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HappyFace
(@HappyFace)
Advanced Member

For the Help that the islands need at this time. Alexandra who is a local Realtor understands the problems and should be appointed by the Governor of the USVI to assist in the stimulation of bringing business and industry to the islands. That would be a positive start for a turn around.8-) Send your letter to the Governor today!

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Topic starter Posted : January 20, 2012 3:47 am
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

Ummmm.......... Thanks for the thought...... I think.......

Isn't the government broke? They're firing people, so I don't know that I'd ever get paid even if I produced results.

The biggest move the governor could make would be to STOP the automatic refusal of any attempt at development in the islands. When you look at the number of all inclusive resorts in Aruba, the DR and the Turks & Caicos, it's sickening to realize we have NONE in the same league. How many Americans do you think have passports? Most Americans don't want to bother getting a passport, so they vacation in California and Florida and Hawaii when they want warm weather. They don't come here since we don't have the resorts to cater to them. Others want a tropical beach vacation, so they go to the effort of getting a passport so they can go to Aruba or on a cruise down-island. Has anyone ever seen anything from the Department of Tourism marketing to mainlanders to come to the USVI, where they do not need a passport to travel? It's an angle! But we don't have the resorts... so very few come.

I believe we need the refinery for many different reasons, not the least of which is the national security role the availability of aviation fuel plays when coupled with our 10,000 foot runway and location in the center of the Caribbean. At Caribbean Flight Center, we serviced the military aircraft for years, and I heard firsthand hundreds of times how important this island was militarily, particularly after the closing of Roosevelt Roads.

Even if the refinery restructures and reopens, we definitely do need to diversify the economy of STX as well. Why waste the natural resource by refusing to expand the tourism industry?

IMHO, The worst thing America ever did to the USVI was immediately grant full entitlement benefits to all citizens upon purchase of the islands. When you travel down-island where the islands are mostly independent nations, the people of each island have to figure out how to make their economy work. Tourism and customer service are valued and it shows. Everybody works at something, unlike here. If they don't work, they don't eat. Simple equation. While I value social services as a tool to help those going through hard times, it shouldn't be a cradle to grave proposition and it's unhealthy to the culture for it to have become that. The big question is: Will the island population rise to the challenge of developing and nurturing and participating in a thriving tourism industry on St. Croix? Historical evidence suggests there would be a lot of resistance. Maybe the refinery closing will be enough impetus to change some of those closed minds. But it's a toss-up.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 5:15 am
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

Has anyone ever seen anything from the Department of Tourism marketing to mainlanders to come to the USVI, where they do not need a passport to travel? It's an angle!

Yes. There was an ad blitz (if I can use that word in reference to anything done in the USVI) around about the time the passport rules changed between the U.S. and other Caribbean nations. Early aughts? '03? '04? I remember vividly correcting employees in the passport office on STX that their signage regarding the change was incorrect, and U.S. residents did NOT need one here.

IMHO, The worst thing America ever did to the USVI was immediately grant full entitlement benefits to all citizens upon purchase of the islands.

It was a military purchase, wasn't it? Basically to keep STT's deep water port out of the hands of Die Fuhrer? Not like we were really thinking rationally or long-term about what was best for the island's residents at the time.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 11:02 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

I remember the same ads.
Another thing that needs to be done is to crack down very hard on crime! Even thought the majority of crime is bad guy on bad guy a innocent person sometimes becomes a victim.
With stats showing us the worst in the nation and 8th overall per capita it turns many peoPle off visiting or living here!
I know some islands and nations censor outgoing info on crime but we can't change that.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 11:24 am
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

While there are things about the island culture that need to be addressed, now is not the time to blame the culture of entitlement for what's going on. Hovensa's demise was the result of global economic issues. And while resorts and tourism are fun and sexy, they are low wage jobs,-- not a suitable replacement for manufacturing jobs, skilled labor, and entrepreneurial efforts that provide a higher quality of life and upward mobility. The island needs homegrown busineses that create commodities we all use and can be sold in the region.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 11:44 am
jewels922
(@jewels922)
Advanced Member

I live in Boston and they have been playing the Visit the USVI No passport needed commercials like crazy up here on all the major tv stations. This has been going on since December and I probably see it at least three times a week.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 11:54 am
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

"When you look at the number of all inclusive resorts in Aruba, the DR and the Turks & Caicos, it's sickening to realize we have NONE in the same league."

I do not think that all-inclusives are the answer. It was tried by a Mexican group over here on St Thomas. It is similar to encouraging the huge cruise ships to come. Neither crowd has much incentive to get out and enjoy what our islands have to offer. The reason they succeed in Jamaica, Mexico and the DR is those places are not tourist friendly.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 2:02 pm
JahRustyFerrari
(@jahrustyferrari)
Advanced Member

"I believe we need the refinery for many different reasons, not the least of which is the national security role the availability of aviation fuel plays when coupled with our 10,000 foot runway and location in the center of the Caribbean. At Caribbean Flight Center, we serviced the military aircraft for years, and I heard firsthand hundreds of times how important this island was militarily, particularly after the closing of Roosevelt Roads."

...maybe so, but in an era of escalating global tensions I would rather NOT be a target for a nuclear (or other) during the upcoming global war...of course, it probably wouldn't matter, because the winds will take the radiation worldwide anyway.

Paranoid? maybe so, but a quick look at current world events (saber rattling with Iran, threats to close Straits of Hormuz, standoff in Syria which has a Russian naval base, threats to bomb Iranian nuclear sites which have Russian technicians working in them...etc) shows that we are on a hair-trigger this year, and it would not take much to start a conflagration. Oil refineries are a target.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 2:23 pm
jbatl
(@jbatl)
Advanced Member

I would suggest that a five star resort would do a lot more for us than all inclusives. Bucc and Carambola are nice, but are four star. When people with money want to travel, they look for Ritz, Four Seasons, Mandarin, Rosewood, etc. (not WYNDHAM)

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Posted : January 20, 2012 2:38 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

While there are things about the island culture that need to be addressed, now is not the time to blame the culture of entitlement for what's going on. Hovensa's demise was the result of global economic issues.

Neil,

I agree that the culture of entitelement didn't have much to do with Hovensa's demise, but the impact of Hovensa's demise is escalated by the fact that we allowed ourselves to have a one dimensional economy in the first place. And I think the culture of entitlement is a BIG part of how we got to where we are, that a single, albeit large, entity closing down could devestate us to a high degree (if that happens).

Entitelement cultures are not sustainable and IMO are one of the most damaging things to the human psyche of all involved. If Hovensa was enabling an entitlement culture to exist then the one positive thing I can take out its closure is that hopefully the entitlement culture will be eliminated. But that kind of change is usually painful.

Sean

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Posted : January 20, 2012 4:17 pm
JahRustyFerrari
(@jahrustyferrari)
Advanced Member

While there are things about the island culture that need to be addressed, now is not the time to blame the culture of entitlement for what's going on. Hovensa's demise was the result of global economic issues.

Neil,

I agree that the culture of entitelement didn't have much to do with Hovensa's demise, but the impact of Hovensa's demise is escalated by the fact that we allowed ourselves to have a one dimensional economy in the first place. And I think the culture of entitlement is a BIG part of how we got to where we are, that a single, albeit large, entity closing down could devestate us to a high degree (if that happens).

Entitelement cultures are not sustainable and IMO are one of the most damaging things to the human psyche of all involved. If Hovensa was enabling an entitlement culture to exist then the one positive thing I can take out its closure is that hopefully the entitlement culture will be eliminated. But that kind of change is usually painful.

Sean

100% in agreement.

A huge behemoth refinery on the South Shore that needs fossil fuels to feed itself and continuously spews cancer-causing toxins into the surrounding communities is not a scenario that appears to have a bright future. Yes, it will be painful to wean oneself from its oil-soaked teat, but in the long run we'll be better off without Hovensa.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 4:45 pm
DL
 DL
(@DL)
Advanced Member

IMHO, The worst thing America ever did to the USVI was immediately grant full entitlement benefits to all citizens upon purchase of the islands.

Actually, the U.S. extended welfare to the Virgin Islands in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and food stamps in the mid-to-late 1970s. We were in the same boat as our fellow independent Caribbean countries for the first 40-50 years of American rule.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 4:52 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

My comment wasn't meant to mean that ONLY all-inclusive resorts would be beneficial. It was that the islands I mentioned have dozens of such resorts - and more under construction - and keep them filled most of the year, while we mostly have a few old ramshackle hotels with bad service, not much in the way of amenities, and less than stellar reviews on the food available at some of them. We haven't embraced the opportunity to do some tourism development when interest has been shown over the past two decades. Those developers instead went down-island and took their business elsewhere.

There are some vacationers who do prefer an all-inclusive option, which is part of why the cruise industry has grown so much. Looking at what sells on the current vacation market and building to the preferences of the people spending the $$$ to travel seems better than doing nothing at all to attract tourism business. While there is a niche for well-heeled vacationers who will pay the $$$$$ for a five-star resort, there is volume business to be done in the mid-range tourism niche as well. Bringing a larger number of people would likely pay more profits in the long run since more people means more food, beverage, and activity consumption and more souvenirs bought, etc. Until the island cleans up its act a bit and learns how to provide top end customer service, the 5-star kind of traveler is likely to stick to St. Bart's and such destinations. It's something to work towards, for sure.

I'm glad to hear that there is an active tourism campaign running on the mainland at the moment. Thanks for the feedback on that question.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 5:19 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

One problem with all inclusives and big resorts is that not alot of money goes directly to the island. Yes there would be taxes, but these companies are all non-locally owned and much of the profit goes to the island itself. Wages are low and there are few "professional" opportunities. There is a great book about Caribbean tourism and resorts called "Last Resorts" by Polly Patullo. Very informative. Another risk with the resorts is overdeveloping and losing some of the natural beauty and open spaces that makes St Croix so unique and beautiful.

Personally, I'd like to see St Croix go in the direction of ecotourism/being a great organic food destination/more sports events like the triathalon. Or even developing UVI more, ---creating a medical school/veterinary school like in the Cayman islands and Grenada. There are so many natural resources that could be taken advantage of. Development that encourages professional opportunity instead of just service jobs would really be terrific for the islands future.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 6:13 pm
bathiel
(@bathiel)
Trusted Member

I also think attracting people like myself--not retired, but with a portable job that can be done anywhere--would be a good tack to take. There are lots of people out there who are tired of the cold and snow, and who just need an Internet connection and a cell phone to do their jobs, who could do well here. Those kind of people don't need a strong local job market, they buy groceries and eat out at restaurants, and use other local services. And they either rent or buy lodging.

The fact that the VI is a US territory means no complicated work permits, and you can get stuff shipped via the USPS quickly and cheaply.

If you could get 500 or 1,000 such people to move to STX, even for part of the year, that would help.

Bernie

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Posted : January 20, 2012 6:28 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

IMHO, The worst thing America ever did to the USVI was immediately grant full entitlement benefits to all citizens upon purchase of the islands.

Actually, the U.S. extended welfare to the Virgin Islands in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and food stamps in the mid-to-late 1970s. We were in the same boat as our fellow independent Caribbean countries for the first 40-50 years of American rule.

AND WE STILL CAN'T VOTE!

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Posted : January 20, 2012 6:29 pm
HappyFace
(@HappyFace)
Advanced Member

Iris tramm,
Maybe you can call this a Professional Development Day. We are not a State, we have no Constitution, we are not even a Commonwealth. The process of becoming a state would be a constitution for starters, but you should know that, I'm sure you learned that in Law school. After we/or will we become a State we still may not be able to vote (only if congress decided to give up a seat) but you know that.:D

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Topic starter Posted : January 20, 2012 7:27 pm
Dante
(@dante)
Advanced Member

Alexandra,

I was just in Miami, and was surprised ( and pleased ) to see a cab at the airport painted with beautiful St. Croix images and stamped with the "no passport required" seal .

It was nice to see 🙂

I also have noticed that since Jet Blue has begun service that American has dropped the price on some of their flights to STX.

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Posted : January 20, 2012 10:05 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

Iris tramm,
Maybe you can call this a Professional Development Day. We are not a State, we have no Constitution, we are not even a Commonwealth. The process of becoming a state would be a constitution for starters, but you should know that, I'm sure you learned that in Law school. After we/or will we become a State we still may not be able to vote (only if congress decided to give up a seat) but you know that.:D

NB to HappyFace: google "irony".

Do I really need to use emoticons?

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Posted : January 20, 2012 10:23 pm
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