Over the years since I returned home in 1986 (and I do believe the situation existed before I returned) this government and past governments in their endeavour to develop this territory in numerous instances sought advisers and consultants. In the vast majority of cases, they used non-Virgin Islanders. From my research and discussion with others, in many instances the same or better advice was available right here from Virgin Islanders and other residents — and in some cases without a charge to government. It is also an established fact that when the consultants came from outside they typically talked with residents before they put their recommendation together.
Many Virgin Islanders and other residents have made proposals or recommendations but were rejected because of the individual or organisation involved. Many of us, including present and former government leaders and other officials, know this to be a fact. One issue that bothered many persons was that a very large percentage of studies paid for were never implemented. I will mention one major proposal that was rejected: the Central Administration Building on Wickhams Cay, which is now in disrepair. How many of you visited the late Paul Wattley’s office and looked at the prototype that he had proposed, which was rejected for a proposal by a foreign company?
Here is an example of one study that was not implemented. Several years ago, a company was commissioned to do a study of how to enhance Road Town and Main Street in particular. There were several meetings held among residents and the consultants. One day the gentleman from the consulting company invited Rey O’Neal and I to walk Main Street with him. During the walk up Main Street, we discussed the pros and cons about making it a non-parking area, among other issues. At the end of the walk and after discussions and recommendations by Rey and myself and information we were able to furnish him, he expressed his thanks for the knowledge he had learned about Main Street and Road Town. That was the last I heard of the consultant and that study. And as we all know, both Road Town and Main Street have deteriorated while business and property owners struggle with a falling economy, which is getting worse daily.
There are many people who live and work abroad and come back home from time to time who are willing and able to offer suggestions in many areas. Then there are many expatriates from so many other countries who have made this territory their home who are also capable of making suggestions that could benefit all of us. However, with all of this expertise available, none of our governments saw fit to use it, which shows another form of disrespect of Virgin Islanders and other residents.