Talk show host Claude Skelton-Cline knows perfectly well why the British government imposed the Recovery and Development Agency on us. Just one reason. Successive governments here have shown themselves to be incapable of managing our financial affairs in an efficient, effective, honest and transparent way. The United Kingdom was not prepared to guarantee us the loans needed for reconstruction without control over the planning, expenditure and execution of the redevelopment projects. I was a bit surprised at the $10 million allocated for consultancies and planning/design, but understand that this is likely to be reduced.
I wish members of government would stop using the phrase “our people” when referring to development projects. Who are “our people”? Do they mean indigenous Virgin Islanders, who make up only a minority of our population? Use of this phrase perpetuates the us-and-them, from-here-not-from-here attitude, and effectively makes incomers second-class citizens, even though many of them have been settled here for years, contributing to society. It’s a myth that there are hundreds of belongers sitting around unemployed, qualified, wanting, but unable to get employment. Badly managed as it is, our economy is far too big just to employ belongers, and expatriates will always be needed.
It’s a good step that 160 residents have been naturalised, but shows what a backlog there was, and maybe still is.
We live in an almost lawless society judging by the actions of scooter and motorbike riders. So many of them do not have crash helmets, number plates, or, for all I know, insurance, and drive dangerously. The other day, two of them were performing wheelies and figures of eight amidst the traffic along by the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, laughing their heads off at the concerned motorists who all came to a halt for fear of causing an accident.
Some idiot has recently proposed that larger motorbikes be allowed, saying that they are safer! What? With these riders? I would imagine that riders in the United States Virgin Islands, where bigger bikes are allowed, are more mature, and would not dare to go out without a crash helmet. The USVI Police Department would be on them like a ton of bricks. Our police seem powerless to do anything about the situation, which certainly seems to be getting worse.
Last week we had occasion to call for an ambulance and spend some time in the emergency room (is it now against the law to call it Peebles Hospital?). The service at all levels couldn’t have been better, but I was a bit concerned that none of the wheels on the ambulance had a full set of wheel nuts. Just think of the expense involved in changing the name of the hospital. Thousands of items are labeled “Peebles Hospital.” Even the sign at the top of the tower. What a crazy idea that was!
By the time you read this, the new House of Assembly will have had its first sitting and hopefully (that word again), the situation regarding District Four will have been sorted out. The simplest thing is to swear in Mark Vanterpool, but the speaker is against that, preferring the law courts, and then he probably won’t resign! What a pickle.
As I have said before, you couldn’t make this up.