wico

Tourism Commissioner designee and West Indian Co. Ltd. governing board chairman Joseph Boschulte addresses the board at a meeting in March on St. Thomas. The board members — vice chairman Jason Charles, secretary Roosevelt David, April Moran Newland, Conrad Francois, Edward Thomas, Enrique Rodriguez, Pash Daswani and Rick Carrington — are paid $1,500 per meeting, while Boschulte gets $2,000.

Virgin Islanders can certainly appreciate the saying that “time is money.” We all value our time.

Having said that, the stipends that are allotted to West Indian Co. Ltd. board members need some discussion.

Paying public and private sector board members $1,500 per meeting — and the chairperson $2,000 per meeting — is hard to swallow for our cash-strapped community.

And it raises the question: If a person is a public employee, already on a V.I. salary, why are they paid anything at all?

Government-owned, but semi-autonomous, WICO needs a reality check.

A board is a board. People are called together for an hour or two to make decisions on behalf of the entity they are affiliated with. Nonprofit boards are made up of volunteers. Some boards pay a minor stipend.

Most Virgin Islanders consider it an honor to be nominated to prestigious boards and to have input on decisions that affect their community.

Our community is struggling to stay afloat, with huge debts and obligations piled up from years of mismanagement.

It’s time taxpayers got a break.

WICO, rethink your payment plan. Virgin Islanders appreciate the hard work of the WICO board, but enough is enough.

Reasonable and fair stipends are what our community deserves.

— Maria Ferreras is a longtime St. Thomas resident and community volunteer. She can be reached at maria@dailynews.vi.