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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, May 28, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPRIVATIZE WAPA? LOOK AT VITELCO FIRST!

PRIVATIZE WAPA? LOOK AT VITELCO FIRST!

To the editor:
The current administration seems determined to sell 81 percent of the Water And Power Authority to Southern Electric Co. They argue that the government is broke and will benefit handsomely from the selling price of $76.8 million dollars. An editorial in The V.I. Daily News championed privatization of WAPA by stating, "We believe the time is right — and has been for years — to remove WAPA from public dependency."
In the early '50s, the V.I. government sold another utility to a private company. They argued then that the telephone industry would be better managed by a private company. Today this company is a multi-billion "cash cow" operation called Vitelco under the ownership of Jeffrey Prosser.
If Southern Electric can envision WAPA as a viable economic institution for its shareholders, why is our territory blind to those facts? Why should the profits of WAPA be deposited into the pockets of others instead of our territorial government? Would you be surprised if Southern Electric were to submit an Industrial Development Commission (IDC) package requesting a 20-year tax exemption a la Vitelco?
We, the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers, fully support the position of the WAPA Employees Association (WEA), which opposes the sale of WAPA. The employees at WAPA realize that corporate giants usually treat their workers with disdain within a few months after assuming ownership. Employees will be transferred from other plants while qualified locals are denied promotions and upward mobility.
If we sell WAPA today, will se well Fort Christian and the Port Authority tommorow?
Glen J. Smith
St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers
AFT Local 1825 / AFL-CIO

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To the editor:
The current administration seems determined to sell 81 percent of the Water And Power Authority to Southern Electric Co. They argue that the government is broke and will benefit handsomely from the selling price of $76.8 million dollars. An editorial in The V.I. Daily News championed privatization of WAPA by stating, "We believe the time is right -- and has been for years -- to remove WAPA from public dependency."
In the early '50s, the V.I. government sold another utility to a private company. They argued then that the telephone industry would be better managed by a private company. Today this company is a multi-billion "cash cow" operation called Vitelco under the ownership of Jeffrey Prosser.
If Southern Electric can envision WAPA as a viable economic institution for its shareholders, why is our territory blind to those facts? Why should the profits of WAPA be deposited into the pockets of others instead of our territorial government? Would you be surprised if Southern Electric were to submit an Industrial Development Commission (IDC) package requesting a 20-year tax exemption a la Vitelco?
We, the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers, fully support the position of the WAPA Employees Association (WEA), which opposes the sale of WAPA. The employees at WAPA realize that corporate giants usually treat their workers with disdain within a few months after assuming ownership. Employees will be transferred from other plants while qualified locals are denied promotions and upward mobility.
If we sell WAPA today, will se well Fort Christian and the Port Authority tommorow?
Glen J. Smith
St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers
AFT Local 1825 / AFL-CIO