What is St Croix like these days?
I have been reading the moving stories and have started reading some ugly things about St Croix. I am wondering if the island could have gotten that bad in just a years time? I am not looking for paradise, but I do want a some what nice feel to my home area.
Could it be that the stories I have read are just some people that have bad luck or what.
Any insight on todays conditions of St Croix would be of so much help.
Thank You All in advance.
Some is bad "luck" as it would be every where. My personal opinion follows.
St Croix and St Thomas suffer from the same epidemic as the rest of the US. "Danger zones" "Depressed urban areas - call them what you will, have developed. These areas are often Public Housing. In these zones, drug dealing, poverty, child neglect, absent fathers, adult criminality and poor role models and academic failure etc have led to a generation of anti social youth - these youth with little or no learned skills are now fathering the next generation.
These "danger zones" are developing across the US. Unfortunately, because the Islands are so small, they are right next door to areas that are more middle of the road and areas that are wealthy. Not only does this cause crime to "leak" across the barriers, but tends to shove the "have and have-not" in the faces of the "Zone" dwellers.
The have and have not is particularly brutal on the Islands - million dollar mansions close to one room slums.
The anger and anti socialism on the Islands is often misclassified as racial, I believe it is just a reflection of the same phenomenon in the rest of the US, but escalating faster and requiring different medicine. I hope De Jongh is the doctor.
Who is De Johng?
The new Governor.
Do you think there is another "Burning" episode in the islands future?
It all depends. if nothing is done to ameliorate the plight of the young and disenfranchised and a charismatic leader emerges, then quite possibly, yes.
If, however, the new government addresses the woes of the population, and I mean the 'real' population not the transplants who live a very different lifestyle to a significant number of Cruzans, then probably, no.
Even those transplants who claim to live a modest and 'in tune with the Island rhythm etc etc" way of life are ina different stratosphere to much of the local population. An IRA? A car? Airline tickets? Restaurants? Pet vaccinations bottled water etc etc.
In my very humble opinion, I think that crass affluence is being rubbed in the face of some very angry and empathy less young people and that is always a worrying situation.
I can think of at least two young men who see the situation clearly and are articulate fearless and charismatic - thank God they believe in peace and brotherly love.,
A great part of why we left was because we could not stand living in such a divided at close quarters society. We left more out of sorrow and hopelessness than the usual claptrap spoken about...not flexible enough, not open to new experiences etc.
The head in the sand thing was not an option to me as I believe that it is to so many. As long as the cocktails taste good and we can go to Buck Island on a Sunday, then just avoid the crime ridden poor parts, find another route to work etc.
I cared about the whole of StX - not just the view and the turquoise water.
Joy & kel comparable to what? You do realize this is a complete different culture here. I dont know where you live but I doubt it will be in any way comparable. Most dreamers come here because they think its a slower pace of life and everything will be magically better in paradise. You need to do a pmv and really get to know the island as you would if you were living here and not vacationing here. No way for us to know if you would be comfortable here....only you would know that.
Great post Jane.
The original question was can St Croix have gotten that bad in just a years time.
So I assume Joy and Kel, you were down here a year ago and so have visited the island before?
In that case, I will reply that St Croix has NOT changed that drastically in the past year. Businesses and restaurants have closed and new ones have opened in their place. People have come, people have left. No major development has occured, though plans are in place for some major resort/casino's within the next few years. Development of shops and buildings in Frederiksted is on the rise. Trash cans have been placed around Christiansted. Tourist boats still haven't returned. The social and economic problems have not made any drastic changes for the good or worse. There is a new governor in place, but it is too early to tell whether or not they will create positve change.
If you visited a year ago, or even 3 years ago, on your next trip, you will not be terribly suprised by any drastic changes. Of course, just visting is different than living. But there are many transplants who manage to be very happy living here and yet do not stick their heads in the sand regarding social and economic change.
Good luck with everything!
Amen, Jane and Betty...and Cruzan, you are correct - nothing has changed dramatically....there are still not enough jobs, the schools are poor, and the rich get richer and the poor don't get richer unless they sell off their homestead only to find they can't afford another one....and then what? Move stateside, to a way of life that is as confusing to someone born and raised on the island as it can be to those who move from stateside and DON'T actually live in the million dollar mansions behind their brick and wrought iron wall and try to call themselves Crucians? There are a lot of PLANS for things to happen - as a vacation spot, okay, I can see that - but if you will recall, STX at one time had a number of factories - it cost too much to get goods in and out and slowly but surely every business pulled out....only time will tell if the plans in the works now will succeed, or even make it through all the hoops that need to be jumped through to get things going. The dream is still a long ways off in the making.
I will speak this little piece and then slink back under my stateside rock, since obviously I have nothing to contribute even though I attempted to establish a life on STX.......parts of establishing residency are going to be tough. Count on it...but only you will know if it suits you. Stay away from the blue water and the pretty drinks with little colored umbrellas. It has only a fraction to do with your daily life on island. Pay attention to the groups of young men on the corner in the middle of the day - it means they don't have a job and probably no prospects of getting one. Pay attention to the guy on the corner panhandling and showing his bullet wound - it means he doesn't have a job either. Pay attention to the guy selling coconuts or palm trees out of the back of his truck - look closely and you will see he has much more to sell, and it ain't no coconut.....but at least I suppose he has a job. Go to the hospital - there's an eye opener. Call the police department and see how many hours it takes you to get a response. Unemployment and poor education are what is dragging STX down - and the bureaucrats wring their hands but undermine any attempt to bring the island into the 20th century (and no, that is not a typo)......has anyone ever considered the Crucians probably just don't want transplants there, particuarly the ones that have NO respect for a history and way of life most of us don't understand and act as if the island is their own personal trash dump/amusement park?
Islander, you have removed Ed's post regarding the burning, the statue, and the mural, which in my mind was a historical perspective on the islands. Gotta admit - the statue in F'sted isn't a big deal.....that mural in a government building? Puh-leez.....the history was horrible, anyone who does their homework knows that - but that would be like putting up a picture of slaves picking cotton in a post office in Mississippi. I'm sorry, inflammatory is just that - and we're all supposed to be so politically correct and not even mention that period of time because someone's going to get offended. Here we sit stateside where there's a dispute about the Confederate flag....oh, for Pete's sake....it's history, people.....but we don't all fly the Confederate flag because we don't want to offend our black neighbors and friends. Okay, I've got that - but I, for one, WAS offended at the post office.....it is a very angry picture and made me feel that I was somehow to blame for the anger represented in that picture...- and hey, guess what? I wasn't around then, didn't do anything, don't know anyone who did anything, am not the descendent of anyone who did anything.....but when I went to the F'sted post office I was intimidated. But everyone wants to protect that mural under the guise of history....there's enough history on that island without having that thing hanging up there. Anger breeds anger.....and boredom, no purpose, and anger is a lethal combination.
Joy and Kel, I hope you get to read this before it gets jerked....it surely will. Call me whatever you will, but I'm NOT the only one of you who feels the same way - but I'm just a cranky old lady who doesn't mind saying so anymore. St. Croix is a beautiful place to visit and to live, but the growing pains it is going through right now is a sad indicator of how things will most likely be until the whole infrastructure changes.....
Thank you all for your honest and open opinions. Like I have said before, we are not looking for a paradise. We just want to know what we are going to find when we do our pmv. We are still in the planning stage. I am the type of person that likes to know about where I am going and what I may be facing.
We currently live in a northern suburb of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. We haven't visited St. Croix yet, but we have been to St. Thomas a few times. We are looking for a slower pace of life, and we have simple needs. We want to work and enjoy ourselves. We are frustrated with the hurried pace of life here and all the stress involved with not having any time to enjoy life.
We are hoping to find some of these things in St. Croix. Thank you for honest opinions, again.
Joy & Kel
hi joy and kel, we bought a house in 2000 and moved here in 2001 from minneapolis and have never looked back or regretted the decision, we started coming to the island in 1994 for a vacation and ended up here 3 or 4 times a year always staying in f'sted, I not my partner decided it was time to move here but i said i would never live here as a renter, we found a great agent through a friend she showed us 3 properties one on the east end one at gentle winds and one in lavallee up in the cane bay area, that was the one we chose, i'm not sure what i'm trying to say and i'm rambling on, but we have never regretted moving here.
Thank you halawest for your post. Please tell us what you have found to be the hardest when you moved to St. Croix. We have made up our mind that this is what we are going do. But any help that we can get, especially from some form Minnesotan's, would be so much help. Moving companies, moving the car and what we should really take with us. Was it hard for you to adjust to the life style in St. Croix. What was the hardest.
For your shipping, use Flemming. Just don't let Nationwide move your car to FL.
Please tell me more about Flemming. That is a name that I have not heard of yet.
Flemming Transport, 340-778-9160.
they are down by the airport.
Ric and I moved from Kentucky 3 1/2 years ago. We like it a lot and plan to stay indefinitely. But as you've heard above, STX is not for everyone. My advice is to come down with personal property only and rent for 6 months or a year. You'll know by then if ilsand living is for you.
Another thing that has been said hundreds of times and is TRUE. If you have adequate $$$ and few "encumbrences" (illness, children, pets, special needs of any kind) you will do better.
How well a new arrival does in the islands depends almost entirely on their own attitude and expectations. If you are open to new experiences and don't see that something that is "different" is automatically "bad", that's a good start. If you expect that life here will be a never ending vacation, you will be disappointed. However, you CAN have mini-vacations at the end of each workday or on your days off. You don't have to wait all year to afford a trip to the tropics to hang out on a beach for a few hours. Having this built in stress relief mechanism is a big plus that helps many people to enjoy the rest of their lives here even if they are working multiple part time jobs to make ends meet.
St. Croix is just another place to live that has better weather than where most of us came from. We don't have any significant traffic jams and you won't be judged for the kind of car you drive or be expected to have a designer wardrobe. There are fewer career options but many people live on a lower income despite higher consumer prices simply by not consuming the same quantity of goods they did on the mainland. You find you can live without lots of "things" and that a simpler life is sometimes less stressful.
Most people who live here aren't trying to "keep up with the Joneses" and that does give you the chance to slow down the pace of life. Life here is full and busy, but your social calendar is not always on a set schedule. Social activities just evolve as you go through your day. Dropping by your favorite beach bar after work or hanging out on the beach or at Buck Island on the weekends doesn't require you to be there at a specific time, which takes a lot of the stress away from trying to fit too many things into your day.
Come prepared with the knowledge that customer service as it exists on the mainland is NOT what you will find on the island on a regular basis. It's not an inherent fault in the workers, either; it's a result of cultural differences. Getting frustrated or angry won't help. Expecting it to change to what you want it to be isn't realistic in the near future. A line in "Don't Stop the Carnival" helps to put it into perspective: It isn't that the West Indian is resistant to change... it's just that he isn't inclined to believe in it. (I may not have that exactly as written, but it's the gist of it.)
Real estate prices have risen significantly over the past two years and rental rates have also risen to match. You may get sticker shock when you start pricing a rental or a property to purchase. Even so, real estate on St. Croix is still less expensive than most other islands in the Caribbean. Maybe you don't intend ever to purchase a property here and will rent forever. If you do have an interest in a property purchase someday, I'd strongly encourage you to talk to a mortgage broker NOW about whether you should consider buying before making the move or sometime later. Many people on this website will encourage you to wait 6 months to a year to be sure you like living here before buying. I understand why they make that recommendation since many people move back to the mainland when they find island life isn't what they expected. I've also seen many people who stay learn they are unable to purchase a property after they have been here for a year due to a combination of rising prices and the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a mortgage after moving until you have been in the same line of work on the island for at least two years. Those same people could often have easily qualified for a mortgage before moving and gotten into a property at a lower price than they find a year later. Then they say that if they had only known they couldn't get a mortgage after moving that they would have bought ahead of their move. Talking to a mortgage broker about factors that affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage before or after moving is good information to get. Everyone's financial situation is a bit different, so some people are fine to wait a year while others are not.
I personally didn't find it all that difficult to adjust to living on St. Croix after a lifetime in Oregon and Washington. I'd lived in small towns and huge cities and suburbs with never ending traffic jams. I love not spending 3-4 hours of my day sitting in traffic. I've found it much easier here to meet new people and develop a circle of friends and acquaintances to hang out with than when I moved to new towns in Washington. Our menu doesn't include a few things I used to cook due to unavailability of some of the ingredients but we've added a few new things from here. I love waking up to temperatures in the 80's every day of the year. I love not having a sinus condition or a sore throat that lasts most of the year. I love not feeling depressed and in hibernation mode from months and months of gray murky skies. I love it that even when it rains I can wear shorts and sandals and feel comfortable.
Several people have mentioned that the island is going through growing pains. I think that's a good thing since when something stops growing it begins to die. The island was somewhat stagnant in its growth process for many years or was just trying to recover some of what it previously had achieved prior to Hugo. Now there is a new escalation in development efforts on the island and that will be met with a mixture of welcome and resistance. Change is usually slow to get started in this kind of environment, but once underway it achieves momentum. Hopefully it won't get going so strong and so fast that it can't put on the brakes when the time is right.
If a few new resorts do get built and tourism increases, the upswing in the economy of the island will surely begin to bring about its own kind of change. The current unemployment rate is high and that may be brought down to a reasonable level by all the new jobs that construction brings followed by jobs at the new businesses and other businesses that will open to cater to additional tourists. Prosperity may bring changes that nothing else has been able to inspire. Too many islanders don't get a quality education and I'd sure like to see education become more important to the local population. Maybe if the island can develop the incentive of good jobs and careers we will see an increase in high school graduates and college graduates among the local population. None of this happens overnight... but it has to start somewhere. As the gap between the Haves and the Have Nots lessens, that usually brings a drop in crime rates. It's a chain reaction. i.e.: Develop the island enough to increase prosperity for the local population without burying the culture and lifestyle... growing prosperity can stimulate educational opportunities... a better educated work force becomes more affluent... those who have food on the table and a better standard of living than they had previously are less likely to commit or accept the kinds of criminal activities that currently occur. Change is scary to most people and yet change is inevitable.
Jane was right IMHO in her analysis that most of the tension on the island is financially motivated more than racially. Lowering the number of island residents living below the poverty line can only be a positive change... and that can only come about with new opportunities for jobs. Many locals object categorically to development of any kind, presumably out of the natural fear of change that is normal to everyone. The reality is that without the developoment of new jobs and industry on the island, things will only get worse, not better.
So if you do move to St. Croix, come with the understanding that there will likely be many changes to the island over the next couple of decades. Crucians are likely to hold onto much of their culture even through the changes that will come, whether through pride or sheer obstinacy. St. Croix is often referred to as the "red-headed step-child" of the USVI and has in many ways come to embrace that black sheep identity to the point that Crucians may well resist a rise in their own prosperity to maintain their anger towards the government about how differently they are treated than St. Thomas. If you have only visited St. Thomas in the past, St. Croix is a very different kind of island; so you will likely be surprised by what you find when you visit here. We have only a fraction of the tourism that St. Thomas has, so we don't have their traffic and we also don't have much shopping. There are lots of activities, but not so many guided tours and excursions. St. Croix is currently more of a do-it-yourself island when it comes to entertainment.
When you are reading Moving Stories written by people who have left the island, do keep in perspective that people are very vocal about complaining when they don't like something but they don't always bother speaking up when they are happy about something. There are definitely people who live here a short time and go back to the mainland. There are also a lot of people who come here and stay. People who leave often (but not always) want to blame the island for the fact that it didn't live up to their fantasies. People who stay often arrived with reasonable expectations and with a flexible mind about what they would find here. Not everyone is cut out for small town living. Not everyone is able to make a new life thousands of miles from what they have always known and their family and friends. Some people will be unhappy and full of complaints no matter where they live. If for you life is an adventure and you allow it to unfold, taking pleasure in simple things where you find them, then island life might be right for you. Best of luck with your PMV!!
Thank you so very much for your comments. I think that what you have said is exactly what I felt in my heart. St. Croix does sound like what I am looking for. I do like small town living, I have done that most of my life. I do look at life as an adventure, and welcome change. I don't expect the move to be easy, but rather look at it as a new experience. I am looking forward to the pre-move visit. I just want to learn as much as I can prior to the visit.
Thank you again for your honest comments.
Joy - It sounds like you have the outlook that makes for a more positive introduction to the island. Let me know when you book your dates. I'd enjoy meeting you while you are here and could give you a tour of the island if you'd like. We may even be able to work in a trip out to Buck Island on our sailboat to show you some of the extra pleasures that island life has to offer. 😉
Thank you for the invitation. I have written your name down in my notes. I have just put a new post on about the employment issue. Do you have any ideas where I could maybe find some real information or leads for employment?
Thank You again
Joy & Kel
Could Alexandra's above post be kept permanently visible to people who ask about the St Croix? It is very true, and remains honest without painting such a bleak picture of island life as other posts have done. Perhaps it takes a mainlander with her type of outlook to enjoy living on the big island? I feel that she has really hit the nail on the head in terms of reflecting the outlooks of many mainlanders I know who are extremely happy with their life on STX. From the people I know, happy transplants seem to significantly outnumber unhappy transplants, out west and east. The happy ones just don't seem to post on this board alot... 🙂
I'm sure that we will drive our car to Miami ourselves, thanks for the tip
The unhappy ones tend to leave and not post on this board.....All I know in my experience alot more people leave then stay. All of the poeple I met that were new transplants at the same time I was have all returned to the mainland. Not trying to rain on the island living is so great and everyone will like it cruzan but its a different culture here and people think that by moving here they're life will magicaly slow down and become better. Whereas the truth is alot of mainlanders find the culture here a little abrasive and unwelcoming. Add to that unemployement can be very hard to find and crime is worse here then any small town I have ever lived in and there is no decent justice system. Getting anything done here is usually an up hill battle. When you have to go to 2 grocery stores and kmart just to complete your grocery shopping for the week, even the simple things are harder here. You definitely have to be a less is more person....REALLY REALLY be ready to accept things as they are and to make do. Theres plenty to do during the day but at nite all you have are restaurants and bars.
Monday nights and Tuesday nights there is Triva. Mostly an older group, but everyonr is welcome.
Which are held at bars. Doesnt really feel much different to me then any other night, other then people are playing board games. But at least it breaks up the routine i guess.