More Ideas from Recent Town Meeting

Letter to the Editor:


I left the town meeting happy we were finally talking. Much was said that was positive:


–  Nurse Jacobs’ comment that if we can’t realistically get a dialysis unit in the near future, we can and should do something now to ease the burden on the dialysis patients by coming up with a creative community solution to soften the ordeal of their transportation. How about “Community Chest”-like vouchers, redeemable at a later date for those with space in car/barge who can offer a ride  straight to the hospital before beginning their own chores on St. Thomas? A little reward for being a good community member, volunteering for the community’s own “self-help” program if the government can’t do it for us.


– The need for programs for the youth, with several agencies saying they were reviving past programs like Junior Cadets. Younger children need organized recreation and team sports, but I feel our teens are more in need of exposure to the possibilities of real world jobs they may not realize are out there — a chance during their high school summers or after school to explore several careers before graduation after which they will have to choose a life direction.  


Let’s add youth employment opportunities that can provide inspiration, that open new horizons, that let our kids know the many ways they can fit in and be productive instead of giving that opportunity solely to some statesiders’ children.


– The professional manner, straightforward answers accompanied by progress reports on implementation modeled by V.I. Police Department Commissioner James McCall and Chief Milton Peterson, and several other agency representatives were encouraging. Kudos to the courageous audience who took the mike, and  spoke up. The evening felt like a breath of fresh air. But as Lorelei Monsanto cautioned, we’ve heard every one of those words before and won’t really be won over until we see action.  


Finally, if  one woman is able to listen to and then vote “her conscience,” then surely another can be allowed to “speak her mind” without retribution? I thought it very cowardly of Senator at Large Carmen Wesselhoft to insulate herself from the roasting she knew she would get if she appeared alone. It was very sly to be there, but be safe, to give the illusion of action, but to be surrounded and guarded by time limits.  


No one was taken in. Employing such tactics was merely the extension of using a campaign phrase with “dialysis unit” in it without doing the homework or having the funds to make good on your word…the old “political rhetoric vs. action.” Everyone is getting the idea which of the two St. John wants. The senators all moved very fast to override the veto, yet how they drag their feet on helping St. John.


How the senator can ignore a law on the books, and help Big Money with their Sirenusa,  (unless its big money?), while on the other hand, the same government says local small businesses like Nature’s, and Patrick’s, and W&W Café have to go. Why can Big Money projects ignore rules, yet you hassle the individual homeowner and make him go through hoops of ridiculousness in order to get a certificate of occupancy? You “won” Sirenusa…so let us have Patrick’s and Nature’s!


Do you have any idea of geography? If you don’t know how many Dominicanos, down-islanders, and yes, even Peruvians, are working at Sirenusa then ask “Carlito” to supply you with his employment figures. He does keep them, doesn’t he? Everything on file and according to the book? There is at least $30,000/week going out of St. John  if you watch the lines at the money order and Western Union offices.


With so little money actually staying on St. John, I don’t want to see it, or my tax dollars, diverted from education to road repair by using it to clean up the concrete spills these companies make. They did it, they are responsible. Let them pass the cost on to people who are building these concrete McMansions with  five bathrooms and a pool. My entire house is one room!  


And if Administrator Leona Smith says we can’t fine the companies because they blame each other, then may I suggest you get a copy of the Tradewinds front page photo and see whose cement truck overturned in East End. It damaged not only the road, but the roadside as well. The subsequent feeble attempts to clean up concrete spills only resulted in an additional longer stretch of dangerous curve that is so dug up traffic has to going around the curve on the wrong side of the center line.  


Wait until the stretch limo has to take a wedding party around the curves out to the exclusive Dreekets Bay…I’m sure he’ll back me up! 


You hassle Iva Moses about his cows on the road, but at least those patties disappear and the cows add to the charm. The cement patties stay, and they are unsightly as well as unsafe. I respect Mr. Moses because if his cows cause complaint, he accepts responsibility and writes a check. Shame on you, Too-Fast-Driving-Cement Companies! Pay attention to how a real adult behaves.


I’ve been counting the days since DPNR issued a “Take Down or be Fined” order for rooftop signs (max $500/day) on May 9.  As of 6/14/07 I calculate you are going to make at least $15,000 right there as the order is still being ignored by two businesses. (Yet my car was ticketed and towed from Nature’s within 10 minutes of stopping in front to buy something…I didn’t even have time to get the change for my bag of cashews!).  


May I suggest the “Defiant-Rooftop-Sign Funds” be used to purchase more litter containers? Tourists come to St. John already trained to recycle. They ask us, “Where should we put the plastic and the glass?” 


We’re the ones who don’t come through. We don’t even have enough trash barrels around town — never mind a recycling program. (FirstBank, a trash can you could bring in and out, might be nice by your outdoor ATMs rather than let folks drop their receipts on the ground).


If we get more trash barrels, or even plastic or glass collection bins, perhaps a grant could be given to an enterprising youth with a truck and a route to collect  recyclables…maybe not from the whole island, maybe just a few designated spots where tourists congregate, and then  stepping stones made of recycled glass and cement could be made for our soon to be refurbished downtown area.


If not the taxis, couldn’t we at least park on the old barge apron across from Nature’s? It might pacify us a bit so that we aren’t dashing off these letters of frustration. Just think, additional parking could become the new Fish Fry to keep the masses hypnotized!


And Mr. Wade…I appreciate the new bathrooms! Do we have a plan in place to keep them clean and functioning during Carnival?



Judith Kane