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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesGRANGER RESPONDS TO SOURCE SENATE FORUM

GRANGER RESPONDS TO SOURCE SENATE FORUM

1. How important is a comprehensive land and water use plan, and why has the territory been unable in more than 20 years of effort to change this, and what, if anything, will you do to bring about such change?
The comprehensive land and water use plan is vital because being an island we have limitations. Therefore, we must secure that we operate within a fashion that best optimizes both our land and water. The problem we run into is by having a fragile economy; there has been such a focus on economic development (hotel and business construction) that the implementation of a plan has been continuously postponed. Our laws must protect our land and water so that the decisions we make today will not have a negative impact on our environment.
2. How important is private and public sector partnering and how can such partnering best accomplished in order to be most effective in addressing economic and social problems in the territory.
With our government already operating in a deficit, we can no longer afford to be the sole source of funding for all of the programs and services we need to function as a healthy society. It will take the assistance of the private sector to help us address the economic and social problems we face in the territory. We must seek joint business ventures and establish coalitions so that "together" through partnership between the public and private sector we can bring back St. Croix’s sagging economy.
3. What are the biggest problems in the public education system, and what will it take to solve them? What will you do toward getting them solved?
Our teachers earn salaries that are at the bottom of the salary scale throughout the United Sates. Poor teachers = poor schools. Poor schools = poor productivity. Poor productivity = loss of accreditation. I would introduce/support the allocation of funding to be utilized for the increase of teachers salaries. I would also support that all monies allocated towards education be distributed directly to the principals for site-based management (SBM). SBM will assure that the needs of our schools are met first and that the monies allocated for schools reach the schools thereby supporting the improvement of our territory’s educational system.
4. How do you feel about floating future bonds to finance government initiatives, given the territory’s present bond indebtedness of more than $1 billion? What will you do to persuade others of your views?
When I think of floating bonds, I am reminded that "what goes up must come down." How long do we think we can continue to float (out at sea) without heading towards shore? We must explore fiscal management and demonstrate responsible government. We cannot continue to rob Peter to pay Paul. Sooner or later both Peter and Paul will be broke. I support the need of external auditing services to make sure that we operate within a system of accountability. We must also seek partnerships with the private sector (see question No. 2) to assist us with funding initiatives that exceeds our financial limitations.
5. What is the most viable solution to the territory’s solid-waste disposal proem? What will you do to advance the implementation for this solution?
We must engage in a long-term waste management program in the form of recycling. Residence must separate their solid waste in receptacles that will allow glass, aluminum and paper to be recycled. Fines must be imposed for improper disposal measures. Even with an alternative landfill site, our waste will once again reach its capacity level. However, engaging in aggressive recycling measures can minimize the rate in which our solid waste accumulates. I would introduce/support legislation that would stiffen the fines for those who violate these recycling measures.
6. What is the most viable solution to the territory’s sewage disposal problems? What will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
Our sewage system has exhausted its life expectancy. There is only so much life in any system before it must be renovated. Putting new parts on an old system is counterproductive and wasteful. I would propose/support the allocation of funding to replace our current system and with a new modernized system that offers the technological advances that result in minimizing malfunctions.
7. How do you assess the economy of the Virgin Islands as this time, and what do you see as its best hope for growth? What will you do to foster that growth?
The economy of the Virgin Islands is tilted. If you look at St. Thomas/St. John, you get a very different economic picture in comparison to St. Croix. As a legislator representing the district of St. Croix, I would have to look at ways in which St. Croix’s economy could be stimulated. One key is to market St. Croix to the cruise ship industry "independent" of St. Thomas/St. John. This would allow St. Croix to promote our historical, agricultural and multicultural heritage, which makes our island unique.
8. How pervasive is corruption within the local government, and how should this problem, if you consider it to be a problem, best be addressed?
With our news media reporting on numerous stories regarding government corruption, no one can say that they are unaware of its existence. Now, we must look at how we as a territory deal with this problem. I believe that government employees must be held to the same level of accountability as the private sector. The prosecution of government employees who engage in corruptive activities must be aggressive and applied uniformly. If you do the crime, you must do the time. The laws must be comprehensive and not allow room for "slap on the wrist" punishment.
9. What is the most viable solution to Government Employees
Retirement System payouts exceeding revenues and what will you do to advance the implementations of this solution.

As a contributor to GERS I am very concerned that the funds that I have been contributing to the system will not be available upon my retirement. Therefore it should be understood that GERS is no "cash cow". I believe that the government has neglected to protect the resources in GERS. As a senator, I would propose/support legislation that would protect GERS revenues just as social security revenues are protected.
10. What is the most viable solution to government spending exceeding revenues, and what will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
The solution in government spending exceeding revenues rest in fiscal management and auditory measures of accountability. Only when you have a clear and accurate picture of what revenues you have, can you account for what you have to spend. Not knowing your budget limits leads to blind spending. This is exactly what has been taking place within government. Therefore auditory measures must be put in place so that all expenditures can be accounted for, utilizing a system of checks and balances that will assure that all departments and agencies operate within their budget limit.
11. How do alignments between majority and minority blocks in the legislature and adversarial relationships between the legislative and executive branches of government serve the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Unfortunately the alignments between majority and minority blocks and the adversarial relationships between the legislative and executive branches of government do not serve the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands. Part of our economic despair is directly linked to the adversarial relationships that exist between the executive and legislative branches of government and the majority and minority blocks. For the Bible says, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Therefore, we must work together as a team (legislative branch, as well as executive branch) to improve the conditions in our territory.

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1. How important is a comprehensive land and water use plan, and why has the territory been unable in more than 20 years of effort to change this, and what, if anything, will you do to bring about such change?
The comprehensive land and water use plan is vital because being an island we have limitations. Therefore, we must secure that we operate within a fashion that best optimizes both our land and water. The problem we run into is by having a fragile economy; there has been such a focus on economic development (hotel and business construction) that the implementation of a plan has been continuously postponed. Our laws must protect our land and water so that the decisions we make today will not have a negative impact on our environment.
2. How important is private and public sector partnering and how can such partnering best accomplished in order to be most effective in addressing economic and social problems in the territory.
With our government already operating in a deficit, we can no longer afford to be the sole source of funding for all of the programs and services we need to function as a healthy society. It will take the assistance of the private sector to help us address the economic and social problems we face in the territory. We must seek joint business ventures and establish coalitions so that "together" through partnership between the public and private sector we can bring back St. Croix’s sagging economy.
3. What are the biggest problems in the public education system, and what will it take to solve them? What will you do toward getting them solved?
Our teachers earn salaries that are at the bottom of the salary scale throughout the United Sates. Poor teachers = poor schools. Poor schools = poor productivity. Poor productivity = loss of accreditation. I would introduce/support the allocation of funding to be utilized for the increase of teachers salaries. I would also support that all monies allocated towards education be distributed directly to the principals for site-based management (SBM). SBM will assure that the needs of our schools are met first and that the monies allocated for schools reach the schools thereby supporting the improvement of our territory’s educational system.
4. How do you feel about floating future bonds to finance government initiatives, given the territory’s present bond indebtedness of more than $1 billion? What will you do to persuade others of your views?
When I think of floating bonds, I am reminded that "what goes up must come down." How long do we think we can continue to float (out at sea) without heading towards shore? We must explore fiscal management and demonstrate responsible government. We cannot continue to rob Peter to pay Paul. Sooner or later both Peter and Paul will be broke. I support the need of external auditing services to make sure that we operate within a system of accountability. We must also seek partnerships with the private sector (see question No. 2) to assist us with funding initiatives that exceeds our financial limitations.
5. What is the most viable solution to the territory’s solid-waste disposal proem? What will you do to advance the implementation for this solution?
We must engage in a long-term waste management program in the form of recycling. Residence must separate their solid waste in receptacles that will allow glass, aluminum and paper to be recycled. Fines must be imposed for improper disposal measures. Even with an alternative landfill site, our waste will once again reach its capacity level. However, engaging in aggressive recycling measures can minimize the rate in which our solid waste accumulates. I would introduce/support legislation that would stiffen the fines for those who violate these recycling measures.
6. What is the most viable solution to the territory’s sewage disposal problems? What will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
Our sewage system has exhausted its life expectancy. There is only so much life in any system before it must be renovated. Putting new parts on an old system is counterproductive and wasteful. I would propose/support the allocation of funding to replace our current system and with a new modernized system that offers the technological advances that result in minimizing malfunctions.
7. How do you assess the economy of the Virgin Islands as this time, and what do you see as its best hope for growth? What will you do to foster that growth?
The economy of the Virgin Islands is tilted. If you look at St. Thomas/St. John, you get a very different economic picture in comparison to St. Croix. As a legislator representing the district of St. Croix, I would have to look at ways in which St. Croix’s economy could be stimulated. One key is to market St. Croix to the cruise ship industry "independent" of St. Thomas/St. John. This would allow St. Croix to promote our historical, agricultural and multicultural heritage, which makes our island unique.
8. How pervasive is corruption within the local government, and how should this problem, if you consider it to be a problem, best be addressed?
With our news media reporting on numerous stories regarding government corruption, no one can say that they are unaware of its existence. Now, we must look at how we as a territory deal with this problem. I believe that government employees must be held to the same level of accountability as the private sector. The prosecution of government employees who engage in corruptive activities must be aggressive and applied uniformly. If you do the crime, you must do the time. The laws must be comprehensive and not allow room for "slap on the wrist" punishment.
9. What is the most viable solution to Government Employees
Retirement System payouts exceeding revenues and what will you do to advance the implementations of this solution.

As a contributor to GERS I am very concerned that the funds that I have been contributing to the system will not be available upon my retirement. Therefore it should be understood that GERS is no "cash cow". I believe that the government has neglected to protect the resources in GERS. As a senator, I would propose/support legislation that would protect GERS revenues just as social security revenues are protected.
10. What is the most viable solution to government spending exceeding revenues, and what will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
The solution in government spending exceeding revenues rest in fiscal management and auditory measures of accountability. Only when you have a clear and accurate picture of what revenues you have, can you account for what you have to spend. Not knowing your budget limits leads to blind spending. This is exactly what has been taking place within government. Therefore auditory measures must be put in place so that all expenditures can be accounted for, utilizing a system of checks and balances that will assure that all departments and agencies operate within their budget limit.
11. How do alignments between majority and minority blocks in the legislature and adversarial relationships between the legislative and executive branches of government serve the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Unfortunately the alignments between majority and minority blocks and the adversarial relationships between the legislative and executive branches of government do not serve the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands. Part of our economic despair is directly linked to the adversarial relationships that exist between the executive and legislative branches of government and the majority and minority blocks. For the Bible says, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Therefore, we must work together as a team (legislative branch, as well as executive branch) to improve the conditions in our territory.