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BUILD A MALL AND THEY WON'T COME

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To the Source:
The article "VIPA agrees to Crown Bay dock expansion, shops" gives the final coup de grace to the historic center of Charlotte Amalie. Trying to achieve the same level of economic activity the government has "given" Christiansted and Fredreriksted, VIPA moves boldly ahead. The plan is to create another Florida or California mall with the aesthetics of any banal seaport, and the final solution to tourism is at hand.
With this project, we can prove to tourists that "There is nothing to see or learn, so just stay aboard the ship." Docking fees are our bread and butter, and the rest be damned.
I have heard the concern expressed that "native Virgin Islanders might begin to operate Main Street businesses." If Islanders learned to become economically independent, the threat to our governing way of life would be written on the wall. This could destroy our heritage of colonial dependence!
We might be swept away like the Russian Communist commissars, and foolish ideas like good hospitals, fine schools and a well-run service sector would agitate the governing class and threaten the government workers. This would threaten our decades-in-the-making grand system of authority without responsibility.
This neo-colonial system extends beyond our shores to an obligation to our brothers Down Island, too, with local insiders diverting hundreds of millions of dollars to investments in Anguilla, Tortola, St. Kitts and Grenada. We have proven that African-Caribbeans can exploit with a voraciousness every bit as efficient as that of the European fools whose soft underbelly of liberalism have left us the field to ourselves.
With this new shopping center, land values in the private commercial sector will be wiped out. Conformity to our economic dictates will follow — a great day for the fortunate few. We can slice the salami of our economy so thin that no threat of real opposition would possibly be organized against us.
Michael Paiewonsky
St. Thomas

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