Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Casino alternatives better for locals
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300919/00078
 Material Information
Title: Casino alternatives better for locals
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: March 3, 1995
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00078
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Casino alternatives better for locals


Last month, I attended the casi
no gambling public hearing at
Arthur A. Richards Junior High
School. Even tough I was teaching
a class that nigh at the University
of the Virgin Islands. I made it my
business to attend the bearing.
I believe the issue of gambling
in the Virgin Isnds-prticularly
on St oix- is an important oe
that affects everyone, whether you
are for or against it To my srmpise,
when I got to the hearing, there
were very few local people attend-
ing the public bearing. The majority
of th people there were white con-
tinntals Most people in this crowd
were rude to the senators as they
tried to codoct the hearing
At the haring many people es-
tified for and against gambling casi
nos to stimulate the SL Coix econ-
omy. I testified around 2 in the
morning. Personally, I am against
casino gambling. But if the bill is
passed, it must protect the interests
of the people in these islands.
Too often, the masses of the
people lose out whenever some big
development takes place that is
billed as a boost to the economy.
Believe m the masses of the peo-
ple in these islands do not control
the economy.
So then, the question should be
asked, Gambling casinos for
whom?
At this hearing, I presented Ihree
alternatives which I think can help
stimulate the St. Croix economy:
the development of a viable agricul
lure industry, a sea farm park and a


spon complex.
Historically, the Virgin Islands'
economy has always fluctuated.
During most of the 800s the trend
in economic activities in the Virgin
Islands was upward. This growth,
however, was based partly on tem-
porary factors. Of significance were
the exhaustive uses of both human
and natural resources
Changes in extnal factors also
affected the Virgin Islands econo-
my. he rapid commercial develop-
meat of other Western countries
reduced emphasis on some types of
trade which were important to these
islands' economy. The Virgin
Islands declined a transshipping
and ship-receiving port.
The market fo gar su cane lso
declined and because of these and
other changes the local economy
began to decline during the last half
of the 19th century. In the 1960s.
then-Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky was
cofroned with the problem of how
to stimulate the St Coix economy.
There was talk about phasing out
the sugar ane industry and moving
toward light industries.
By 1966. the sugar cane industry
was phased out. In its place, the
Hess Oil refinery and Harvey Alu-
minum Corp. had arrived to change
St. Croix forever from an agricul-
turl society to an industrial one.
Back then many people, especially
politicians, thought that this was the
rightdecision.
Today. we all know the history
of these two factories on the
souhshore of St. Croix. Nonethe-


Davis
Our



less, it is hard to believe that agri-
culture, once the most important
sector of the Virgin Islands econo-
my, should now be the most
neglected. The development of a
viable agricultural industry would
have a major impact on employ-
ment on St. Croix. I am talking
about everything from planting and
m ufacturing to distribution.
here are many reasons why we
should revitalize the agriculture
industry with some sense of urgen-
cy. Certainly among them is the
dependence of impoted food. The
high cost of freight is one reason for
our high food prices. The importa
don of food drains o our economy
of needed capital but also holds the
potential of a serious crisis if com-
munications with the mainland
were ever disrupted.
As a people, we can no longer
remain complacent. The develop-
ment of agriculture is vital for eo.-
nomical development even though
some people would have you
believe differently.
Another alternative is creating a
sea farm park on SL Croix which
has tremendous potential to
enhance the economy by increasing
the tourist potential, by enhancing


the University of the Virgin Isands
stature, and by expanding the fish-
ees industry.
Dr. James E Rakocy, a research
aquaculturist at the University of
the Virgin Islands Agricultural
Experiment Station, said marine
parks have been established in the
British Virgin Islands, Saba and S
Luci A sea fm park on S. Croix
would be a research facility and a
tourist attraction which also would
foster the awareness and apprecia-
tion for the marine environment
among visitors and local people,
especially our youth
It could produce fish which are
rare in ou coastal waters, in turn
helping our fisheries industry. The
disappearance of highly important
fish species such as grouper, snap-
per and paot sh can be stopped
by hatching more of these fish in
this system and releasing them bck
in our marine environment.
The spot complex is another
economic alternative for SL Croix.
We have the imae to aract ath-
letes from all over the world and
also to develop our own athletes
here at home. This complex could
be used as a convention center.
hosting the Olympic game. tcs
So when we talk about develop-
ment. we should talk about eco-
nomic development fr everyone.

Olase Davis, who holds a ms
ter ofsience degree in range man-
agement and fory ecology, is a
St. Croix ecoloist, acivist and
writer.




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