(Copied from a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull)
As you know, St. Croix is desperately in need of responsible economic development. As the chairman of the St. Croix Environmental Association board of directors, I want to bring to your attention a substantial economic development project. I realize that you, and the citizens of our islands, may not perceive SEA as "pro-development," but even SEA realizes the people of St. Croix need broader economic opportunities. That's why we support responsible, sustainable development on St. Croix.
Remarkably, this is a project that is completely within your control; it requires no outside investors or developers, nor the issuance of complex casino licenses. It is a project that the business community, the tourist industry, the cruise ship industry, SEA and all Virgin Islanders, black, brown, white and even green support.
What is this incredible economic development program? Fixing the sewers!
Governor, St. Croix is losing money because sewage runs into our seas, past our homes (and sometimes into them), down the streets of our beautiful historic towns and onto our beaches.
Do you see it when it bubbles up through the manholes less than 300 feet from Government House? Do you smell it in Christiansted? Do you see it run down the gut in Frederiksted, past the government buildings? We do! We see it, smell it, and get sick over it!
Don't you see tourists turn up their noses at the putrid smell? Can shop owners attract customers when the stench permeates the entire town? Surely, you heard that our only cruise ship in months turned away because this problem persists! Is this the image we want to leave in the minds of would-be cruise ship visitors?
Infrastructure is the foundation for all other economic development. Can we seriously talk about additional hotels, casinos and convention centers without addressing the sewage issue? If not, before long we will be building casinos in cesspools.
Fixing the sewage problem on St. Croix is something we all have in common and want accomplished as soon as possible. So, we ask this simple question: When will it be done?
Instead of promising outsiders money for private development, why don't you take the money and fix the sewers?
Governor, for the economic (we don't even have to say environmental!) future of St. Croix, lead us out of this "excremental" mess!
James Meaney, chairman
St. Croix Environmental Association board
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