Governor Kenneth Mapp gave a campaign speech. It was supposed to be a State of the Territory speech, but what we got was platitudes, promises and the prideful pretense that we’re doing good and will get even better — if we re-elect him.
Begging for votes definitely is not supposed to be the purpose of State of the Territory speech, which should only tell us truth and facts and put them into the context of what we need our government to do.
The governor’s speech should have honestly leveled with us, and he should have acknowledged the many shortcomings of his administration — which continually serves the best interests of the few, not of the many, and especially not the many whose daily life is a struggle.
Instead, Governor Mapp painted a picture like a Disney computer-generated-graphic depicting his hand-chosen executives toiling nonstop, day and night, to recover, restore and rebuild the V.I. infrastructure and all government-provided services.
If only we could believe that, but experience and observation has taught us to doubt.
And if only we could believe his happy talk that tax refunds soon will start flowing to our mailboxes. Wait, haven’t we seen this movie before?
The governor did tell us something we can believe: The $7.5 billion in hurricane recovery funds from the feds will not come in one huge check but will be doled out to the V.I. government in segments and from various federal agencies. That is good news, not bad, because the partial fund deliveries could reduce the inherent temptation that accompanies huge piles of cash. This was the governor’s last State of the Territory speech — unless he wins a second term — and it should have caused listeners to think back to his 2017 one, when he used “A Tale of Two Cities” as a reference for how he saw the condition of the territory.
There indeed were and still are two “cities” – two starkly different realities, two different ways of life, two perspectives on whether the territory has a bright future. This time, now that we’ve gotten a good look at what the Mapp administration wants and does and how it goes about its business, we know which city he lives in — and it’s not the one the rest of the people of the Virgin Islands are living in.
On the whole, his speech shortchanged the people he was elected to serve.
The people of the Virgin Islands deserve better.