Out of 447 votes vast, a grand total of two respondents — less than one-half of one percent — felt the V.I. government is doing all it can to fight corruption. Perhaps more significantly, just 1 in 5 (adding totals for response Nos. 2, 3 and 4) thinks the V.I. government can fight corruption better with more funds and staff and/or having the attorney general elected rather than appointed. These ratios are constant across the territory; there was little variation between islands.
In other words, the poll results suggest that Source readers feel the government of the Virgin Islands is hopelessly corrupt, incapable of policing itself.
Nor can V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron take any comfort from the opinions expressed in the poll. While not a referendum on his job performance (the subject of a recent Source editorial), the only answer stating that the present attorney general "is meeting his commitment to fight corruption" drew a lowly 4 percent of all respondents.
One Source reader from Illinois felt that the structure and wording of the poll steered readers toward answer No. 5, which is debatable. That criticism notwithstanding, even if one presumes that Source readers are a particularly cynical bunch — and there is no reason to think they are — the sheer weight of the disparity should give those serving in government pause.
Unless, of course, they are hopelessly corrupt. Here are the numbers:
Question: How do you think the V.I. government can improve its efforts at rooting out public corruption?
1. The government is already doing all it can against corruption.
STT (1) STX (1) STJ (0) ; Total (2), 0.45 percent of all respondents.
2. Legislation should be passed making the attorney general an elected official, rather than appointed by the governor.
STT (10) STX (4) STJ (1); Total (15), 3.4 percent of all respondents.
3. Legislation should be passed making the attorney general an elected official, and more funds dedicated to hiring more prosecutors and investigators.
STT (38) STX (17) STJ (3); Total (58), 13 percent of all respondents.
4. The attorney general is meeting his commitment to fight corruption, but more funds should be dedicated to hiring more prosecutors and investigators.
STT (14) STX (3) STJ (1); Total (18), 4 percent of all respondents.
5. Federal officials should be enlisted to ensure that any corruption probe is carried out without regard to who is being investigated.
STT (214) STX (119) STJ (21); Total (354), 79.2 percent of all respondents.
This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we think you will find the results interesting and worth considering as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory. And we hope you will consider voting in this week's poll and those to come.