May someone direct me to the office of checks and balances for Virgin Islands government agencies? I have been searching for this magical place for years now. As a VI citizen, the most difficult processes here in the VI repeatedly return to the multitude of delays from within government departments.
For example, all vendors who sell goods on public/government land are required to submit a letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour for “processing” before applying for a vendor’s licence. A simple two-step process has taken more than five months, after the required letter was submitted three times by hand in November, January and March. And after following up each week with the department head, there is no concern at all for the public citizen.
These issues lead to illegal vendors who completely bypass the system in favour of not dealing with the run-around. Who or where are the public issues escalated to? Why are public officials celebrating a job well done at Tortola Pier Park when so many of their offices are not timely or completely disregard the same public citizens they are here to assist?
On Feb. 1, our organisation submitted an application for non-profit-organisation status here in the VI. The Ministry of Health and Social Development handles the processing of non-profit applications and the public officer informed us that the process should take a month, but due to the storm there may be a slight delay. As we head into the second week in April and after speaking with the same officer about the lack of follow-up, we have been informed that once the board reviews the documents the non-profit status certificate will be granted. And with no word of when this review will happen, our wait continues.
‘Cycle of indifference’
There is an ongoing cycle of indifference displayed throughout many agencies of the government. Public officials are not in their positions to neglect the general public they serve while lounging in air-conditioned offices collecting a cheque. There must be a necessary and dramatic change soon throughout the multiple ministries because the people deserve better treatment.