I am moved to congratulate Delegate Christensen on her bold initiative to propose the establishing of a chief financial officer for the territory. In light of the gross mismanagement of the government resources by successive administrations and Legislatures, we need a relief. The current administration and Legislature are no exception to the history of mismanagement of our resources. It appears that our politicians tend to perpetuate a culture of mediocrity and incompetence. Added to the incompetence is the lack of accountability and integrity of the elected and appointed civil servants.
It is my personal view that the people of the Virgin Islands, the people who are honest, hard-working decent residents, need some relief from these politicians that have held this community hostage for too long.
This 25th Legislature is a very young Legislature. I believe the average age is about 40 years. Some people have been clamoring to give the youth a chance in government. And what is the 25th Legislature showing for being such a young Legislature, with the average education level that of a bachelor's degree? Does that make them more capable than their predecessors who were older with less academic degrees?
We could therefore conclude that it is not age nor academic degrees that makes a good representative of the people; it is the person's track record, integrity and standing in the community. We need to ask ourselves are these individuals good parents, good managers of their own finances who pay their taxes and other dues? Do these individual maintain good communication with their constituents? Are they sensitive to the expressed will of the people? Are they respectful of themselves and others?
In a democracy the people get the government they elect, and therefore deserve. If we believe we deserve a better government, then let us work for a better government by getting involved and demanding better performance, greater accountability, better personal standards and morals. We need to up the standard from mediocrity, incompetence to excellence. We deserve better.
Therefore, I support the need for outside help to straighten out the mess we have in our government. Since we are a dependency of the federal government, that is where we run begging for help to clean up our own mess. It is the federal government that will come to bail us out if we become bankrupt. It is the federal government that has bailed out other jurisdictions that have had economic crises due to incompetence of local politicians and/or corruption.
If I understand the delegate's proposal, the local government will have participation in the selection of the person to hold the position of CFO. Unlike other jurisdictions that I have learned about, the local government was not given that participation to select federal overseers.
I believe the delegate's proposal does not go far enough. We need help in the Internal Revenue Bureau, in both collection and enforcement. We need help in law enforcement in general and specifically in tax collections and enforcement. The local government can then concentrate on other issues such as education, health, social services, public works, tourism, industrial and commercial promotion, etc.
I therefore support the Democratic delegate to Congress. With her initiative she is finally showing independent leadership in carrying out the duties of her office. Right on, Delegate Christensen! The people of the Virgin Island needs some relief from these local politicians and a way out of the fiscal, social and criminal chaos we find ourselves in.
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