The Convention Committee reminds me of many of my students: had the assignment for a long time but didn't take it seriously; ignored lots of advice from teachers, mentors and experts; strutted, boasted, screamed, argued; used scare tactics and degrading divisiveness within the group; completely forgot the basis of the assignment; got distracted and went off on tangents, could not compromise or see other's viewpoints; never even seriously considered legal ramifications and basically could have cared less about a viable result–oops, deadline–not complete in any legal or acceptable way but we'll turn it in and maybe get a D and win points with less knowledgeable supporters.
All along what they really wanted to decide was status, and it should be discussed seriously.
The bottom line is that this territory does not have a prayer in heaven of surviving without federal monies and the U.S. residents who own businesses, property, live and work here because it is a U.S. territory. I'd like to see someone draw up the government budget without any of those monies. Reality is missing here and I doubt many want to return to the standard of living in the struggling independent islands; we're too spoiled. We don't have any natural resources to exploit except our beauty which we continue to destroy; our tourists come here because it is a U.S. territory; our best and brightest locals can study and work in the states and much of the expertise we take advantage of on these islands comes from the states. Taxes would have to triple to meet needs. While the 'locals' are voting on status, residents should be voting on whether they would stay if the territory became independent. These two questions could be added to the next census with income numbers to open some eyes.
The teachers (governor/ Senate/ people/ Congress/ President) will take one look at the document, consider the students to be ignorant and once again incapable of understanding how to take care of their own affairs so they will enforce even more stringent guidelines trying to whip these children into results that will move the Virgin Islands into the mainstream. (just another 'school' that did not achieve the progress goal).
The one blessing is that they screwed the document up so badly from all legal perspectives that it will easily be reversed, rejected, amended, deleted. So we can relax because it will take years until things change around here. What else is new! Hopefully it won't cost an arm and a leg because we don't need to be educated; the community understands that document way better than the committee does.
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 email@example.com.