The hyperbolic prince?
The Crown Prince took up extensive radio time yesterday touting his plans for the financial recovery of the USVI:
It seems to be more of the grandiose hyperbole. Amongst other things, Mr Mapp said during the interview that, “the territory is due to collect $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to be added to the V.I. treasury.”
Presumably he’s referring to the almost $37 million in outstanding EPA grant funds noted in that agency’s recent report?
In the report, it’s noted that, “The USVI has not effectively implemented several environmental programs. In particular, the USVI’s implementation of the CWA and CAA Title V is deficient in key program areas. Deficiencies in DPNR’s financial systems have prevented DPNR from potentially receiving almost $37 million in outstanding grant funds (emphasis mine), which further hinders its ability to properly implement its environmental programs. The deficiencies and weaknesses we identified in USVI’s implementation of the CWA and CAA Title V programs, demand that Region 2 take substantial steps to remedy these issues and ensure that the USVI public and environment are protected.”
Mr Mapp seems to be inferring that this “$35 million” is a windfall in the coffer which can be used for general funding whereas in fact it has one purpose and one purpose only - to implement EPA mandates and ensure that they're followed.
Am I mis-reading/misinterpreting?
I know you all are going to jump on me for this, but I really think the Governor is trying to come up with a plan to get his arms around the financial issues facing the VI. I used to work for a Fortune 50 company that went through many, many rounds of what they called "re-engineering." It is a process of getting your arms around all of the ways to cut spending, staff and change processes to make them more efficient and less costly. I can tell you from going through this for 10 years, that it starts with the low hanging fruit and then moves to the more difficult decisions & complicated changes.
From what I've read in the papers (and I don't have any inside info on this), the Governor is attempting to get his arms around the low hanging fruit. For example, moving violent prisoners off island to facilities in the states that can house them more cheaply and looking for federal moneys that can be spent to address the territory's issues, instead of spending VI tax moneys (e.g., federal money to address mental illness, seniors & new moms and their babies). Moving from 16 financial systems to one financial system is also a classic re-engineering move--our company did that with both its financial and technology systems. I think the Governor also mentioned collapsing the management structure of the two hospitals down to one to cut costs (this, I've got to believe, is going to be one of those more complicated changes). I suspect he is also looking at ways to reduce the cost of our borrowed money (another classic re-engineering move).
Has he missed the mark on things? Sure, his housing on St. Thomas, for one. Maybe the EPA comment -- I don't know the specifics of that, so I can't make an assessment. I'm sure there will be more things that will make you shake your head. I can honestly say that there are decisions I made on the job that I wish I could go back and change and fix. I suspect the Governor will feel the same way. However, let's look at the big picture to see if things will improve. It will be very easy to see if the VI gets the federal moneys and invests them as the Governor suggests -- accountability will be easy to determine. But let's give the guy a chance to implement and improve before we completely shoot him down. The problems took a long time to develop and it's going to take time to identify and implement solutions. In time, if things don't improve, I'll stand corrected. However, for now, I am pulling for the Governor and his administration to be successful. The people of the territory need him to succeed. Kim Japinga
I truly admire your optimism but (and I'm not jumping on you) had you been here during "King" Schneider's reign with Mr Mapp as his Lieutenant Governor and King-in-Training, the double-speak and hyperbole would likely have a most familiar ring and elicit not any comfort in the leopard having miraculously changed his spots but that of, "oh crap, here we go again".
I will admit that I am cautiously optimistic. It's not that I haven't been disappointed in the past -- I worked for a member of Congress in DC in the early 1990s who was heavily involved in the congressional banking scandal (yes he lost his job & I lost mine as a result). I also wasn't here during Governor Schneider's terms, so I don't have that background. Having said that, I am still hopeful that Governor Mapp will move things in the right direction.
With respect to the 1000 new jobs, it does sound counter-intuitive. I don't know if some of those are going to be federally funded and I think he also spoke of eliminating jobs in areas where they may not be critically needed (Dept of Ed administrators) and add jobs in more critical places (police department). Whether those add up to 1,000, I don't know. I also think we've got to add jobs -- unemployment doesn't help anyone. Employment means people have money to pump into stores & restaurants, insurance to pay for medical care, and less stress on the territorial safety net, for example. While my preference would be to add private sector jobs, that will take time. I'd like to hear more about how the Governor intends to add those new jobs and what trade offs that's going to require.
No governor can improve the lives of the people without increasing private sector jobs or business opportunities. Mapp says very little about how he's going to do that and until he brings new corporate businesses to the territory, I am not listening to his bs.
His current economic plan is to try to get his commissioners to get federal monies we did not yet because of a myriad of inadequacies, instead of courting new private sector businesses.
A good governor figures out a way to sell his location to attract businesses and visitors. From what I can see, Mapp can only sell to the people of the Virgin Islands.
I'd like to hear more about how the Governor intends to add those new jobs and what trade offs that's going to require.
No worries, he takes every opportunity to go on TV and radio to spread the mangled word and manages to lie with impunity even while being recorded for posterity. It's human nature to hear the hyperbole and glaze over the subsequent rebuttals from those he claims to have spoken to and he learned his lessons well at the foot of the throne. Like his mentor, he'll underestimate the voters and will be a one-term Governor but, in the meantime, can make a mess of damage in four years for someone else to try and clean up.
Remember how he was going to send a team into Hovensa to inventory all the assets?
Remember the DOD team that was going to come here and survey the Hovensa facility?
Remember the Disney group that were going to visit and give suggestions on improving out tourism product?
Funny how the "government officials" who were allegedly very interested in the possibility of the Hess site as a detention center to replace Gitmo disavowed knowledge of any discussions with him to that end; as Disney Cruise spokespeople disavowed any plans to consider STX as a homeport. One would laugh if it were a comic skit but not when it's reality. :-X
I, as most of you know am just a newbie when it comes to VI politics. I did get really involved mostly through reading and watching things on the internet and a couple of visits during the last election cycle. I even made a donation to one candidate for Governor solely because I was inspired by her candidacy. Mr. Mapp seems amiable but I was highly disappointed in what transpired with the Attorney General's Office and his initial appointee abruptly resigning. If corruption is truly going to be cleaned up it has to be done by an independent minded AG. However, I am always willing to give those newly elected officials a chance an am mostly an optimist by nature. I will continue to keep informed as perhaps I will be eligible to vote in the next Governor's race.
As reported by the Daily News:
"Billed as a call-in show for residents to ask questions, Mapp spoke extemporaneously for nearly 80 minutes about everything from his background, how he chooses commissioners to head departments, how the territory can better serve the mentally ill and how to create good jobs. He took questions from only about three or four callers."
Not much of a "call-in show" when he spends all the allotted time talking up a storm and leaves only a tiny amount of time to address less than a handful of callers.
It's also unfortunate that the callers asked about things covered in the media many times over.
A sad reflection on the fact that a large segment of the population doesn't bother to read or listen to the news - although that's not something peculiar to the local population! 😀
I agree with you guys. Mapp is not cleaning up his predecessor Prince DeJongh's screw ups fast enough. Jheezh! He's had a whole 3 months to deal with DeJongh's 150$ million dollar fiscal year shortfall.Off with Mapp's head then?
Things are really getting hard out here. Hey Tart, where do you get your food stamps?
Mapp = Monarch of Spin.
Although, to give credit where credit is due:
I recently spoke with Robert Malacarne of St. John Rescue and congratulated him on them finally getting the agreement in place to be able to transport dead bodies without having them incur liability issues.
He said that this time around, it was far easier to negotiate with those in charge than the last administration and that those he dealt with really cared. That's a nice positive.
This will probably interest MissJustice (or not):
One way to cut down on expenses is to only elect those running
for governor who live on St. Thomas and own their own homes! 😀
However, this issue about where and how much gets spent to house a governor needs to be addressed and put to rest, once and for all.
I wonder if our Senators are up for the task?