Back in the day, kids in my neighborhood had a strict code of honor. No tattling. No rock throwing. And no welching.

To welch on a deal meant you failed to honor a promise you made. Nobody liked welchers, and they were quickly called out for breaking their word.

The government of the Virgin Islands is welching on a promise made to the St. Thomas Humane Society, St. John Animal Care Center and St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have contracted out services for the care of animals in our community and haven’t paid. This welch is causing a huge crisis.

Bureaucratic runarounds seem to keep funds out of reach and common sense has flown out the window. This problem could easily be solved if someone in authority stepped up to the plate to tackle the snafu once and for all.

There’s a point in time where ridiculous situations need to take a back seat in our community and obligations paid. It’s also time that solutions and procedures are implemented for stray, injured, and animal cruelty situations.

The frustration of those who dedicate their lives to helping animals is felt by all. When funding disappears, they dig deep into their personal pockets and keep the services going.

It’s time we stood behind them as a united force for what is right.

To our officials, get your act together. Cut those checks now.

Nobody likes a welcher.

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