Editor's note: This response was received on Dec. 24, 2003, to a Source editorial published on July 18, 2002.
First, I have to say I think the author missed the point of a year around ferry between St. Croix and St. Thomas. The author has assumed that the ferry would be a service to the people of St. Thomas and their cruise ship visitors and in my opinion gives a fairly accurate response to that assumption based on a "What's in it for me?" attitude.
However, what about looking at it from the opposite point of view: "What's in it for them?" I think the ferry would be a service to the people of St. Croix. As the author pointed out, St. Thomas is the No. 1 shopping destination in the Caribbean. So, logic would tell me that Crucians would be attracted to St. Thomas for that very reason.
Now with Home Depot open on St. Thomas there is even more reason for a Crucian to hop over to St. Thomas. It will also be a service to St. Thomas, too. Aside from bringing in cold hard cash from St. Croix, it will give those on St. Thomas another choice.
I live in a metropolitan area. Believe me, it is nice to get the heck out of town and enjoy getting away from the crowds, the hustle and bustle, and find someplace quiet to relax and come to my senses. As Americans, our freedom is based on choices. What kind of freedom do you have now in choosing modes of transportation between islands? You don't.
Second, the author has brought forth another issue. As a mainlander looking to invest in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I have noticed that there is a lot of sibling rivalry among St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. While I find the attitudes toward each other interesting and at times comical, like it or not, each island is a part of the U.S. Virgin Island territory. One island's problem is a problem for the territory as a whole. Do you think that one day the U.S. government is going to choose one island over the others? If that was the case, my bet would be on Puerto Rico.
The author points out the problems of crime, sewage, litter and dilapidated buildings on St. Croix. What about those issues on St. Thomas? We all need to take a look in our own backyards. These issues pointed out occur everywhere, not just on St. Croix. Crime is crime no matter where it happens. And when it does, it affects us all, whether it is in our town, state, island or country. It affects us because it forces us to give up our freedom. We lose the freedom to go to places and feel safe, we lose our freedom to prosper because crime chases away our opportunity, we lose our financial freedom to the government for protection and social programs. So you see, in the end, we all lose!
The author makes a good point about needing outside investors to help revitalize Frederiksted and the economy of the U.S.V.I. But as citizens of the U.S.V.I., you must first help each other. Take pride in what you have as a territory. Look at the diversity as a positive, and learn to be an active part in it.
Personal experience has shown me that nobody is willing to help those who are not willing to help themselves. Trust me when I say that from what I have gathered from the local papers, Internet talk groups, etc., the U.S.V.I. is no different than any other place in America. We all have the same problems and issues. The reality check is that we must all take an active role in being part of the solution, not the problem!
Fort Worth, Texas
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