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East Ender
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February 21, 2009 1:31 pm  

Here is more from the BBC Caribbean Report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2009/02/090219_stanfordgate.shtml

Every time a carpet bagger shows up, all "Continentals" are suspect.


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Trade
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February 21, 2009 2:47 pm  

I know a "continental" who lost $2,000,000.00 with Stanford. I'm not shedding any tears for HIM though.


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stephaniev
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February 22, 2009 6:19 pm  

man,I cry when I lose $20 bucks!


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DixieChick
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February 23, 2009 5:57 pm  

Just ran into a young lady from Reuters in downtown Christiansted. She is here reporting on Stanford.
Office is all locked up. I think more is going to turn up on the guy. What do you all think??? Knew it was to good to be true for ST. Croix.


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Linda J
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February 23, 2009 8:40 pm  

With the stock market the way it is, we've been crying for 18 months.


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brinni
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February 23, 2009 9:00 pm  

Is it really hard down there now, economically? My understanding (which is extremely limited) was that stx was pretty independant, and, although pay is lower and expenses higher, I guess I thought that everyone down there was "used to it" and doing as well as they always did?

Up here (Minnesota - where I'll be leaving in 43 days to live in stx!!), times are extremely hard and have been for a few years (I want to say two for sure, maybe more). I work in the real estate industry right now, and we're hemorraging agents and money. Five of my friends' parents have lost their jobs - good ones - in the past year. I even have friends getting laid off regularly!

Is this the type of situation you have on island? I must not have a very good understanding of island economics yet, and I apologize if I'm out of line asking these questions! Just curious and concerned, seeing as how I'll be calling stx home soon enough!


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Tippi
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February 23, 2009 9:30 pm  

According to this report, no plans are in place to seize any property on StX.

http://www.bnet.com/2407-13071_23-271886.html

Stanford's Virgin Islands Assets Not Seized

2009-02-23 0955.0

By Martinne Geller

CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands (Reuters UK) - Allen Stanford has millions of dollars worth of assets on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, but U.S. regulators have not seized any in their probe of the Texas billionaire, a U.S. Marshal said on Monday.

James Sullivan, U.S. Marshal for the Virgin Islands, told Reuters that Stanford's assets here include a 120-foot yacht and a $7.7 million (5.3 million pounds) mansion in Christiansted, St. Croix's largest city.

According to local real estate brokers who worked with Stanford and his associates, the flamboyant financier also owns several other pieces of residential and commercial real estate including a $9 million hilltop estate and $5 million worth of storefront property in downtown Christiansted.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Stanford, 58, last week with fraudulently selling $8 billion in certificates of deposit with improbably high interest rates from his Stanford International Bank Ltd (SIB), headquartered in Antigua. Regulators in Antigua have seized Stanford's banks and companies there.

In St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, investigators are compiling a list of Stanford's assets.

"We know who owns the boat and home. If they (the SEC) ask us to seize it we will," Sullivan said. "As of today, we have no indications that they'll ask us ... I don't know if they want us to or don't want us to."

Stanford did have corporate jets on the island, but Sullivan said he believed they have been returned to Stanford Financial's corporate hangar in Sugar Land, Texas.

Stanford purchased the downtown mansion, known as the Bjerget House, last year at an auction related to the bankruptcy of its former owner, Jeffrey Prosser and his Innovative Communication Corp.

The sprawling 18th century home was once owned by the Danish pianist and comedian Victor Borge and its opulent, gated exterior is a sharp contrast to its smaller Hill Street neighbours.


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Betty
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February 24, 2009 12:11 pm  

Brinni,

Yes businesses here have had to laid off employees and cut hours here. It started theis last spring when wapa keep raising electric to keep up with the rising gast prices. As a newbie you need to know that rising gas prices affect everything here. STX imports everything so if gas goes up so does everything, your electric, groceries, shipping, my trash pickup even went up! Some business closed because of this, the rest squeak through but the wapa bills were horrendous.

So we are not feeling the current crisis like stateside, but when everything is so expensive here, people are definitely feeling the pinch. It always feels better in season, but I think this summer might be a leaner season then usual. Also since the USVI is such a tourist based economy we feel the pinch slower. It will take a year or two before we feel the full force of this recession. So you are not getting away from whats going on stateside, you're just delaying it.

Also we are a little independant because of Hovensa and because we have not had the success of stt or stj with tourism, but we still depend on it.


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Lizard
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February 24, 2009 12:40 pm  

Stanford Financial,
What Financial impact "does exist "or "will effect STX " the answer "minimal Loss of RE tax revenue on Approximately $20,000,000. in appraised value" of Real Estate holdings. The employment of less than 50 people. Stanford was not the big hitter down here. RE/TAX revenue will be recaptured on the sale of the Real Estate Holdings. I would be concerned if HOVENSA were to go bust ,that would be a disaster. There will be plenty more developers/bankers to come to the islands, not today but in the future. The Islands have always marched to the beat of their own drum, nothing has or will change that!


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brinni
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February 24, 2009 3:31 pm  

Betty, thank you very much for answering my questions! Like I mentioned before, I'm a survivor and have lived on nothing in the coldest of times, so I'm definitely not trying to escape the Depression (I think it's far worse than a mere "recession") by moving to stx. I am concerned about how much groceries, etc. are going to cost, but I luckily have a "family" down there already and will be able to split costs with them.

What is wapa? And is Hovensa the oil company out there? If so, how does that work, where is it, and how many people are employed? Is it a drill off the coast or a refinery on the land (I'm grasping to compare it to something I know; my small town has an oil refinery, which is huge and smelly) or something else all together? How much does the company have to do with local politics, policies, and socio-economic structure? I would assume the economy depends on the company A LOT.

I suppose I could just wait my 42 days to arrive and find all this out for myself, but if you guys could give me a few hints before then I sure would appreciate it!! =)


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divinggirl
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February 24, 2009 4:34 pm  

Brinni -
WAPA ( Water and Power Authority) - we have very high electric rates here. Hovensa is a joint venture oil refinery with Hess Oil and Venezuela Oil. It is a refinery much like Ashland Oil or Marathon (or whatever it is named now) in St. Paul Park, MN. I assume that is the refinery you are referring to. Hovensa is about three times the size of that refinery. I'm not sure how many are employed there bit it is hundreds. The company is very involved in the local community and support many of the local charities. I don't think I'd say we completely depend on the company but they do add a LOT to the bottom line here.


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Lizard
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February 24, 2009 4:48 pm  

divingirl,
If Hovensa were to close, the Island economy would collapse!


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brinni
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February 24, 2009 5:31 pm  

Divinggirl, you're right on! I do live in St. Paul Park!! Where did you live out here? I can't even imagine one three times that size! Wow. Where on the island is it located? It must take up a ton of space!


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divinggirl
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February 24, 2009 5:39 pm  

Lizzard - it would be devastating for the island but I do not believe that the entire economy would collapse. As I said, I don't think the island completely depends on Hovensa, there are other revenue sources here. If people believe that the entire economy would collapse without the refinery then they should start supporting other business and the growth of tourism. It's never wise to put all your eggs in one basket.

Brinni - Hovensa is on the south shore of the island right by the airport. I grew up in Hastings but lived in Roseville before moving here. My parents currently live on Grey Cloud Island so that's where I stay when I'm there. I also worked at Ashland a long, long time ago!


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GoodToGo
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February 24, 2009 7:55 pm  

Between full-time employees and contractors Hovensa directly employs about 2,500 people on STX.


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brinni
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February 24, 2009 9:41 pm  

Divinggirl, wow that's awesome! I work in Roseville and went to high school in Cottage Grove. Small small world!

Are people not investing in local businesses and tourism right now? How would stx attract/ensure more tourism?


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marlene
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February 25, 2009 11:26 pm  

Picture this, Port Authority officers on 24/7 duty 'babysitting' Stanford yacht. Our government money at work....because God forbid the captain of a 25 million dollar vessel will get a crazy idea to ruin his career and take flight....If this came down from the US government they would not have told the crew to stay on the vessel in the first place to take care of it.


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Uttica
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February 26, 2009 12:54 am  

Divinggirl: for the most part your posts are right on track, but this time I have to agree with Lizard...Hovensa directly (and indirectly) controls the economy of St. Croix. They bring in hundreds of employees from the states. I know that "local" people cry because of this. "Local" people want "local" employees.

Now, I agree that if "locals" were making the money instead of "continentals", there may be less crime/drugs/prostitution on the island. But...

I have been looking at the websites for homes for sale. It must be like, 95-97% of homes have rentals attached to them. I know that there are very few apartment complexes on St. Croix, or the USVI for that manner. "Continentals" have to live somewhere. Sometimes, they even bring families!!! for example...for the first 2 years, I rented apartments attached to people homes. The rent from these apartments helps "locals" pay the mortgage.

If Hovensa were to lay off employees or stop hiring "continentals", I think that "locals" may be strapped to cover their mortgage. Where would St. Croix be then?

In fact, the apartments that I rented were attached to homes and owned by "locals". I was to pay rent 1st of the month, like any normal apartment complex in the states would expect. My land lady came to me after a few months of renting, she said that I had to pay rent by the 20th of the month because I chose to pay by check and she needed the money in the bank by the 1st to cover her mortgage.

Now, tell me, how does Hovensa not affect the economy on St. Croix?

I know that I use "locals" and "continentals" in parenthesis. Sorry if I offed or offended. I am not sure when a "continental" instead of a "local" should be used. Is it home ownership, time on island, native rights? I think that it is an entirely different subject for an entirely different post. Just please don't forget to give me the kudos for starting the discussion 😛


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Linda J
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February 26, 2009 8:27 am  

People self identify. Ask, and you will be told "I live here" or " I live in Kentucky and come here for the winter". This is not a new discussion.


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divinggirl
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February 26, 2009 10:42 am  

Now, tell me, how does Hovensa not affect the economy on St. Croix?

If you read my post I never stated that Hovensa does not affect the economy of STX. On the contrary, I said just the opposite, they have a great impact. I simply stated that I do not believe the entire economy of STX would collapse without Hovensa.


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Uttica
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February 26, 2009 11:13 am  

Linda: you obviously don't know how important it is for those who are born here to be referred to as locals.

Divinggirl: Sorry, I still have to go with Lizard on this one.


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trw
 trw
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February 26, 2009 12:59 pm  

i dunno i use crucians when refering to old time crucians,puerto ricans when refering to them and down islanders for everyone else except for santos,i also use the term white crucians for that group(armstrongs.lawaetz,ecttt),oh and trini,the only people i refer to as locals would be the old time crucians


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Linda J
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February 26, 2009 2:17 pm  

And away we go!!


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trw
 trw
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February 26, 2009 5:42 pm  

lol linda,the words themselves are descriptors like "oh you know so and so the santo lady or so and so the pr man,i work with antigans but out at the divi i worked with st lucians


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dreamconch
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February 27, 2009 8:15 pm  

Greetings,
Just an update on Stanford Financial. His CEO has been accused of obstruction of justice and is slapped with a million dollar bond, which if posted might still require a personal monitoring device. Investigators have found only $250 Million dollars of Stanton's stated $8Billion dollar worth. He has not as yet been arrested. Hmmmm. Sounds like another Bernie Madoff able to live comfortably while others he scammed are going belly up.
Hope you are all well down in the islands.

Dreamconch


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