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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchives"Rape of the American Virgins"

"Rape of the American Virgins"

Dear Source:
The National Geographic article rating our Islands come as no surprise. What is also not surprising is that our past Administrations had neither vision nor understanding of the complex issues to somehow get us out of the poor impressions that we have made for too long! "Rape of The American Virgins" by O'Neil, written in the early 70's, is an eye-opener (interestingly out of print) and very clearly shows how our Islands- esp. St. Thomas- was "bought out" by those in power only interested in their own gain. The title of this book says it all! If St. John did not have The National Park, I am afraid that we would be facing the same "rape" of the land and resources that has plagued our sister-Island of St. Thomas.
Hopefully, St. Croix can and will learn from her sister-Islands mistakes. Development is inevitable-HOWEVER without proper planning and regards for the importance of a basic infrastructure as well as respect for the natural resources that make us the incredibly beautiful place that we are, we are doomed to be replaced as a destination place by other Islands who are smart enough to understand the Tourist Industry and the draw that travelers seek: Friendly and welcoming people; a unique cultural experience; and the "virginal" natural beauty that we are blessed with!
Destroying that beauty and greeting guests with bad attitudes is the formula that will guarantee our failure in the next 20 years especially if Cuba opens up. This IS a wake-up call that we must finally heed. Every organization needs to look within itself-to honestly ask "How can we better serve The Tourist energy, the life blood of our Economy?"
A stubbornness to change and do things the same way (for example our Taxi Industry must improve both services and attitudes) will result in continued bad press. I still have to apologize to incoming guests who share bad experiences with taxi drivers from our airport to St. John. This is not acceptable in any area of service whether it be Law enforcement or clerks in stores. The attitude that we bring to every interaction is just as important as our lovely beaches. People must feel welcomed…if they are not, you can count on them not returning…worse still…they will influence their many friends on "the rudeness" that they experienced.
I believe that our current deJongh Administration understands the great importance of both customer service and proper planning for our future. Thank Goodness! Our Legislative Branch does not seem to–as evident by the light shrugging off of the over-development concerns and the breaking of laws on St. John, esp. those voiced by St. Johnians at the Sirenusa Hearings. It is time that our elected Senators either listened to us. If they do not, let us find new incumbents who do come next November. It is also time to reorganize the way that our Islands are managed through more localized government so that the people's work can be completed with less bureaucracy and in-fighting. Our Virgin Island must be united as "One Virgin Islands" by the same goals, not pitted against one as Islands fighting for resources and dollars. We are so blessed with these Islands! Let's show gratitude by respecting this gift better than what we have to date.
Bonny Corbeil
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
The National Geographic article rating our Islands come as no surprise. What is also not surprising is that our past Administrations had neither vision nor understanding of the complex issues to somehow get us out of the poor impressions that we have made for too long! "Rape of The American Virgins" by O'Neil, written in the early 70's, is an eye-opener (interestingly out of print) and very clearly shows how our Islands- esp. St. Thomas- was "bought out" by those in power only interested in their own gain. The title of this book says it all! If St. John did not have The National Park, I am afraid that we would be facing the same "rape" of the land and resources that has plagued our sister-Island of St. Thomas.
Hopefully, St. Croix can and will learn from her sister-Islands mistakes. Development is inevitable-HOWEVER without proper planning and regards for the importance of a basic infrastructure as well as respect for the natural resources that make us the incredibly beautiful place that we are, we are doomed to be replaced as a destination place by other Islands who are smart enough to understand the Tourist Industry and the draw that travelers seek: Friendly and welcoming people; a unique cultural experience; and the "virginal" natural beauty that we are blessed with!
Destroying that beauty and greeting guests with bad attitudes is the formula that will guarantee our failure in the next 20 years especially if Cuba opens up. This IS a wake-up call that we must finally heed. Every organization needs to look within itself-to honestly ask "How can we better serve The Tourist energy, the life blood of our Economy?"
A stubbornness to change and do things the same way (for example our Taxi Industry must improve both services and attitudes) will result in continued bad press. I still have to apologize to incoming guests who share bad experiences with taxi drivers from our airport to St. John. This is not acceptable in any area of service whether it be Law enforcement or clerks in stores. The attitude that we bring to every interaction is just as important as our lovely beaches. People must feel welcomed...if they are not, you can count on them not returning...worse still...they will influence their many friends on "the rudeness" that they experienced.
I believe that our current deJongh Administration understands the great importance of both customer service and proper planning for our future. Thank Goodness! Our Legislative Branch does not seem to--as evident by the light shrugging off of the over-development concerns and the breaking of laws on St. John, esp. those voiced by St. Johnians at the Sirenusa Hearings. It is time that our elected Senators either listened to us. If they do not, let us find new incumbents who do come next November. It is also time to reorganize the way that our Islands are managed through more localized government so that the people's work can be completed with less bureaucracy and in-fighting. Our Virgin Island must be united as "One Virgin Islands" by the same goals, not pitted against one as Islands fighting for resources and dollars. We are so blessed with these Islands! Let's show gratitude by respecting this gift better than what we have to date.
Bonny Corbeil
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.