As an owner of two vacation rental villas on St. Croix, I am appalled every time I read anything in the press regarding some of our government officials' lack of vision with regards to tourism in the territory. I have never seen a more inept bunch in my life! Tourism is a business, by far the largest business sector in the territory, and largest contributor to our economy. If there is one thing I have learned over the years it is, if you want a business to fail, put the government solely in charge of it.
I have to believe that the real reason the governor vetoed Sen. Lorraine Berry's tourism legislation is because it would stop him from stealing our tourism tax dollars to help cover up his horrendous fiscal problems. He can spout all he wants about the bill "giving too much power to the private sector" but when it comes down to it, where does he think all the tax revenues in the territory come from, the government? He has alienated the cruise ship industry with the same idiotic policy. The private sector is looking out for its best interest and, for the most part, what they want is also the best for the territory.
As it turns out, each year I spend the equivalent of what I collect in hotel taxes to market my two properties on the Internet. My properties are reserved most every week of the year. If I can do that as a small, independent operator, how can it be that the USVI government can do such a lousy job promoting the territory with the millions of dollars it collects each year? The answer is a simple one; the dollars collected are not being spent on tourism! Sen. Berry's legislation would have made it mandatory that the tax dollars collected for tourism actually be spent on guess what … tourism … not bailing out the governors failed fiscal and economic policies!
While I currently reside in the states, I do have a vested interest in the economy of the Virgin Islands and St. Croix in particular. It makes me sick to see how one of the most beautiful spots on earth is regarded by this governor. I have seen for years that what he is most concerned with are his $600 suits, luxury sport-utility vans and with keeping his friends and family employed in overpaid positions in his administration.
When will the people of these beautiful islands wake up and elect officials that have the territories well being as their top priority?
Aurora, Colo. and St. Croix
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