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ECONOMIST BLAMES PRIVATE SECTOR FOR FINANCIAL WOES

The economy of the V.I. is in a tailspin because government grew while the private sector remained stagnant, according to economist Richard Moore.
Moore, a member of the Governor’s new Economic Recovery Task Force, addressed the League of Women Voters in St. Thomas on Saturday. The task force is expected to submit its first report to the governor by the end of this month.
"The objective of this task force is not only to come up with a plan to improve government efficiency but to bring about an improved standard of living," Moore told the league.
Moore and Frandelle Gerard, another task force member and the director of the Industrial Development Commission, are writing the portion of the plan that addresses the development of the private and public sectors.
Today's financial crisis, said Moore, who headed the division of economic research in the Department of Tourism under the past two administrations, "is the direct result of a crisis in the private sector. There would have been no government crisis had the economy continued to grow like it did in the 1980s."
During that period the economy grew by 5 to 6 percent per year, he estimated, with tourist arrivals increasing and more money coming into the territory each year.
"The crisis is due in part to the private sector not growing in 10 years. We’re in an economy today like we were in 10 years ago, a decade ago. That’s a long time."
Moore predicted the crunch would continue as long as the private sector
remains dormant and the government delays in its downsizing.
"Because we have had no sustainable growth since Hurricane Hugo and because the public sector continued to operate as if growth would occur, we have the financial crisis we are now experiencing," Moore told league members.
In addressing the portion of the plan he and Gerard will develop, Moore
said, "our chapter is . . . to help our
private sector grow with as little interference as possible."
During her remarks to the league, Frandelle Gerard spoke of a plan to market the Virgin Islands as a place to do business through incentives offered by the Industrial Development Commission. She reiterated that the implementation of the five-year recovery plan will be key to a financial turnaround.
"If it's not what the community wants, the plan, like others drafted in years past, will sit on the shelf and collect dust," Gerard said.
She maintained that if no overall agency is put in place to deal with the fiscal crisis, as Gov. Charles Turnbull has proposed, attempts at growing the economy will be scattershot.
The governor has proposed an economic development authority incorporating the Small Business Development Agency, the Government Development Bank and the Bureau of Economic Research. Presently, the three operate independently under the auspices of the Tourism Department.
"If we fail to implement this plan, there will be a number of agencies that because of structure cannot work together and lack leadership," Gerard said.
The governor's task force is chaired by John de Jongh Jr. of Lockhart Caribbean Corporation, president of the St. Thomas- St. John Chamber of Commerce.

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The economy of the V.I. is in a tailspin because government grew while the private sector remained stagnant, according to economist Richard Moore.
Moore, a member of the Governor’s new Economic Recovery Task Force, addressed the League of Women Voters in St. Thomas on Saturday. The task force is expected to submit its first report to the governor by the end of this month.
"The objective of this task force is not only to come up with a plan to improve government efficiency but to bring about an improved standard of living," Moore told the league.
Moore and Frandelle Gerard, another task force member and the director of the Industrial Development Commission, are writing the portion of the plan that addresses the development of the private and public sectors.
Today's financial crisis, said Moore, who headed the division of economic research in the Department of Tourism under the past two administrations, "is the direct result of a crisis in the private sector. There would have been no government crisis had the economy continued to grow like it did in the 1980s."
During that period the economy grew by 5 to 6 percent per year, he estimated, with tourist arrivals increasing and more money coming into the territory each year.
"The crisis is due in part to the private sector not growing in 10 years. We’re in an economy today like we were in 10 years ago, a decade ago. That’s a long time."
Moore predicted the crunch would continue as long as the private sector
remains dormant and the government delays in its downsizing.
"Because we have had no sustainable growth since Hurricane Hugo and because the public sector continued to operate as if growth would occur, we have the financial crisis we are now experiencing," Moore told league members.
In addressing the portion of the plan he and Gerard will develop, Moore
said, "our chapter is . . . to help our
private sector grow with as little interference as possible."
During her remarks to the league, Frandelle Gerard spoke of a plan to market the Virgin Islands as a place to do business through incentives offered by the Industrial Development Commission. She reiterated that the implementation of the five-year recovery plan will be key to a financial turnaround.
"If it's not what the community wants, the plan, like others drafted in years past, will sit on the shelf and collect dust," Gerard said.
She maintained that if no overall agency is put in place to deal with the fiscal crisis, as Gov. Charles Turnbull has proposed, attempts at growing the economy will be scattershot.
The governor has proposed an economic development authority incorporating the Small Business Development Agency, the Government Development Bank and the Bureau of Economic Research. Presently, the three operate independently under the auspices of the Tourism Department.
"If we fail to implement this plan, there will be a number of agencies that because of structure cannot work together and lack leadership," Gerard said.
The governor's task force is chaired by John de Jongh Jr. of Lockhart Caribbean Corporation, president of the St. Thomas- St. John Chamber of Commerce.