Nov. 25, 2005 — Over the past several months, I have written about my belief that when we bring everyone into the process — when we work together — we develop and implement the best ideas and solutions.
When our citizens make a contribution, we all owe that person the proper recognition and gratitude. So, it is with displeasure that I note that some of our elected officials feel they can take credit for other people's ideas, efforts and accomplishments. Surely it is appropriate for our elected officials to attend ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremonies, but they do a disservice to the community when, as recently happened in Bordeaux, our Lieutenant Governor tried to jump on the bandwagon of good projects intended for the area. This action backfired. It was a slight to the senators and others who had fought long and hard to make these projects a reality. To make matters worse, no new ideas were offered by this official: such as a helipad for medical emergencies, or a recreation center for the community, or a realistic action plan to address residents' long- overlooked concerns.
I have no doubt that we will be treated to the "roll-out" of many projects, early ground-breakings, premature ribbon-cuttings and credit-taking opportunities between now and the next election. This politics-as-usual is both predictable and sad. Sad because while this happens no one appears to accept responsibility for :
why we need to re-pave the same pot holes over
and over again;
a GERS reform bill passed with no money for the unfunded liability;
$400 million in foregone salary increases that have yet to be addressed;
not having negotiated new contracts for nurses since 2003;
no new police contracts since 2004;
the tragedy that we continue to let 43% of Virgin Island children grow up in poverty;
the sorry reality that overall salary levels for Virgin Islands employees are third from the bottom compared to other territories and states.
Yet, we continue to be told that our economy is improving. For whom? We can do better! Our public officials need to remember those who actually worked on new projects, those who introduced the legislation and fought the good fight to get these projects approved.
We all benefit if we work together, face reality, accept responsibility, and, most importantly, give credit where credit is due. Honesty, integrity and respect require nothing less, and we should require nothing less than honesty, integrity, and respect from our elected officials. This is a demand we all must make. Together We Can!
Editors 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 protected].