We must put V.I. unity ahead of island identity
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In our fledgling democracy, change is inevitable. Those who resist it are doing so in futility. We are already experiencing the social transformation from Crucian or Thomian to the all-encompassing identity of Virgin Islander.
This will continue as our children from all four islands go abroad and return to these islands as simply Virgin Islanders, and we all must embrace this identity as we push forward this century. We cannot stop this trend since it is already in full motion.
Locally, we shall still insist on distinguishing each other predicated on island residence: Crucian, Johnian, Thomian, and Water Islander are all identities we shall forever use to distinguish ourselves one from the other. However, our loyalty is to the all inclusive Virgin Islander.
From a federal and global perspective our identity is already defined as Virgin Islander, and we must embrace this concept as we move forward in the 21st century.
This V.I. election cycle will compel every Virgin Islander to look collectively to the island of St. Croix since if St. Croix continues to falter, the U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to founder in the Caribbean Sea. We are way past the times of St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island being the only marketable tourism destinations. St. Croix, with its tropical rainforest can be marketed using creative strategies such as eco-tourism. The entire island can be marketed from this perspective. The Crucian community and the entire Virgin Islands can benefit from marketing St. Croix as ecologically friendly.
Increasing our rum cover-over return to this territory and marketing the entire Virgin Islands as a tourism destination will be critical to our progress. Until we embrace this concept on a local level, we will continue to fail as a greater Virgin Islands community by succumbing to partisan politics of division. The irony is that all the differences between the individual islands are illusionary and exist only in our minds.
An American Paradise cannot exist without addressing the major shortcomings in the infrastructure of this entire territory, especially the municipality of St. Croix. Without St Croix, the sum total of the U.S. Virgin Islands is zero. This logic can also be applied to any one of the other three. In short, every prospective candidate for political office must keep this concept in mind: The U.S. Virgin Islands does not exist without the island of St. Croix.
As Virgin Islanders, we can move forward as leaders in the Caribbean Basin in the 21st century. As individual small islands with a Crucian versus Thomian mentality, we will only be the laughingstock of the region. Too much blood has been shed on these shores for our liberties, and we sometimes forget our greater struggles.
The 2014 election cycle is about addressing the major issues on the island of St. Croix in order to bring her up to par with the rest of the territory. We can no longer afford to be small-minded and ignorant. Every Virgin Islander must see each other from a common perspective, irrespective of color of skin and island of birth.
This transition, though rational, will not be so easily won. Our own children and grandchildren demand it, but throughout this territory, there are many elders that resist it. The dream of a united territory is within our grasp and to move forward, we must collectively reach out and grab it.
- Glenn Webster, St. Thomas