I attended last night's Town meeting on St. John. Sen. Wesselhoft and Administrator Leona Smith should be commended for calling it. What was very obvious was the degree of pent-up frustrations that St. Johnians have been feeling for a long time about feeling unheard! Many
of us feel like we have no representation; and that our tax dollars are not being spent for any of our long list of needs. The over ride of our Governor's veto of the Sirenusa project by the Legislative branch has simply compounded this feeling of "is anyone listening to the people of
The realities are that we have been expressing these feelings for a long time without any kind of responsible follow-up or action by our government representatives. This goes as far back as the Schneider administration and compounded by the total ineptness and incompetence of the Turnbull Administration. Our past leaders have clearly demonstrated that they did not have the skills or the vision to do the job. Our Communities have paid a high price for that and there is much work to do to repair 20 years of mismanagement.
It occurred to me after I expressed some of my frustrations that so much of them were about our past administrations and like so many St. Johnians – I was "sick and tired" of talk…and wanted some action! Instead of the usual defensiveness by past Commissioners-in trying to appease the crowd- it was clear that this group of public officials were really on the same page with us. They get that there are problems; they get that our needs have built up to the point of crisis and they get that we want action. There has been hopelessness in government for way too long. I believe that through Governor de Jongh's clear leadership things will and are changing that sense of hopelessness that we have been carrying for so long. The simply fact that we were given a chance "to vent"; to be listened to (and yes- we were dumping many years of frustration on this new group of Commissioners) was a welcome change. I certainly felt more hopeful at the end of the meeting. Being heard is incredibly important-especially when a community has not been for so long!
Gov. de Jongh has put in place some great Commissioners. That was obvious at last night's Town Meeting. They are team Leaders focused on the tasks at hand. In fact-I left thinking that this Administration in 6 months has done more to date than the Turnbull Administration did in 8 years. I hope that these folks understand that St. John MUST have a voice in defining its problems and solutions. There are great people on St. John who have "carried" this Island while the past Administration basically ignored us because they were unable to problem solve on any basic level.
Let me also add that Administrator Leona Smith is doing a fabulous job. Just look around St. John. Things are getting done! Let's try to "let go" of our pessimism and much earned exasperation with past governerment. Let's remember that it has been only 6 months since Gov. de Jongh has been in office.
Let's also remember what our Senator's and Legislative Branch have been doing in the past 6 months…whether they have been doing the will of the people or serving their own interests or political ambitions. From the passing of Bill #6905 to overiding the Governor to grant a zone Variance to Sirenusa project that most St. Johnnians are opposed to.
Now that our Executive Branch is proving to be capable of serving our needs-we need to next "shake up" the Legislative Branch in the next election to follow suit. They need to listen to their constituents and practice and demonstrate democratic representation. They are not presently doing that. We, the citizens of St. John, will have the final say with those who continue to ignore us.
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