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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesELECTING NON-LEADERS WON'T SOLVE PROBLEMS

ELECTING NON-LEADERS WON'T SOLVE PROBLEMS

The blind leading the blind is not the formula for leadership. A Senate without astute individuals like Gilbert Sprauve, Glen Smith, Mohanani, Lockhart and Paiewonsky is one without even the voice of modernity. Such a Senate reflects the voting power of 20,000 public housing units out of 35,000 voters, not to mention 13,000 voters employed by the government voting their jobs in an at-large voting system that totally deprives minorities of say. Minorities such as the business community and the professional class of Virgin Islanders.
It does the housing communities no good to elect friends incapable of evolution toward home ownership. Rather, it entrenches the persons whose jobs depend on the continuation of public housing and the continuation of a dependent class of Virgin Islanders. Dependent on government service. On a continuation of a certain type of static relationship between client and provider.
Chucky Hansen as chair of the Finance Committee is an absurdity as profound as an oxymoron wrapped in an enigma, as Churchill might have mumbled. The fabric of our community is rent as local carnival culture sweeps aside bread-and-butter issues we face. It is not even true that half the Senate body "is not a pack of asses."
The Virgin Islands is facing the highest per capita debt on Earth: $200,000 per person – a total $2 billion debt for our tiny community. Our children do not have a consistently fine education system. Our hospitals are no one's first choice. Our Senate majority is not a body with the ingredients necessary to change these essentials for the better.
The only discourse of our polis – of our politics – must be the restucturing of our system to permit a fair representation of all the many facets of our community. We have the talant and we have the capability to solve our own problems. We have the hands and hearts in place. How do we free up the thinking head?
We do not want the federal government "taking over the Virgin Islands." We do want the federal government having hearings leading to district seats, island councils (with no new layers of government), a grand jury system, required referendums on all future bond issues, and assistance in developing the V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue, in breaking up the vast useless territorial office administrations, and in establishing an independent auditing system.

Editor's note: Michael Paiewonsky, a businessman and onetime Virgin Islands senator, ran unsuccessfully for a St. Thomas-St. John District seat in the 24th Legislature.

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