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SO, YOU WANNA MOVE TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS...Food for thought!

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YesterDaze
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July 19, 2005 3:46 am  

House in north Georgia, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage in a beautiful new sub division...$145,000

Trip to the Virgin Islands, rental car, hotel, dining and unbelievable weather without worrying about the costs...$2,500
IDEA of relocating to the Virgin Islands, living in paradise and no problems...$5,000

The look on your face when your realize you made the BIGGEST mistake of your life moving to the VI...$PRICELESS!

While everyone tries to convince themselves of WHY they need to live in the VI, others have learned, some the HARD, EXPENSIVE WAY. But the realities of this area are quickly proven much different than the PMV (pre move visit). Some have packed up and moved on, many are stuck and struggling, and yet, some are still new and have not learned yet...but, keep looking over their shoulders, because sooner or later, the VI will get you.

In this bunch, there appears to be 3 distinct reasons that people relocate/move here. (Please, this is simply my opinion based on living here from 1991 to 1995 and than again from June 2005 until now)...but, many will agree, while others try to figure out a way to dance around the facts.

FIRST - there are people who LOVE the “idea” of living in paradise on an island and have the money to do it...but they typically live in seclusion, buying a beautiful home in well guarded areas that basically serve as a vacation/summer residence and not an everyday residence where they are exposed to everyday life in the VI.

SECOND - there are people who like the island lifestyle and believe they can start a business so they can live in paradise. There can be obvious advantages if it was that simple, it “appears” to be easier than all the rules & regulations of operating stateside...appears is the key word here!

THIRD - there are people who want to just “GET AWAY” from “whatever” and want to escape to an island paradise so they can live happily ever after...yeah, RIGHT!

Other than weather, what is the beauty of a trash infested, crime ridden, Rasta wondering, and miserable territory that, on one hand, blames the US for as much possible, but then shits on them for everything else? Just once, listen to the so-called governors, senators and other public officials...anyone with basic intelligence can understand the grade school antics. WTF?

This is my summary and you can probably guess that I am SOUR on this area...AGAIN. Anfd for good reason, just like most others who wanted to do business in the VI!

I will forward my story to those who are interested, but my experience and advice is, BE CAREFUL IN YOUR ASSUMPTION THAT THE VI IS THE ANSWER....Good Luck!


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Teresa
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July 19, 2005 4:21 am  

You have a right to your opinion. My opinion is that living in the V.I. is not as bad as you have stated in fact more or less the opposite. I have lived here a year and for none of the three reasons you have stated. I have stared down the wrong side of a gun, I have been robbed, I have seen police abusing power, I have experinced plenty to be upset about - of course none of this happened in the V.I. Rather it happened in a safe suburban town in the MidWest. I have learned that common sense and awareness does prevent many such bad experiences. I know statistically and realistically that the V.I. has some major problems with crime. I do my best to make my family safe and live my life. I look at the good in life and am a happy person. Your opinion is just that - your opinion. I would just like people reading this post to know that not every agrees with YesterDaze concerning life in the V.I. and many people have had a great life here. It isn't for everyone, but neither is a 'safe' suburban neighborhood in the states.

Teresa


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YesterDaze
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July 19, 2005 4:52 am  

So, just so i understand YOUR logic, WHY do you prefer the VI or the US? Be Honest, and thanks for your opinion! I am NOT trying to take anything away from the VI, just trying to make sure that when someone decide to make the move, they have a complete and 100% idea as to what it IS really like. so, WHY did you move down here and what keeps you here?


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Islander
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July 19, 2005 5:10 am  

Hello Steve,

What a huge turn around. A few months ago you were posting stuff like:

"I truly believe that "anyplace" can have its ups and downs. I went through "it" in the early to mid 90's when living on STX...it took me a year to adjust. Once adjusted, (if you can) it is REALLY a PARADISE. I will be down there in June and GLAD TO BE BACK!"

and

"ACCEPT that they are not us and we are in their world and things work differently than in our world...most of the islanders are beautiful people willing to accommodate anyone, as long as YOU TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT! By the way, I am moving back to STX in June and now look forward to their ways!"

So what’s going on? What happened to change your 'can't wait to get back' to being 'sour'? And I noted you said 'wanted to do business'... so I am guessing you are having problems with setting up the restaurant/bar business you had mentioned in your prior posts... (among other frustrations??). What's the story?

--Islander


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Dan
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July 19, 2005 6:55 am  

Hi, I'd be interested in hearing your story as well. You can sent it to me directly if you don't want to post. And I would invite anyone else who is willing to share the "realities" of moving to the VI to send me a note. Thanks!

Dan
dmayes228@hotmail.com


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Eddie Ciccarone
 Eddie Ciccarone
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July 19, 2005 1:00 pm  

Hi, I'd be interested in hearing your story as well. You can sent it to me directly if you don't want to post. And I would invite anyone else who is willing to share the "realities" of moving to the VI to send me a note. Thanks!

Dan
dmayes228@hotmail.com

ME TOO!! (pefawm-00@hotmail.com)
~~EDDIE


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East Ender
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July 19, 2005 1:05 pm  

I hope you will post here about your experience. When people say "It is not for eberybody," they mean it. I do think that there is something about expectations and realities that really gets to some. Please don't just go away. Newcomers do need to see that there are two sides of the coin.


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islandjoan
 islandjoan
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July 19, 2005 1:33 pm  

hi everyone, just here to share my experience/opinion, for what it's worth! I moved to St. Croix five years ago, to marry a local guy from an "old Crucian family" ie. a true Virgin Islander. I admit that my experience has been different than that of most "Continentals" since I am married to a local. For the most part, the last five years have been good. I live on a (mostly) beautiful island, enjoy fresh air and an outdoor life. My husband and I own a small house on a beautiful lot with just about every tropical fruit you could imagine. Sure I miss a LOT of what the US has to offer but then I can always go back and visit, which I do. HOWEVER, having said all that, I AGREE with a lot of what YesterDaze says. This island IS trash infested and crime ridden! Sure there are nice areas, like Buck Island and Jacks and Isaacs Bay, but you would be hard pressed to name virtually any other beach that isn't littered with diapers, condoms, beer bottles etc. My husband (again, born and raised on St. Croix) has told me what it used to be like here back in the 60's and 70's. Go to the BVI, that's what it used to be like here, he says. YesterDaze is also telling the truth about the local government! Gov. Turnbull is so fond of saying that the US is "colonializing" St Croix and he wants the VI Govt to continue to run their own affairs YET wants the US to keep sending money! Many locals say that if the US were to pull out, and stop sending federal dollars, the Virgin Islands would turn into another Haiti. There is way too much corruption for such a small island with so many living below the poverty line. I guess I should stop here, I've said too much, I could go on forever. But I agree 100% - this island is NOT a paradise! Once you are here, living your day to day life, you realize this. And, then you decide how long to stay. Me? I'm here for awhile, but I know I cannot live here forever.


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Anonymous
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July 19, 2005 2:12 pm  

Paradise is a state of mind anyway. I don't think I have been too many stateside beaches that did not have diapers..bottles & condoms laying around. And yes, there is crime there, but show me a place where there is absolutely no crime at all. And what's with the comment about "Rasta wondering"? I personally take offense to that statement as I do believe believe in many of the ways of the Rastafarians. Unless you have done research on them & their ideologies..then you really don't know of that which you speak. You came back for a reason and because it did not work out your bailing...which is fine..more room for others ;0)

Guidance


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Joanne
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July 19, 2005 2:54 pm  

Well said HMMMMMMM.

Both YesterDaze and Aaron (in another posting) refer to rastas rather negatively. How do they know they were Rastafarians? Did they ask? Wearing dreadlocks and a red, gold and black cap does not make one a Rastafarian, although it is often done to acquire the "look". I'm convinced that most people do not know that Rastafarianism is a religion with specific tenets. They therefore label anyone with dreadlocks as a Rasta.


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aaron
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July 19, 2005 3:14 pm  

For some people it is just a bad hair cut. But those people give others a bad name sometimes. They used to not even let peole with locks into the BVI.


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piaa
 piaa
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July 19, 2005 3:25 pm  

Thanks for your input - the great thing about this board is that we all get to share our opinion's, thoughts and feelings and try to offer advise to others who are thinking about moving or who are in the process of moving (such as my husband and myself) and help with as much information as possible, and I must say you guy's are great. Having said that my question to you is why are you still there? My advise to you is LEAVE that "trash infested, crime ridden, Rasta wondering, miserable territory" you obviously hate it and we all know that anything is possible so reguardless of your circumstances you can make it happen - so - if a house in North Gerorgia for $145,000 is what you want you go for it.


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Anonymous
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July 19, 2005 3:33 pm  

It would not be a hair cut at all if it is a Rasta...Don't you think buzz cuts or bald heads can give people a bad name? Such as skinheads and racists. It all comes to the same thing...gross misconception based on appearances. Some people lock their hair because it allows it to be in their most natural state. Beauty abounds in many different ways.

Some people do wear the ites (red, gold, green) without being rastas...seen many a blond blue eyed teen drinking and taking ecstacy who were not rastas (a true rasta does not drink alcohol)...and these were kids who came from "good & influential families"--people tend to equate poverty with other social misbehaviors...go figure...


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aaron
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July 19, 2005 3:45 pm  

The person who I had the encounter with in my post "Two years and counting" did respond to the name "Ras" so I do believe that he thought that he was a Rastafarian. He didnt act like any of the other true Rastas that I know. Rastafarianism is a ritious way of living not a hair cut.


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islandjoan
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July 19, 2005 3:55 pm  

hi piaa, you ask why are we still here if we don't like it here? Usually the reason is that, having spent a lot of $$ to move here, it takes awhile (as you know the salaries are not so high here) to save up enough to leave the island and start all over again somewhere else. It's not easy to just pack it in and go! Plus most people (like myself) even tho' they complain about the bad things, still find enough good things to keep them here. And some of us keep hoping for things to get better.


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maverickelly
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July 19, 2005 4:02 pm  

Just curious...have any of the people who are complaining about there lives ever tried to live in Southern California. Well, life sucks here too. I cannot get to work without the fear of someone pulling a gun on me beacause of road rage. I am late to work because a poor homeless junkie has decided to sleep on the train tracks-- oops a train came. Can't go to the mall or a bar or nightclub because I don't want to compete in a fashion show where every woman has the same fake boobs, nose, liposuctioned tummy, collagen lips, LV purse, and a gas guzzler SUV that contibutes to our gas costing almost $3.00 a gallon. Just food for thought. If you are not happy somewhere I say leave (I am). Find your bliss, it's not always out there looking for you. Cheers!


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Anonymous
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July 19, 2005 4:03 pm  

Perhaps..but then again he may have become accustomed to people calling him Ras based on his hair. Either way..it is kind of comical that anyone would come and say that you owed them $$$$ for the truck...


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Anonymous
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July 19, 2005 4:07 pm  

I agree with you...I live in Southern California as well...and live in an apartment building in what "was" a nice area. now there are homeless people coming into my building and sleeping, defecating, and who knows what else. don't want to drive to la because of the nutcase who is shooting random people on the freeway...people throwing rocks off the overpass...the fashion show...the people who don't speak at all...and i am coming to the VI...i figure that if nothing else..my weather will be what i like..even if all the other problems still exist.


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blue water
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July 19, 2005 8:26 pm  

I live in Maine- you know- "vacationland" where the air is clean and life is good? The place to get away from it all? Six months ago a woman my age (30ish) was walking down a well populated street in broad daylight. A man passing her by said hello. Trying to be "smart" she averted her eyes and kept walking. He managed to grab her without causing attention, pull her down into a back alley and brutally beat and rape her for the next six hours. Six months before that- another woman was attacked and raped on a community walking path three blocks from my aprtment. I think if we polled the board- we would all be able to recount stories like this from all over the world.
I apologize for the harsh stories- but this is reality- WHEREVER your paradise is.
Anyone expecting to move to the VI (or anywhere else) expecting Eutopia- I agree is foolish. The frustrations that are shared with island living on this board are most certainly valuable and helpful to try and prepare yourself as best you can. But- there is crime,violence, tradegy and corruption everywhere! It is not specific just to the VI- so please- don't discredit peoples reasoning for moving there- and if you have had some frustrating experiences lately (and it sounds as if you have) than please share them! That would be most helpful if you want to give the "real" version of living in the VI.
You sound very frustrated in your posting- and I am sorry for that- but please- there are a lot of us out here that are very anxious about our moves- facts are better than bitterness!


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YesterDaze
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July 19, 2005 9:22 pm  

INCREDIBLE how "some" not all, have taken clear statements and turned them inside out. Bitterness is part of the fact for me!

FYI - I NEVER SAID CRIME WAS SPECIFIC TO THE VI AND DID NOT EXISIT ANYWHERE ELSE...I "CLEARLY" STATED THAT IT IS RAMPANT IN THE VI. We all can choose where to live good areas and bad, but my wife and I prefer evening walks without worry VERSUS living inside BARS and GATES that are a must in most areas on STX.

I will post my story a little later for all who are interested.
Thanks for all the PM's and support.


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YesterDaze
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July 19, 2005 10:59 pm  

OK, ok…I got a lot of people’s balls in an uproar. I was “generalizing” about a few things and some, took it the wrong way…as in my RASTA’S remark. I know a few who are really cool, it’s nothing personal…sorry!

Some agree and some do not, this is MY EXPERIENCE and you should take it that way and not waste your time trying to justify your reasons to move to the VI. Hey, I just think that there is a false illusion about what reality is and isn’t in the VI as a simple visit is not reality.

And PIAA, I will be gone real soon…anyone who has ever moved, understands it does take time, and trust me, I am happily making room for a few more people – you’re welcome!

IT’S MY EXPERIENCE, not yours! And, If you don’t agree with what I say, I am not going defend my views - I will let the next sucker who moves here to start a business do that.

I came down here in the early nineties and started and operated a successful business. I met my beautiful wife (she is from St. Lucia and her sister and parents live on STX) and we moved back to the US and did well. I was NEVER impressed with STX, but we did well.

Over the years my wife traveled back and forth to visit her family, not me…no interest. Then, about 3 years ago, my brother-in-law started complaining about the amount of theft and employee headaches in his “Local” style bar and grill business on STX…he has a GREAT rep on the island for the best chicken around…it is slow cooked on an open grill with one hell of a sauce!

Then one day, my wife’s sister (my brother-in-laws wife) asked my wife if we would be interested in managing the place to help him out, basically, partner up…they liked the way I ran my store when there and know I am not tolerant of lazy employees…they wanted someone to put their foot down. At first, I blew it off. Then, my wife’s father became seriously ill with a tumor and her mother experienced a stroke. I thought that maybe her being around here parents until they pass, would be good, AND, if I could do business and earn money, it would be that much better.

So, the discussions and the trips began to figure out a game plan. We decided put a little AMERICAN polish on the business – do the basics like put up a nice sign with a cute theme…something like SQEETERZ would be cool. Make employees follow rules, hours of work, be customer oriented…BUT KEEP THE ISLAND CHARM, but it MUST operate more like a real business instead of a hobby.

We found a great place, fully equipped and ready to go. (even located 2 others just in case). Had a contract on it and decided to do it. So, I visited the Health department, got approvals and a list of little things to do after they inspected two places for us.

We packed up, got rid of the house, and made the move.

NOW, understand this…in my mind, this was simply a stepping stone to open a place in St. Lucia…that’s where my wife and I would live out golden years, STX was only a way to get there. (we own property in SLU).

So, we move down and the guy we were renting from decides to raise the monthly rent from $2500 to $3000. Also, he wants to get an additional $15k deposit for the equipment. All this after we agreed to pay $1k a month MORE to use the equip. This was a written agreement. (no, I am not going to sue him and spend $15k to get nothing!) So, this threw us off balance and would drain us of the extra cash needed to build up, fix up and advertise and so on.

So, we go to “place 2”. We are ready to go and the Health department says the rules changed. (actually, passed last November, but didn’t say anything on first visit when they approved the first place). NOW, the rules state that we need to have 2 bathrooms and handicap access in any sitdown place. The kitchen must be tiled. The kitchen must be lined in stainless steel if the walls are cement. (Gee, cement buildings in the VI, what are those chances?) Need to install stainless counters, stainless steel sinks, and a stainless hood for cooking - no longer can a place grill food out in the open, everything must be behind the stainless walls in the kitchen!!!

So, our little adventure just turned into a nightmare. But, no problem, I will go to place 3 and open a little take out joint and do our theme on a smaller level…just do some minor fixing, updating and take it one day at a time…ya think? Guess what, now all “take out places” MUST be updated also!

Now, before anyone says I should have done this and that, I know…but the whole thing came about as a simple, island thing that should be easy to do without spending all the money traveling back and forth to make sure it is 100% before packing up…BUT, my brother in law has been doing business here for 30 years, so I figure, NO PROBLEM…I got him to work through the issues if needed.

OK, so…I expired all my ideas and now come to realize that we are just going to have to put a few bucks into my brother-in-laws place and kick it up a notch and go from there. GUESS WHAT...the inspectors got wind of what we were going to do and stopped by to visit…UNFKNBLVABLE.

Open air grilling is all over the VI, it’s affordable, tastes great, and has a nice charm about it (these are my opinions). Many places still have outdoor bathrooms and no real kitchen (I am referring to local style places, not those at hotels and the boardwalk). Most probably can’t afford to do it by the book.

So what does this mean? Either they will crack down and run most of them out of business, or they don’t want someone like me operating here – and guess what, I doubt they will be closing anyone down anytime soon as nobody is aware of these issues!

So, the Virgin Islands, once again sucks the living hell out of “ANOTHER” business possibility (this is common to those who keep up with the news here). It is incredible the attitudes of the health inspectors who just say; it’s not us, we don’t make the rules, we just enforce them…BUT THEY DON’T, well, actually they do, VERY SELECTIVELY!

If it is not one thing, it IS the other. So, my reasoning to come here was to do some business while my wife could be with here parents for a while before they go…and then move on to St. Lucia!

Of course, I still have the “other” issues.

My personal opinion is that safety is more important than the weather and view. Also, It makes me sick to see the trash littering the area and nobody trying to clean it up. WHY CAN’T THE PRISONERS BE PUT TO CLEAN DURING THE DAY?

I drive through town and so many businesses are disappearing, buildings are empty, the streets are filthy, bums falling over drunk, sleeping on the walkways and begging for a QUART…the buildings are falling over, the stench in some areas can make you vomit…walk off the boardwalk by The MIX and the trash and septic dumps right there (some call it island charm)…WTF, why don’t they fix it? And then, everyone asks, WHERE ARE ALL THE TOURISTS?

I look at the area and it’s no wonder all the crack dealers and crack whores live there at night – in the middle of town! I mean, WTF???? Cops see it, they know who’s who (even I do), but they just shrug it off.

There are no incentives to bring businesses in or to keep them. And every political leader knows this stuff…GO FIGURE.
That is an example why I am sour.

I wrote this fast, so I am sure I missed a few things, like WAPA and the ELECTRIC CHARGES, but this is my expereince. Good luck to anyone who decides the VI is the place to be…just do your homework and weigh everything out.


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STT Resident
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July 19, 2005 11:01 pm  

Gee whillickers, YesterDaze, do you have to shout?

Your anger, frustration and disappointment come through loud and clear along with the typos.

Of course we're interested in your story and I think we'll all be glad to hear it when you can get it together to write it in a tangible format without yelling and basically denigrating all these nice folks who are quietly responding and putting in their two cents.

And of course we'd love some follow-up once you're able to leave here and return to North Georgia which may be one of the very few crime-free Utopian areas left on the planet. I'm really not being sarcastic but please just tone down the rhetoric. We're all pretty nice folks and some of us have lived here for a very long time and just want to help out! Thanks and good luck!


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Iris Richardson
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July 20, 2005 12:26 am  

Boy I don't blame you that you are upsat. But guess what the same thing is going on here in Philadelphia. Good old main land. I am a pro photographer and in Philadelphia you need to have a business lisence, a use lisence and sale tax lisence. The city of philadelphia took my money send collectors to my door every month and even try to serve me with papers. Only after my landlord who failed to pay the use tax was in trouble was I able to get that officer to look into my case. I was smart enough to keep the canseled cheque on hand. I moved out of Philadelphia 2 years ago. They now are pestering me claiming I did not pay my business tax. One day I will get a letter stating I have to pay up the next I have a credit just to get another saying otherwise. You don't have to live on an island to deal with crap. But I do somewhat agree with you everyone says this is the island way. I think that in the long run it will only hurt the VI island untill some people will step up and say enough is enough. We want a clean place to live, we want fair wages, good schools and government who does their job.Just look how the goverment is missmanaging the schools and how much federal funding they are loosing. It reminds me of Camden Nj the most dangerous city of the US. The former Major is serving time. I have the feeling a few in the VI government should go and join him.


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Iris Richardson
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July 20, 2005 12:47 am  

My husband things someone was trying to get you to pay them off and got pissed when you did not do so. Sounds so like Philly it is not funny

Sorry you had to deal with this.
Iris


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Islander
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July 20, 2005 1:13 am  

Hello Steve,

Thanks for sharing your story. Totally understand how frustrated & irritated you feel considering the let downs from the rent issue to inspections. I knew something wasn't right since you seemed pretty excited about going back to STX a few months ago. How disappointing.

Again thanks for sharing so folks can understand and learn from your story, I think that was your point of the original post but the details help explain things.

All the best with working through this situation and with your future plans.

--Islander


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