The beginning of a new year usually is seen as a time to make a fresh start, and many try to make it official with a list of resolutions. (Lose weight! Get fit! Be nicer!) Of course 2020 is not just a new year, it is also a new decade, meaning there’s lots to get done and no time to waste. So here’s a “Starter Kit” for some of our busy V.I. government officials:
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.
I will seek and find my list of campaign promises and start making changes, starting with shredding all the Executive Department credit cards; taking back the keys to all the Executive Department cars (not just the ones the department heads have but also the ones all the assistants and deputies and assistants to the deputies tool around in) and starting — for real — the process of privatizing WAPA because the territory has been punished enough by the utility’s mistakes, miscalculations and mismanagement. Despite all the screaming I’ll hear, I’ll stay strong and move on to the next essential tasks: merging WICO and the VIPA, as I promised, and then reforming the EDA and selling off excess government real estate. This should keep me busy and out of trouble until next year. I’m the governor. I can do it. Just watch me.
To Chairman Joe Boschulte and members Richard Berry, Rick Carrington, Jason Charles, Pash Daswani, Roosevelt David, Conrad Francois, Enrique Rodriguez and Edward Thomas: We will hang our heads in shame and beg forgiveness for taking $1,500 (not to mention $2,000 for Chairman Joe) just for showing up at a WICO meeting — especially because while we’ve been taking our supersize stipends, we’ve let WICO, the company we’re supposed to be in charge of, become a deadbeat by not paying the $7 million it owes in taxes. To show how sorry we are, we will stop taking the money. For true.
GERS Administrator Austin Nibbs
I will stop downplaying GERS’ looming crash by using words like “inconsequential” to describe a $1.3 million “bonus payment” to certain GERS retirees.
V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe
I will put the parking needs of the public first and stop allocating vast numbers of free spaces to VIPA board members and staff. And I will keep reminding myself who my bosses are — the people of the Virgin Islands — and I will stop being rude to them when they ask about parking.
All government officials
We will obtain and read “Ethics for Dummies” and we will use what we learn.
I will stop double dipping by receiving $2,000 per meeting as WICO Board Chairman while also receiving my salary of $105,000 as Tourism Commissioner.
Economic Development Authority
To Executive Director Kamal Latham, EDA Board Chairman Kevin Rodriquez and EDA board members Haldane Davies, Philip E. Payne, Jose A. Penn, Gary Molloy and Positive Nelson: We will shake off our arrogance and try to find a little humility so that never again will we enjoy two-day “planning and strategy” outings at The Ritz-Carlton instead of conducting our business in our own headquarters. And we will stop hiding how much our lavish outing cost and whether taxpayers had to pay for it.
Sen. Myron Jackson
I will find the “off” switch on those electronic billboards, which seemed like such a good idea when I sponsored the legislation for them. But the signs are so bright, their glare blinds passing motorists and they cast whole neighborhoods into eerie glow.
Sen. Kurt Vialet
I will strive to understand the difference between pettiness and competence in decision-making, such as in petulantly withholding funds for the crucially important White Collar Crimes Division in the Attorney General’s Office.
Certain members of the Board of Education
We the ones who are guilty of everything cited in the V.I. Inspector General’s recent audit report can learn what Robert Fulgram taught in his book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Play fair. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess.”
And we the members who were not and are not guilty will call out any who are not doing what’s right.
We will get someone to read and explain the entire V.I. Code to us so we can stop making up legislation that has already been law for donkey years and start creating strong, effective legislation that benefits the whole territory.
Motor Vehicles Bureau
We will practice smiling until we get it right, and we will throw away our sacred Staff Manual: “How Make A Process as Difficult, Confusing and Time-Wasting as Possible.”
V.I. Carnival Committee and the Tourism Department’s Division of Festivals for St. Thomas
We will stop feuding and start running Carnival like a successful, profitable business that doesn’t require draining $540,000 from taxpayers every year.
We will start advertising right away in High Times magazine (the “high society” publication for loyal potheads nationwide) because we need thousands and thousands of customers to buy Virgin Islands’ recreational marijuana products and save GERS. Or whatever.
The Virgin Islands Daily News
We will continue doing what we have been committed to doing since 1930: Report the news accurately and fairly; hold government officials accountable; dig, demand and battle for the public’s right to know; and celebrate the people, places, events and joys of the United States Virgin Islands.