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A Page From The USVI Book

A Page From The USVI Book Editorial The Caribbean has a culture of turning a blind eye and a loud mouth to corruption in public office. Every election campaign in our small islands the allegations of abuse in every corner of governments intensifies. We hear of sweetheart contracts given to friends and family members, kickbacks from real estate and capital project deals. We hear of the overpaying for legal fees, and under paying of customs duties and other taxes. And then there are the abuse of office infarctions that may not involve misappropriation or misuse of public funds but some downright underhanded, shady, possibly illegal and certainly immoral, goings-on that set the radio talk shows on fire. Some of the scandals even involve sex and blatant constitutional breaches. When administrations change that is when officials and others’ dirty laundry get aired. St. Kitts and Nevis has had several Commissions of Inquiry and some interesting things have come to light. Some persons have never fully recovered from the scandals while others still strut around untouched. The laws of the US Virgin Islands mirror those of the US to some extent, while maintaining legislation specific to the three islands, more reflective of Caribbean/British law. The territory differs vastly from its British law neighbors however, when it comes to going after corrupt officials. Time and time again we see high ranking officials, from commissioners in government agencies, hospital execs, Senators, to even Governors being hauled before the courts in alleged wrongdoings. Most recently the former governor of the USVI has been charged with embezzlement for allegedly using money meant to fix roads on St. Thomas to renovate his personal home. A former Finance official was charged right alongside him for his alleged role in the fraud. In St. Kitts and Nevis there is only talk. There is proof of these wrongdoings in the Federation, facts and figures being spouted. Yet not one person is ever held accountable for these acts of corruption in high office. Will the Unity government make examples of those they claim gouged the government treasury to enrich political cohorts? Will former Ministers and officials be charged for making bad deals that cheated the people out of tax payers money or government revenue? Will shady deals be reversed or the guilty persons made to compensate the government? The government of the day campaigned on good governance and putting an end to public corruption. They need to keep their hands clean and bring down the hammer on the ones that went before them who did not.

Editor :