Cable TV companies, an Internet service provider and the only daily newspaper that is printed on St. Thomas. The Daily News Publishing Co. prints not only the Daily News and several other publications that belong to Mr. Prosser but also most other print publications on St. Thomas.
And now his Community Bank, with two branches in St. Croix and unprecedented Industrial Development Commission tax benefits, is buying a bank that has eight branches in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A bank that holds mortgages for people who have criticized or opposed him, a la Sam Raphael. A bank with enormous say and sway over V.I. government financing during this perilous fiscal period.
We remember a time in America when this could not happen. There were regulations and anti-trust laws to protect people like us — little people — from anyone wielding excessive power and influence over a small community like ours.
We hope there still are laws on the books against anyone exercising this kind of power. Equally important, we hope we can count on the watchdogs of this community to find out.

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What happens to a community that is controlled by one man? Fear and silence are what we see in the aftermath of reports that St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser is buying the Chase Bank operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands along with those in the British Virgin Islands and Barbados.
In our islands, few people are talking on the record, though many are privately voicing concerns ranging from uneasiness to worry to outrage.
Sources inside the bank say employees are extremely upset. We have heard numerous Chase customers threatening to pull their accounts out of the bank. But hardly anyone has been willing to give their name for publication.
Why?
Fear of repercussions.
Remember Sam Raphael's remarks during the legislative hearing in May on the "Prosser bill"? He said that when he publicly opposed the "Prosser bill," he got a letter threatening foreclosure on his mortgages and a call from V.I. Community Bank President Michael Dow suggesting that he not "go against his banker."
So what can we expect when Prosser takes over the extensive Chase operations?
People already being afraid is a bad sign of what one man with too much power can inspire.
In addition to the V.I. Community Bank, Jeffrey Prosser owns the local access telephone company, a cellular phone company, several Cable TV companies, an Internet service provider and the only daily newspaper that is printed on St. Thomas. The Daily News Publishing Co. prints not only the Daily News and several other publications that belong to Mr. Prosser but also most other print publications on St. Thomas.
And now his Community Bank, with two branches in St. Croix and unprecedented Industrial Development Commission tax benefits, is buying a bank that has eight branches in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A bank that holds mortgages for people who have criticized or opposed him, a la Sam Raphael. A bank with enormous say and sway over V.I. government financing during this perilous fiscal period.
We remember a time in America when this could not happen. There were regulations and anti-trust laws to protect people like us — little people — from anyone wielding excessive power and influence over a small community like ours.
We hope there still are laws on the books against anyone exercising this kind of power. Equally important, we hope we can count on the watchdogs of this community to find out.