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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesV.I. MUST RETURN TO GOOD GOVERNMENT

V.I. MUST RETURN TO GOOD GOVERNMENT

St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John all deserve local government. There are steps we can easily take that would lay a foundation for good government, which is not possible with the present structure.
Of course, there are no sure roads without vigorous vigilance by a thoughtful population.
A good fair government making progress creates a safe environment for each and everyone. Excellent schools, excellent hospitals, sensible services are the selfish goals of the wise.
Until the Revised Organic Act of 1952 there were two municipal councils, one for St. Croix and one for St. Thomas-St. John. These two councils periodically formed a territorial legislature. This provided for a local government without another layer with less travel and expense: and it worked for centuries.
The councils or the territorial legislature met with the single governor of the Virgin Islands to pass local law or combined, for the several territorial issues such as distribution of federal funds. IN PLUIBUS UNUM – we are thus united like a good family, each an individual struggling for personal development.
The only updating this system needs is a council for St John. Let us go back to what worked and improve it. In our long history of local government going back to 1754, the relatively recent change of 1952 was a wrong course.
It was recently reported in the media that Minnesota’s 185 person Senate and House of Representatives spends only $25 million a year on operations. I understand our 15 person unicameral system consumes almost $15 million.
Expanded numbers enough to enable a Council for St John, strict limits on the days in session of both the councils and the territorial legislature and less need for inter-island travel could cut our cost to under $5 million. That is a first step to paying our debts, back wages and retaining local independence. In Minnesota there are no personal cars for legislators.
Jokingly, to put things in perspective, we could have 70 Senators paid $100,000 each a year. At a total cost of $7 million -less than half our present cost. They could meet two weeks a year as councils and one as a territorial legislature (Arkansas has prospered after the people voted by referendum to restrict their legislature to one month each two-year period). The $100,000 could be kept entirely by each senator or they could pay for personal staff themselves. Any sessions additional to the legal limit would be paid out of pocket by the senators from their own money.
Each an every Senator should have to run from a different local district. This is the only way to have real political parties. To have platforms that might eventually become real. It would also begin to provide accountability.
Recently someone asked what do you think of Senator X. What does it matter? A senator could be the finest person but a bill needs eight votes to pass. Only districts with candidates running by party, forced to compete on a party basis, will give the power of change back to the people.
We are now as enfeebled as countries such as Italy with 15 parties — one for each senator — and no power to really change things in the votes of the people. As with Italy the changes are mere shifts of coalitions, minor changes of individuals but never a real choice between two or three entire programs.
The best horses randomly attached to a wagon will pull it apart as you can see.

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St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John all deserve local government. There are steps we can easily take that would lay a foundation for good government, which is not possible with the present structure.
Of course, there are no sure roads without vigorous vigilance by a thoughtful population.
A good fair government making progress creates a safe environment for each and everyone. Excellent schools, excellent hospitals, sensible services are the selfish goals of the wise.
Until the Revised Organic Act of 1952 there were two municipal councils, one for St. Croix and one for St. Thomas-St. John. These two councils periodically formed a territorial legislature. This provided for a local government without another layer with less travel and expense: and it worked for centuries.
The councils or the territorial legislature met with the single governor of the Virgin Islands to pass local law or combined, for the several territorial issues such as distribution of federal funds. IN PLUIBUS UNUM - we are thus united like a good family, each an individual struggling for personal development.
The only updating this system needs is a council for St John. Let us go back to what worked and improve it. In our long history of local government going back to 1754, the relatively recent change of 1952 was a wrong course.
It was recently reported in the media that Minnesota’s 185 person Senate and House of Representatives spends only $25 million a year on operations. I understand our 15 person unicameral system consumes almost $15 million.
Expanded numbers enough to enable a Council for St John, strict limits on the days in session of both the councils and the territorial legislature and less need for inter-island travel could cut our cost to under $5 million. That is a first step to paying our debts, back wages and retaining local independence. In Minnesota there are no personal cars for legislators.
Jokingly, to put things in perspective, we could have 70 Senators paid $100,000 each a year. At a total cost of $7 million -less than half our present cost. They could meet two weeks a year as councils and one as a territorial legislature (Arkansas has prospered after the people voted by referendum to restrict their legislature to one month each two-year period). The $100,000 could be kept entirely by each senator or they could pay for personal staff themselves. Any sessions additional to the legal limit would be paid out of pocket by the senators from their own money.
Each an every Senator should have to run from a different local district. This is the only way to have real political parties. To have platforms that might eventually become real. It would also begin to provide accountability.
Recently someone asked what do you think of Senator X. What does it matter? A senator could be the finest person but a bill needs eight votes to pass. Only districts with candidates running by party, forced to compete on a party basis, will give the power of change back to the people.
We are now as enfeebled as countries such as Italy with 15 parties -- one for each senator -- and no power to really change things in the votes of the people. As with Italy the changes are mere shifts of coalitions, minor changes of individuals but never a real choice between two or three entire programs.
The best horses randomly attached to a wagon will pull it apart as you can see.