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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, March 25, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesJohn deJongh Says 'Together We Can'

John deJongh Says 'Together We Can'

June 1, 2005 — After the 2002 Election, I decided that there was a need to step back from the rhetoric of the campaign and permit those who were elected a chance to fulfill their promises without constant criticism or comment. It seemed only fair that, given the challenges and opportunities that would be presented after the election, the whole community should work together with those who had been elected to make things better for us all. Sometimes it is more appropriate to let governance prevail over politics and allow those in power a chance to serve the best interests of the people of the Virgin Islands. This is what I did.
Now, as we enter the final phase of the Turnbull-Richards Administration, it seems fitting to look ahead. For me, as for so many Virgin Islanders, the fundamentals of our commitment to these Islands are Faith in God, Faith in the Virgin Islands and Faith in our Future. For I do have abiding faith that together we can harness our abilities and face all events as opportunities.
We know now more than ever that we cannot progress without leadership: active, engaged, competent leadership. Leadership that understands that our investment in our children must begin with quality early childhood education programs and go on to provide them with a challenging high school experience. Leadership that grows an economy that not only provides jobs, but fosters opportunities for our people to be owners. Leadership that knows that ignoring retroactive obligations due government employees and allowing an unfunded liability in the public pension system to grow exhibits moral bankruptcy. Leadership that understands that government is at its best when decision-making is transparent and those affected by its decisions have had a chance to be heard. Leadership that values a person for their contribution and does not penalize them because of where they were born. Today's appalling lack of energy, involvement, foresight or action is truly disheartening. Yet we cannot despair.
We must begin to build a true community consensus on how we wish to move ahead. We must involve all in our community – not just a small cabal of the "chosen few" – in open discussions of how best to solve our problems, grow our economy, provide jobs for our people, and put them on the road to wealth creation. To accomplish this we must forge public policy on a foundation of facts, not guesswork or supposition. There are few secrets in the Virgin Islands. We can always get to the facts if we involve enough people. How can one discuss education without involving teachers and administrators from all of our schools, public, private and parochial? How can we talk of job growth if the major employers are not part of the discussion? How can we discuss what's best for our children without taking a hard look at the challenges confronting our families? How can we talk of a government for and by the people, if we do not embrace and implement municipal government reform?
Time is not on our side, especially on St. Croix where the continuing lack of economic opportunity treads heavily on the hopes of the generation whose time to engage and produce and thrive is now. I offer to work with all persons of goodwill in a mutual effort to help start the engines of economic opportunity and growth on St. Croix. We cannot be duped into believing there is a sole "fix" – one big project – a huge bonanza that will cause a boom. But project by project, job by job, business by business, idea by idea, we can build momentum towards prosperity.
My faith in our future is built on my years of experience in government and in the private sector. I have hope because I know we can stimulate growth and jobs – I know we can deliver higher quality government services much more efficiently. And I know that is what the vast majority of Virgin Islanders want for our Islands, for themselves and for our children. I know that together we can!

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