Senators made many campaign promises; now we must ensure they do what they said
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Today is Inauguration Day for the members of the 30th Legislature, and it appears that the electorate liked the ideas presented by "The Democratic Team for Progress."
These were the very specific objectives in the Democratic Party Platform:
Education - Children to learn to read in grades 1-3 and read to learn 4-12.
Public Safety - Fund alternative programs for youth at risk.
Health and Human Services - Increase health-care training and address the homeless in the community.
Youth and Recreation - Support youth athletics, and devise programs to provide diversions for youth at risk of involvement in crime
Energy - Analyze policies that limit business and homeowners' ability to generate and sell power, reform the Public Services Commission so that it is effective in protecting the welfare of the citizens and businesses in the community.
Economic Development - Restructure the EDC benefits program, support the development of central government complexes, stop government employees from abusing the use of government vehicles and equipment.
Election Reform - Allow voters to decide how to correct the current system for electing community leaders.
If any of the issues in the platform are of particular interest to you, stay in contact with the senators and other leaders of the community. Let them know you would like for them to fulfill their campaign pledges to the citizens of the community.
The next two years can be a community-changing period in our efforts to make Paradise all that it can be.
We are a very diverse community of different islands, different heritages and different ideas - but we all want is the best for ourselves and the future generations of this community.
The world is a rapidly changing place, and we are fortunate to be outside the major influences that are having negative impacts all over the world. We can spend a lot more of our energy helping each other because we are not in conflict with each other and we are not in conflict with other communities in the world.
We are very lucky in that we are being given a lot of funding from the federal government, and other than spending the money wisely we do not have to give much in return. We are free to use the money that Uncle Sam gives us, plus our own tax money, for the good of the community - with very little interference.
We must begin to be much more diligent in using the money for the benefit of the community. We can no longer afford to allow our government agencies to function in a manner that has a negative impact on businesses in the community.
We must take a serious look at the way each government department functions. Our government is closed for more than a month every year. The difficulty of doing business in the Virgin Islands that is caused by government inefficiency and employee attitude is a price we can no longer afford.
It is much easier to do business in the V.I. without proper licenses and without paying taxes than it is to conform to the regulations!
The Virgin Islands is dependent on the U.S. Government and tourism for income, and that is unlikely to change in the near future. With the world economy in a recession, our income has been reduced and we have made up for that by borrowing on our future. But instead, we need to begin to make up for it by reducing our spending. The only way we can do that is by becoming more efficient.
The newly inaugurated senators, the governor and other leaders in the community must get serious about developing a functioning government. The first step is to reduce the difficulty of doing business in the Virgin Islands and training the government work force to provide the service that they are paid to provide can only do this.
From commissioners to department heads to staff, all levels have to understand that the better their department functions, the better off the community will be - today, tomorrow and in the future.
Again, I suggest that all of us take a look at what the Democrats have promised us.
- Greg Miller, St. Thomas