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DeJongh: Economic Opportunity Is No Fairy Tale

July 24, 2008 — Introducing the guest speaker at a Thursday luncheon, Our Town Frederiksted president Al Franklin said if St. Croix is Cinderella, Gov. John deJongh Jr. is "the handsome prince that has claimed the Cinderella Island."
Franklin said he couldn't remember when a governor has come to talk to people in Frederiksted. "This governor is committed," said Franklin. "When he makes promises he fulfills them."
One of those promises is strengthening economic opportunity in the Virgin Islands. The governor told more than 150 people at the Fort Frederik luncheon that the public-private partnership between the government and the Diageo company to produce Captain Morgan rum, passed by the 27th legislature, will create a future of opportunity for the people of the Virgin Islands.
"We saw opportunity and took advantage of the deal," said deJongh. "This is a self-funding deal. We have to address the uninsured, elder care and nursing shortages, taking revenues from a source other than taxpayers pockets."
He said he could not understand how the five senators from St. Croix could vote against Diageo.
"We have the propensity to always say no before it happens," deJongh said. "We have to address negativism when looking at growth on the island and this community. We can capture the opportunity."
He said growth begins with strengthening education. Add public safety and economic opportunity, and you have the makings of transformation, deJongh said.
Tourism and transportation were also on his mind. He noted that a blue-ribbon group will be meeting next week to make sure the Virgin Islands maintains adequate, affordable air service.
Cruise ship talks are expected to begin next week as well with 57 cruise ship stops in Frederiksted through 2010. DeJongh said his administration was urging cruise lines to come to the island, and that the business community needs to come together and pitch in on tours and the like.
Security cameras in Frederiksted are going to be replaced in a safety initiative deJongh said.
During a give-and-take with attendees, former Port Authority board member Ann Abramson said "a heck of a lot of work needs to be done."
"I don't have a nice picture to paint," said Abramson. "It's filthy here — and not clean. What can be done?"
The governor said cleanup can be approached in two ways: "We can use a lot more small contractors and expand in the private sector."
Derick Hill of the N2Blue dive shop asked deJongh what is being done about access to the dock. DeJongh said that has to be worked out with the Port Authority.
Hill later said he doesn't know if he should buy a new dive boat because he may not be able to even get close to the dock when ships are in. "The arrival of the first ship is only five months away," Hill said.
DeJongh said his administration is also committed to working with hotel developers. He said the administration would help bring to fruition developments planned for Robin Bay, and Williams and Punch.
The luncheon was sponsored by Our Town Frederiksted, First Bank, Robert Merwin and Co. Inc., Cruzan Rum, Professional Holdings, Kevin Rames, Esq., Michael A. Simmonds Co., Crucian Holdings, Olympic Rent-A-Car, Scotia Bank and Stanford Financial Group.
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July 24, 2008 -- Introducing the guest speaker at a Thursday luncheon, Our Town Frederiksted president Al Franklin said if St. Croix is Cinderella, Gov. John deJongh Jr. is "the handsome prince that has claimed the Cinderella Island."
Franklin said he couldn't remember when a governor has come to talk to people in Frederiksted. "This governor is committed," said Franklin. "When he makes promises he fulfills them."
One of those promises is strengthening economic opportunity in the Virgin Islands. The governor told more than 150 people at the Fort Frederik luncheon that the public-private partnership between the government and the Diageo company to produce Captain Morgan rum, passed by the 27th legislature, will create a future of opportunity for the people of the Virgin Islands.
"We saw opportunity and took advantage of the deal," said deJongh. "This is a self-funding deal. We have to address the uninsured, elder care and nursing shortages, taking revenues from a source other than taxpayers pockets."
He said he could not understand how the five senators from St. Croix could vote against Diageo.
"We have the propensity to always say no before it happens," deJongh said. "We have to address negativism when looking at growth on the island and this community. We can capture the opportunity."
He said growth begins with strengthening education. Add public safety and economic opportunity, and you have the makings of transformation, deJongh said.
Tourism and transportation were also on his mind. He noted that a blue-ribbon group will be meeting next week to make sure the Virgin Islands maintains adequate, affordable air service.
Cruise ship talks are expected to begin next week as well with 57 cruise ship stops in Frederiksted through 2010. DeJongh said his administration was urging cruise lines to come to the island, and that the business community needs to come together and pitch in on tours and the like.
Security cameras in Frederiksted are going to be replaced in a safety initiative deJongh said.
During a give-and-take with attendees, former Port Authority board member Ann Abramson said "a heck of a lot of work needs to be done."
"I don't have a nice picture to paint," said Abramson. "It's filthy here -- and not clean. What can be done?"
The governor said cleanup can be approached in two ways: "We can use a lot more small contractors and expand in the private sector."
Derick Hill of the N2Blue dive shop asked deJongh what is being done about access to the dock. DeJongh said that has to be worked out with the Port Authority.
Hill later said he doesn't know if he should buy a new dive boat because he may not be able to even get close to the dock when ships are in. "The arrival of the first ship is only five months away," Hill said.
DeJongh said his administration is also committed to working with hotel developers. He said the administration would help bring to fruition developments planned for Robin Bay, and Williams and Punch.
The luncheon was sponsored by Our Town Frederiksted, First Bank, Robert Merwin and Co. Inc., Cruzan Rum, Professional Holdings, Kevin Rames, Esq., Michael A. Simmonds Co., Crucian Holdings, Olympic Rent-A-Car, Scotia Bank and Stanford Financial Group.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.