Nov. 4, 2005 — How did our delegate, local senators, and governor and lieutenant governor, with their high-priced Washington lobbyist, all miss the shipwreck headed right for the heart of the U.S.V.I. boating industry? They've had since October 2001 to see the ship headed for the rocks and change course, but suddenly, after the crash, everyone is running around trying to pick through the salvage for some piece of the industry that might be left after the latest assault from Homeland Security.
As Bill Westman said, the ship wasn't headed for us; the V.I. just happened to be caught in the wave.
At a recent meeting of industry representatives, Westman, the local chief of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol was clear that wreckage is all that we have, however.
He did not express much hope for the V.I. being able to undo the damage done by the implementation of new regulations that require anyone taking passengers for hire to fill out long and tedious reports on the Internet in a place where phones, power and Internet are not a given.
Westman feels bad about that, it's clear.
But where were our watchdogs on this one? We pay millions of dollars to Winston and Strawn and numerous others every year to protect our interests in Washington. This is the second time in one year they have dropped the ball (remember the EDA regulations), causing what can only be considered financial devastation to the territory they are hired to protect.
And where was Donna Christensen, who is elected to protect our interests in Washington.
And where was our Legislature that is elected to study and implement laws.
Apparently, none of these either subscribe to or bothered to read the Federal Register, wherein they would have seen the ship heading for the rocks had three years to alter the course and destination.
While our watchdogs flail around making lots of splash about what great things they are accomplishing, the business owners and their employees in the Virgin Islands have been blind sided again.
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