I Sure Hope We All Know How to Swim

I sure hope we all know how to swim

I’m telling you…in the Virgin Islands, we’re facing dire times. I had stayed away from positing on All Things VI because the news is so depressing. Yet, like Pressure (Buss Pipe) said in his remake of Sure Thing: “I still have faith in the VI…” so I can’t keep silent.

But again, the news is disheartening…and I wonder when enough will become enough!? I open the paper today and see the Source reporting that the Virgin Islands Superior Court can’t afford to pay its employees and that the Department of Education has to lay off workers. This after teachers had to take a pay cut and Government mismanagement of relations with HOVENSA, the Territory’s largest employer, led to the oil refinery’s closure and the loss of employment for more than 2000 people.

For years, I’ve been saying that what we’re witnessing is gentrification: island-style. We’ve seen it in the mainland urban communities eroded by gentrification. The onslaught of drugs and crime, combined with the loss of economic opportunity work together to form a hopeless situation where those with the money to flee do so, and those without the money simply perish.

I sure hope we all know how to swim.

Jumping InBecause when gentrification really sets in, where will we go? Unlike the mainland, those of us who’ve been pushed aside cannot simply drive to the next County, City or State, where opportunities might be better. To vacate our Negro Removed and Whitewashed islands, we will have to fly on planes where the tickets (especially to and from the Virgin Islands) cost more than most can afford.

Something must be done, and clearly we cannot trust the Legislature or Governor to do it. Like Haile Selassie say:

The people themselves must come to realize their own difficulties in the development of their community and try to solve them by collective participation following an order of priority and taking their potentiality into account.

It is well known to you all that recognizing one’s problems and striving hard to challenge them is a mark of an attempt at self-sufficiency. Self help in the benefits to be acquired through education, will save the individual from asking someone’s assistance.

The next election isn’t the solution. For now, Governor DeJongh’s wolves are simply cloaking themselves in sheep’s clothing, hoping to fool the people yet again. The majority of those in the Legislature are simply retooling their messages, hoping to convince you to vote for them again so the can continue to wheel and deal in their own interests. And, the Delegate is simply biding her time…preferring to not “rock the boat” and ruin her chances at being elected Governor, than to forcefully fight for those who suffer.

Maybe my vision is blurry…do you see an alternative? If I’m wrong, I beg you to correct me. “You can bet that…VI is a death trap,” and if nothing is done the Virgin Islands will be gentrified. So, I sure hope we all know how to swim.

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