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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
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Now is Not the Time for PSC to Take a Stand on Vitelco

Suddenly, as the future of our decimated phone company hangs in the balance, the Public Services Commission consultants want the commission to clamp down on Vitelco. It will be interesting to see the response to Georgetown Consultants' recommendations, which include a substantial rate decrease, given the huge rubber stamp the PSC kept on the desk for the last decade while Jeffrey Prosser used the cash-cow phone company to fund his gilded life.
Now that the Virgin Islands maybe has a chance to get a real telecommunications company to buy the bedraggled utility, the consultants appear to want to drive away potential buyers with suggestions of dramatic rate reductions coupled with huge mandatory, monetary commitments to the rebuilding of the same infrastructure that, as far as we can tell, no consultants and no commissioners even glanced at over the decade that Prosser ran it into the ground.
During the years that the malfunctioning company was owned by the wanna-be tycoon — who borrowed nearly a billion dollars, allegedly to make improvements to the territory's monopolistic utility — the only function the PSC appeared to serve was as a doormat for Prosser's demands and a willing cohort in his many lies and misrepresentations.
Now that he is gone, it is not the time to play hardball with serious buyers. That should have been done a long time ago.
It is the time to pay attention by vetting the potential buyers and working with them to give us a functional phone company. It is not the time to drive away real players in the industry who see the potential for a good investment, but aren't going to waste time and money playing hardball given the astronomical investment they know they will have to make just to keep the phone lines live.
We will never know what Prosser's shell game cost the Virgin Islands economy. But we do know it's not time for the PSC to erect unnecessary roadblocks to the sale of Vitelco.
We can only hope that a new day is dawning and that the PSC will finally do the right thing — make sure we have a telephone company that serves the people. Lowering rates and demanding ransom money at this point serves no one that we can think of. All the commissioners have to do is exactly what they did five years ago: ignore the consultants' recommendations. However, unlike five years ago, we see no reason they should raise the rates.
Grandstanding after nothing but foul play over the last decade will not fool anyone.

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 visource@gmail.com.

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Suddenly, as the future of our decimated phone company hangs in the balance, the Public Services Commission consultants want the commission to clamp down on Vitelco. It will be interesting to see the response to Georgetown Consultants' recommendations, which include a substantial rate decrease, given the huge rubber stamp the PSC kept on the desk for the last decade while Jeffrey Prosser used the cash-cow phone company to fund his gilded life.
Now that the Virgin Islands maybe has a chance to get a real telecommunications company to buy the bedraggled utility, the consultants appear to want to drive away potential buyers with suggestions of dramatic rate reductions coupled with huge mandatory, monetary commitments to the rebuilding of the same infrastructure that, as far as we can tell, no consultants and no commissioners even glanced at over the decade that Prosser ran it into the ground.
During the years that the malfunctioning company was owned by the wanna-be tycoon -- who borrowed nearly a billion dollars, allegedly to make improvements to the territory's monopolistic utility -- the only function the PSC appeared to serve was as a doormat for Prosser's demands and a willing cohort in his many lies and misrepresentations.
Now that he is gone, it is not the time to play hardball with serious buyers. That should have been done a long time ago.
It is the time to pay attention by vetting the potential buyers and working with them to give us a functional phone company. It is not the time to drive away real players in the industry who see the potential for a good investment, but aren't going to waste time and money playing hardball given the astronomical investment they know they will have to make just to keep the phone lines live.
We will never know what Prosser's shell game cost the Virgin Islands economy. But we do know it's not time for the PSC to erect unnecessary roadblocks to the sale of Vitelco.
We can only hope that a new day is dawning and that the PSC will finally do the right thing -- make sure we have a telephone company that serves the people. Lowering rates and demanding ransom money at this point serves no one that we can think of. All the commissioners have to do is exactly what they did five years ago: ignore the consultants' recommendations. However, unlike five years ago, we see no reason they should raise the rates.
Grandstanding after nothing but foul play over the last decade will not fool anyone.

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 visource@gmail.com.