Six years ago, my wife and I moved to St. Croix, believing it to be the place it professed to be… America's 'paradise'. We tried to help make it a place to be proud of, spending our Sunday mornings picking garbage from along the Frederiksted waterfront because we believed we, as residents, shared a responsibility with our fellow Cruzans (spell it how you like, define it as you will, a 'cruzan' is simply a person who lives on St. Croix) to care for our island home. One morning as we cleaned, a 'native' Virgin Islander approached us and offered to help if we'd pay him. When we said no, he wandered off no longer concerned with the state of his birth-right.
As I watched St. Croix's downward spiral, during the time of Act 6905, witnessing the antics of the 'Juan and Ron' portion of the comedy show that is the Virgin Island Government, as I saw Governor John hide while those two characters made a mockery of our island, I began to realize that there is no hope for St. Croix. Anywhere that prejudice, bigotry, and hate can be so blatantly practiced, where no one stands against those who would vilify others simply for the color of their skin is not a place that will ever realize it's potential. When the recall died from apathy, I knew it was time to leave.
It wasn't just the Senators who paraded their racial hatred. Our neighbor called us KKK and Nazi, screamed gutter-level obscenities daily, called for us to "go back where we came from" and when she was ignored, began destroying our property. What mattered was not that she acted according to her character, but that those who know the truth of what happening said nothing. It wasn't 'their' business.
A year ago, my wife and I left St. Croix.
Today, out of idle curiosity, I visited the St. Croix Source site. Raw sewage still runs in the guts. WAPA still subjects the citizenry to exorbitant fees and delivers less than mediocre service. Bigotry and prejudice still have a firm hold over the governmental process. And, people still waste their time arguing over who is a true "Virgin Islander". There will never be a Constitution for St. Croix.
Whenever I tell someone that I once lived in the Caribbean, I am invariably asked,
"Don't you miss it?" And, I remember my neighbor, Stephanie Hodge, I remember Ronnie Russell and Juan Serville, I remember what St. Croix is as opposed to what it could and should be and I smile and say "no." I have gladly traded 'paradise' for civilization.
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