The question is asked due to the current assessment of the performance so far of the de Jongh/Francis administration. Taking in to account our demographics, the reality is that our current estimated population is about 125,000 distributed between the two districts, St. Croix and St. Thomas. We also acknowledge the brain drain, most of our brightest Virginislanders are away in other jurisdictions. However, we have a core of
experienced residents who have knowledge in various fields, particularly in business administration. One of our most notorious flaws as a society is our lack of discipline. Age should not be a factor in appointments but integrity should be the main factor along with knowledge and a track record.
We as a people lack self discipline therefore it will take someone or a group of residents who are committed to changing our situation, to improve the quality of life for the majority of Virginislanders, if not all. We need leaders who possess self-discipline to lead us through their good example otherwise it will be like "the blind leading the blind". Typical examples of our lack of self-discipline: How many times we have developed rules and regulations and we are the first to violate them? How many times the government approves a budget and fails to follow the budget? The societies that are most successful and progressive are those with a high degree of discipline. Self discipline is part of one's character the same as integrity is.
If we really want to improve our society, our community we have to improve our self discipline. We have to select and elect persons with integrity and vision to lead our government. The social fabric of our society is deteriorating so fast due to lack of self-discipline. Many adults do not demonstrate self-discipline and the children do not have good examples of discipline. Many adults do not go to work on time, they cheat on their taxes, they cheat on their employers, they cheat on their partners, they commit all sorts of crimes against society. Should it be any surprise that we are experiencing such a high crime wave? I know it is a challenge for the administration to find proper persons to fill positions of leadership in the government. But it can be done if they set certain standard, provide training and challenge their appointees to meet the standard set.
Of course, that requires vision, a clear vision of where the administration wants to take this government. They have to temper political expediency in their appointments with objectivity since their appointees performance reflect on the competence of the administration. If their appointees fail to perform to standard within their first year it behooves the administration to make changes. This can only be accomplished if there
is vision, purpose and faith. The administration needs to have a vision which needs to be shared. They have to define their purpose and have the faith that they can accomplish their goals. There is nothing wrong with giving someone an opportunity to serve but if they fail to live up to expectation they need to be replaced.
It is important to place people in positions for which they are qualified not only academically but because of their character and shared vision. If the appointee does not share the administration's vision nor have the temperament for the post they should not be placed there, no matter how well connected they are or how many fish they fried or money given. The administration reputation is at stake with the appointments it makes and the standard of performance it maintains. I personally have some positive experiences with some cabinet members such as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and the Acting Commissioner of the Police Department. I have not had favorable experience with the Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the Governor's Representative on St. Thomas ("Administrator"). When I have discussed my impressions and experiences with other citizens they have expressed similar experiences or impressions.
It is up to the de Jongh/Francis administration whether they will only focus on being reelected or whether they will work on leaving a legacy we all can be proud of.
I will encourage the administration to review the appointments they have made and make the necessary changes to ensure that the people get the services they need in a timely and professional manner. I have had the privilege to sit in conference with both the Governor and the Lt. Governor for more than 30 minutes. I was not only pleased that they afforded me the time, but they were very attentive and receptive to my suggestions. May Allah-God bless them with wisdom and courage to fulfill their mission in government.
J. J. Estemac
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