Having reviewed our Governor’s speech, I find it was tempered somewhat. He did, however, bring everything to frank and just conclusion. The way we do business on the Island has to change. The goose that laid the gold egg is moving.
Two things which must change are the quality of service and more efficient productivity in everything we do. These are the two things we must master in all areas of business, education, politics, and civic duties. In order to move to the top of the list as a place to move to, everyone must be proactive and work together to succeed in making St. Croix the “Gem of the Caribbean” as a place to live and visit. If we do this, many blue and white collar jobs will be created from the private sector. The old clique, “This is the Island Way” must become a thing of the past for it isn’t working for us anymore. Embrace a new way of thinking.
We need less police high archy and more police at satellite stations that are open 24-7 with the same police officers working the same shifts. The police must take the time to get to know the people in the community in which they work and let us know that we can depend on at any time. Right now the response time to a break in or robbery is sad to say the least. The Island is a series of small communities with ties both politically, socially, and family across every field, from tourism to politics. In order for police officers to be more efficient, they must be a protector of “all the people” and not let friend and family ties affect the efficiency of doing their job. St. Croix has a very bad reputation for being crime ridden. I even know people would never set foot here again because of their past experiences. As I said before, we should be the “Jewel of the Caribbean” as a model place to live and the only way that is going to happen is to keep crime under control.
The present system of business licensing makes it next to impossible to do business. The system is outdated and to accomplish simple tasks can be daunting. If updated, it will in the long run benefit the community as a whole. It should take just a few days to a couple of weeks to obtain licensing, but it can take months. What is there that one would want to go into business on the Island in such an unfriendly environment sometimes even hostile? Look at permits for building homes, another fiasco in the local government. This is not very well understood by our politicians. Our island makes Florida look like a slum. So why aren’t developers flocking here to build retirement communities?
We must elect politicians that present us with long range goals and solutions, not someone based on their charisma or promises that they cannot realistically keep. Our economy is in shambles, not alone due to the world economy, but mismanagement of our own economy. Governing is a business; it appears our politicians lack business experience and are not thinking forward for the next generation. It is time for an overhaul. Recently the GAO conducted an audit of the Senate. Do you ever here anymore about how our funds are getting to the Cayman Islands. Where do the funds go? How many people have been arrested for theft just to be released? We as citizens need to evaluate who we elect to these important positions. We must make the Senate and Governor accountable.
It saddens me when I go to the states and see Public Schools that have pristine grounds, buildings that are new, with adequate playgrounds and sports facilities only to come back to St. Croix and find that they have none of these things. This must change and soon for the way of the future is going to be creating more private enterprise white collar jobs, which means preparing our children for a college education so they can live and prosper on the island without depending on going to work for the government. That is the past!
Notes for recovery should be, turn to Development, building of a Conference Center and focus more than ever on tourism in order to make St. Croix a destination island for a high end clientele. St. Croix cannot compete with St. Thomas when it comes to the vista views of the harbor, but we can go after the business client to make St. Croix a destination for a working vacation. It should be considered as a place to send your hard working team of executives in the winter for a conference/vacation. If we do this, everyone would win! The taxi drivers, restaurants, retail shops, dive shops, sailing, kayaking, golf, casino, etc. We all feel the ripple effect from Hovensa closing; let’s create another type of ripple effect, one that benefits all of us. If we pull together as a community, we can do so. Everything is in place to do so!