Title: State of the Territory message of Governor ... to the ... Legislature of the Virgin Islands
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 Material Information
Title: State of the Territory message of Governor ... to the ... Legislature of the Virgin Islands
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Virgin Islands of the United States -- Governor
Publisher: s.n.,
s.n.
Place of Publication: St. Thomas, V.I.?
Publication Date: 1970
Frequency: annual
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Social conditions -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States Virgin Islands
 Notes
General Note: Description based on: 7th, regular session 1968 (Jan. 22, 1968); title from caption.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091731
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 18954781
lccn - 88645079

Full Text






STATE OF THE TERRITORY MESSAGE
OF
GOVERNOR MELVIN H. EVANS
TO THE
EIGHTH LEGISLATURE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

REGULAR SESSION, 1970

January 12, 1970





Mr. President, Honorable Members of the Eighth Legislature:

I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today

to deliver this message on the state of this Territory. I need not remind

anyone that this is my first such message.

At the outset, let me emphasize that the state of any area is a

complex matter and to be truly presented and understood must be considered

in its various facets.

Economically, the rapid rate of growth which these islands have

experienced for the past decade has continued. All of the indices of

growth confirm this. Revenues are up 9.37 million dollars or 19.2 per cent

over last calendar year. The general economic outlook continues good.

There are, however, some soft spots and a few warning lights appearing.

Last year the Virgin Islands played host to 1,122,312 visitors, up 305,102

or 37 per cent over the previous year; but reports from the hotel industries

suggested a less than full summer ahead. We must, of course, be aware

of the intense competition in this area, the competition coming not only












from other Caribbean islands but from Europe where the low air fares

and package deals have made it very attractive to go. The pent up

demand for European travel, built up summer before last when foreign

travel was discouraged, exploded this past summer in travel to Europe

and away from the Caribbean and this phenomenon seems to be con-

tinuing this coming summer,.

Since a great portion of th.e revenues we receive is influ-

enced by the Federal tax structure, we look with concern at the changes

in the tax structure considered this past session of Congress. Assum-

ing the Bill as finally passed by the Congress as being the final Bill,

we are at present calculating what effect the changes in such areas as

exemptions etc, will have,

However, the number of permits for new construction and other

indices continue to look good There is no question that the attempts

to control inflation which have included a tightening of the money market

have been felt here especially in such areas as private home construct on

necessitating home mortgages, but there are signs on the national scene

that there is an easing of this situation and, of course, the effect will

be felt here also.

The tourists who visited these islands last year spent an esti-

mated $112,268,000; up $11,373,000 over the previous year. The con-

tinued expansion of the cruise ship schedule and the advent of the







-3-


Boeing 747 into service on the New York-Puerto Rico run in the immediate

future should have a very salutary effect on this picture.

Recent proposals to the President to eliminate the system of oil

import quotas in favor of a selective tariff structure are being studied

to see what effect this would have on our petrochemical industry which,

at present, enjoys an import quota.

The per capital income has increased from $2100 to $2200,

making the Virgin Islands still among the highest in the Caribbean. It

is important to note, however, that this represents less than a five

per cent increase while the cost of living has increased more than five

per cent.

In the interest of all of our people I am immediately establishing

a Governor's Committee on Consumer Interests. President Nixon has

sent his advisor on consumer interests to advise me and the committee.

She is here with me now -- Mrs. Virginia Knauer and her assistant,

Miss Elizabeth Hanford. I shall refer to this again.

One of the areas of most concern at the present time is the

condition of our roads. Even though the rainfall this past year has been

heavier than usual with corresponding effect on the roads, it is quite

obvious that the present deplorable condition of the roads is a matter

of long standing, becoming worse. These roads were not constructed

for the volume of weight of traffic which now use them. Their con-

struction, for the most part, with inadequate drains, makes them easily











destroyed by rainfall. Patching must be, and is being done but the roads

need thorough engineering studies if they are really to be better.

The axle weight of many of the vehicles which use the roads

is often excessive and this is why I submitted to the Legislature a bill

to limit such weight. I am again submitting such a bill and hope it

will receive favorable consideration.

In all frankness, I must point out that the present system of

appropriation for roads is wasteful and relatively unproductive. This

year almost $3,000,000 will be spent for a jumble of pieces of roads.

The individual appropriations are unrealistic, usually too low to do

the job and result in waste. I recognize fully the political effect of

this method but I entreat you to consider the overall public good in

writing a broader road appropriation bill.

I am pleased to report that the Secretary of Transportation has

sent to the Congress a report on the Virgin Islands highway system.

The Secretary visited these islands, saw the roads at first hand, and

discussed the matter at length with me. Their report to the Congress

envisions Federal assistance chiefly in the form of technical and with

financial help to follow. It will undoubtedly help us to improve our

roads but we cannot escape the responsibility for our main road system.

It is really disconcerting to discover, for example, that with all the

miles of roads to maintain the Government does not even own its own

asphalt plant.











Probably the main reason for the failute of the roads is the

lack of good engineering in planning and building the roads, and it is

precisely this aspect that is being studied now to make sure that the

roads will stand up better.

Department of Social Welfare

The Department of Social Welfare has undergone some

reorganization. It has been possible during the first six months of

this fiscal year for one of the new divisions to strengthen its program

of surplus food distribution, expand the home delivered meals program

to St. Croix and to effect better cooperation with the Health Department

in improving services under the Medical Assistance Program. The

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation was transferred to this Department

in November for more efficient operation.

Civil Defense

The Office of Civil Defenses has intensified its operations

and has done yeoman service in emergencies created by heavy rainfall

during the past year. A major weakness involving communications was

alleviated with the purchase of mobile radio equipment to provide

communication in times of emergency. These have already provided their

worth and when the system is completed the entire Virgin Islands and

the neighboring British Virgin Islands will be connected in one system

for the mutual benefit.











Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs

The Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs is the

newest of the Executive Department and administers the funds produced

by the oil royalty. It is charged with the acquisition and development

of recreational facilities, conservation and beautification of the natural

environment, operation and maintenance of recreation facilities and

parks, sports promotion and development, libraries and museums, and

culture and the arts.

Recognizing the great need for recreational facilities, it has

been engaged in acquiring and developing recreational areas. Many

areas have been cleared and graded to permit immediate use pending

the development of permanent facilities. These areas include but are

not limited to Smith Bay, Estate Tutu, Estate Whim, Estate Profit,

Estate Nadir, and the Altona Laggon.

Programs involving bringing professional athletic teams here,

both for general entertainment and also to improve the quality of local

participation have been underway.

In the areas of libraries and museums, however, the need is

overwhelming. The library in Christiansted is,frankly speaking, a

disgrace both in size and physical condition, and credit must be given

to the people who work there under those conditions. Since library

facilities are an integral part of the education process, top priority

must be given to developing adequate library facilities in all the three

islands.











The decision to use the available oil royalty funds to

combat pollution whichwould certainly destroy the environment

is a natural one and will bring great results.

Department of Housing and Community Renewal

Over the past it has been repeatedly stated that housing was

the number one problem in the Virgin Islands. I have no quarrel with

that statement except that there are several number one problems.

Additionally, it is necessary to state frankly that thousands of housing

units have been built over the past decade. What must also be stated

quite frankly is that the slums and substandard areas are as vast and

as bad as ever -- in fact, much worse. Therefore, our evaluation

of how we are meeting the housing needs must not take the form of

a recounting of how many units we have built but what magnitude of

problems still remain.

It has become painfully obvious that we have been losing

ground in the housing race. Not only is good housing usually difficult

if not impossible to find, but any housing available is usually priced

so high as to work a hardship not only on the general public but

particularly so on those people who we find it necessary to bring in to

perform essential services such as nurses, teachers, technicians, etc.,

to the point where many are forced to give up and leave. Additionally,

a chief justification for the increase in wages constantly being







-8-


demanded has been the high cost of housing. This problem involves

not only the low income group but also the middle income families,

sometimes to a greater degree since they are not eligible for low

cost federally assisted housing. The adverse effects of this housing

situation on the overall life of the community have been already

indicated.

At this time the Government has almost 3,000 housing units

either under construction or in advanced planning stages. These would

house between 12,000 and 15,000 people. In addition, numerous

projects involving turn-key procedure are actively being sought and

the number of housing units will increase. However, it is apparent

even now that all this will be insufficient to supply the needs of those

now here and, additionally, the needs of the newcomers. Thus, the

Government is forced to solicit and require the assistance of the private

sector in meeting these needs. There will be no rash proposals to

work hardships on people, but action must be taken now to bring under

control this condition which is a powder keg of trouble. We don't

know how long the fuse is.

The Department of Housing andCommunity Renewal has a total

of 460 emergency housing units. During the past six months--30 were

completed in St. Thomas and 26 units, 98 per cent,completed in St. Croix.

Mobile homes, prefabricated homes, conventional homes are







-9-


all being obtained or built. Also, attention is being given to

many of the problems which delayed occupancy in some of these projects,

problems caused by failure to provide water, sewage disposal, sidewalks,

power, etc. Regrettably, this poor planning and implementation have

resulted in most unfortunate delays.

The business and commercial interests, whose very existence

depends on an adequate supply of labor and in whose interests it is to have

proper and decent housing for its employees, must become more involved

in this problem if it is to be solved. Since all understand the problem,

all must work together.

Department of Agriculture

In the field of Agriculture the time has come for a very serious

reappraisal of the role of the Department of Agriculture. Gone are the

days of the sugar cane fields. The cost of land, the scarcity and

cost of labor, the eccentricities of the rainfall, the small size of the

islands, all operate against agriculture as it used to be. But a careful

review and study of the problem shows that there is a very definite role,

although somewhat altered for this department.

In the first place there is need to encourage and expand the

dairy industry to ensure a good supply of fresh milk to the communities,

improving the quality of the herds, fostering improved methods of pro-

ducing the milk, assisting the dairy farmer with the many problems of

feeding and providing veterinary services must be fostered and expanded.







-10-


While large scale agriculture may not be feasible for

the reasons cited above, fruit production using small areas of land

such as yards and other small and otherwise useless areas to produce

fruit crop must be developed. After the initial planting and early

care, the attention needed by these trees is small as compared to

other crops. The present scarcity and high cost of all types of

fruit demonstrate the need for this type of program. The citrus

program in Florida is an example, although this does not imply

one way or other that citrus itself will do well here.

For many years I have been concerned over the high

mongoose population in the Virgin Islands, especially St.Croix.

Apart from the adverse effect which these animals have on other

types of wildlife and domestic animals, they constitute a potential

pool of rabies. We have been fortunate and blessed with the

absence of this dread disease from these islands but we are no longer

isolated and the best precautions taken to prevent its introduction

may at some time fail. Such an unfortunate occurrence would be a

disaster. Thus, this predatory pest must be controlled for economic

as well as health reasons. While on this subject note must also be

made of an obvious increase in the rat population in the towns.

What the reason--and there may be many--we are studying the steps

to be taken to meet this problem.







-11-


We are pleased that the efforts to control the Bont Tick

in St. Croix and the screwworm in St. Thomas have both been very

successful despite the natural tendencies of both these conditions

to spread like wild fire. Surveillance and controls will be continued

for some time with some selective relaxation of restrictions as the

conditions warrant. No cases of screwworm have been reported from

St. Croix, and on St. Croix only one case of Bont Tick has been found

recently with negative results from the mongoose and deer examined.

This bodes well.

Department of Health

The general health of these islands is excellent. The long

emphasis on public health measures has paid off so that the vital

indices are excellent. It is noteworthy that foresight and energy in

eliminating the aedes egypti mosquito prevented these islands from

having dengue fever when there was an epidemic in the neighboring

islands. Similarly, the implementation of immunization programs

protected us from the last big epidemic of polio.

But as we look around there is still so much to do. In

the area of public health our lack of a complete potable system and

the use of nonpotable water in homes poses a constant threaaC. The

incompleteness of the sewage system poses another threat to our

health and its discharge into our harbor causes pollution of the







-12-


gravest kind. Examination has revealed that the present system

as a result of long continued use of salt water is in a condition

perilously close to collapse. The continued necessity for using

archaic and unsanitary means for human waste disposal offends

not only the esthetics but poses another health danger.

Additionally, the expense of operating this 18th Century program at

20th Century rates has become significant. The correction of these

problems is long overdue and must be accomplished by a proper

establishment of priorities. This we have now done.

I am pleased to inform you that the working drawings and

specifications for certain phases of the work of putting in a

completely new and adequate sewer system have been completed and

bids will be invited in the immediate future. The money has been

made available and its release by the Secretary of the Interior is

being awaited. The working drawings and specifications for the other

phases of the work are expected in the next few months and bids will

be invited immediately thereafter. The entire project is estimated to

cost about fifteen million dollars with the cost split approximately

55 per cent to 45 per cent between the Federal and local governments.

I was pleased to be able to announce a few days ago that the Federal

grant of 1.9 million dollars for part of the project had been approved

and sent to the Secretary for his signature. I had been successful in







-13-


convincing the Secretary that pollution control is an integral part

of conservation and qualified for the use of conservation funds. I

might add,parenthetically, that the Secretary did not need much persuasion.

These projects, however, are huge projects and the

construction time is estimated to be between two and three years.

It is regrettable that these programs were not implemented years

ago. At any rate, when these projects are completed, our harbors

will again become clean.

I am also pleased to announce that a determined effort

during the past few months has practically succeeded in eliminating

the previously mentioned method of human waste disposal from the

entire island of St. Croix. The town of Frederiksted had been able

to discontinue this practice for some time and during the past few

months vigorous work on Christiansted has just about succeeded.

All property in Christiansted is now within connecting distance to

water and sewer lines. Vigorous attention is now being directed to

bring about this same result in Charlotte Amalie. I am aware of the

problems involved especially in serving superficiary homes but the

time has come when the public good must be the overriding factor.

We believe we shall be able to do this.

The area of hospital care is another matter. Even though our

hospitals are not as old as hospitals go (they were built in 1958),






-14-


they were built for a population less than one third of the population

they serve now. Not only has the permanent and bonded labor

population increased, but a percentage of our visitors always need

medical care. That is why when I was connected with the Health

Department so much time and effort was directed toward the planning

of the new health complexes. What appeared as a grandiose plan

then almost seems to be modest now. As is common knowledge, the

proposed cost of building these facilities was greatly in excess of the

estimated cost and far more than could be funded. A review of the

matter revealed that while certain changes could be made to reduce

cost without any serious adverse effect on the centers, this was

relatively small and the main reason for the high bed cost seems to

have been some uncertainty over the details of financing the

construction. Certainly a project of this magnitude should have

retained the interest of numerous construction firms instead of

ending with only one firm making an offer. Because of the problems

of financing and the daily increase in cost due to the inflation of

construction costs, attention was directed to all possible ways of

financing. One promising avenue being explored is that of a turn-key

proposal with a lease purchase arrangement. Preliminary discussions

have occurred and we are awaiting definite proposals which I hope to

be able to present to you in the near future.







-15-


In the meanwhile, as the pressing need for more medical

facilities intensifies, I requested, and the Legislature passed funds

to enlarge the present facilities for interim use. You may be assured

that this construction will not only be pushed, but that the planning

is such that there will be full utilization potential for these facilities

regardless of what their assigned use will be later.

There has been, however, a very serious problem in the

operation of the accounting and billing sections of the hospitals.

With the advent of medicare and medicaid in the later part of 1966,

demands for cost accounting were made by these programs as the basis

for reimbursement to the hospitals. The hospitals have been unable

to provide the basis for its services and furthermore fell woefully

behind in its billing. As a result, hundreds of thousands of dollars

which could and should have been billed and collected, have been

lost. At one time, billing was almost a year behind, but vigorous

work has closed the gap somewhat. At any rate, this was the reason

why I requested, and the Legislature granted, an appropriation of

$50,000 to set up a modern cost accounting and billing service.

The proper functioning of this service will result in a great increase

in the earning power of the hospitals and prevent our taxpayers from

subsidizing the insurance carriers and Federal agencies for medical

care.







-16-


At this point, I would like to inject that I am hopeful that the

Health Insurance Bill will be passed, as it will be submitted again this

time, and that private industry will be encouraged to provide hospital

benefits for its workers so that the percentage of bills collected by

our hospitals would increase as they should be.

However, a new and completely different approach toward

the billing and paying of medical fees is needed. The cost of hospital

care over the country is increasing at the rate of 9 to 11 per cent

per year. The various third party carriers such as Blue Cross and the

other companies recognize this and take proper steps to meet it. To

have fixed fees year in, year out, with no regard to actual costs not

only places an unreasonable burden on the taxpayer who must sub-

sidize the care by supplying the difference but it also allows a vast

amount of money which should be collected from the carriers and

Federal agencies to be lost because there is no legal way of assign-

ing true costs.

Department of Public Safety

As is true in general throughout the country, especially

so in changing communities, there has been an actual increase in crime.

The increase, however, must be considered on the base of a population

which has been more than doubled. This was to be expected. There

has been a strengthening of the police force and an increase

in mobility by providing motor scooters for patrol in the towns.

Increase e in patrol of high hazard areas and the operation of a







-17-


plain clothes squad since mid-November have definitely reduced

the incidence of violent crime over the past six months. The

Investigation Bureau has also reported that with the exception of

burglaries, most of the major crimes resulted in the arrest of the

perpetrators. The record is not nearly so good. However, in

burglaries, robberies and larceny, and further strengthening of the

force with emphasis on the investigative force is planned.

In-service-training is being intensified and recruitment

efforts increased. Shortly after assuming office, I took the position

that the patrolmen were underpaid in relation to their responsibilities.

We have this month increased the pay of the lower ranks and, hope-

fully, we shall be able to attract and hold the men better as well

as improve the morale.

The report of the International Chiefs of Police has been

studied and is being implemented stepwise. There is serious

consideration being given to proposals for extensive reorganization

of this service. As is true, generally, over the country there is the

constant need to get the police to be closer to the people to open up

better channels of communication and to develop better cooperation

between the force and the people it serves.

There should be no hysteria over an actual increase in crime.

Rather, the causes must be ferretted out and removed. Not only do we





-18-


have more people than we did before, but the causes of crime are

everywhere around us. Inadequate housing with its disastrous

effect on family life, inadequate educational facilities, with each

juvenile who is out of school a prime candidate for getting into

trouble, inadequate recreational facilities, all contribute to this

problem. We are not unaware of the beginning of a serious drug

problem here and much study and effort toward prevention and

control are being expanded. Again, there should be no surprise

at the spread of this problem here. It is reliably estimated that 50

per cent of all college students in the United States have used

marihuana at some time and that 16 per cent of high school students

have done similarly. The figures for the use of other drugs are also

bad. Thus, what we have here is a part of a national problem. We

must neither become hysterical nor sweep it under the rug. It calls

for vigorous considered action in which parents and teachers as well

as law enforcement officers cooperate.

Nowhere is the adverse side effect of growth and prosperity

so evident as in the increasing traffic congestion. Clearly, the time

has come for an integrated attack on the problem spear-headed by an

enlarged and revitalized traffic division. The projected improvement

in roads obviously will help greatly, but, realistically, there is a

limit to the help from this source. Planning to relocate heavy centers





-19-


of congestion such as the Government offices and schools out of

town must be done. There are physical limits to which the narrow

streets of our towns can be made to accommodate the number of

vehicles which increase annually by 12 per cent.

The time may be here when we must begin to provide

improved public transportation into and throughout the towns and

discourage the parking of automobiles in the congested downtown

areas.

Department of Education

"No man can reach his full human potential unless he can

communicate appropriately with his fellowmen, can choose wisely

between alternatives offered, and can distinguish properly between

real and apparent good and between real and apparent evil.

Education in the arts and skills of communication--reading, writing,

speaking, listening, and calculating--and in some understanding of

the world around us--as it was, as it is and as it might be--are

essential to all who would be fully free and who would be truly human.

"We believe the responsibility of the state for education

is one of its greatest responsibilities. In meeting this responsibility

the State must offer, but not impose: must support, but not confine:

must obtain funds equitably and distribute funds justly: must demand

value commensurate with cost and effort: must protect individuality

and must reject confirmity. The state is an instrument of the people

and the people must judge the performance of their state. Education

can help the people judge well.







-20-


"In short, an independent and educated citizenry is democ-

racy's life force. The vitality of our society and, indeed, the survival of

our democracy, will, thus, ever depend upon the strength of our educational

system and the wisdom with which it is directed. -- (Preamble to report

of the Governor's Commission on Educational Reform the State of Michigan;

Governor William G. Milliken, Chairman).

This statement embodies our hopes for Virgin Islands

children, as well as our fears that the system of education which has

existed in the past is now in need of urgent repair, if it is to meet the

unprecedented challenges of these times.

You will recall that just a few months ago, approximately

fourteen thousand Virgin Islands children returned to our public schools to

find that more than seventy new classrooms were available for their use.

These classrooms were manned by a corps of more than six hundred teachers

and aides. Books and other instructional materials were available in great-

er numbers than ever before. Bus routes were expanded to facilitate many

more children, and hundreds of additional means were served to meet the

needs of the expanded school population.

You will also recall that the June graduating classes at

our two public island high schools broke all previous records, as close to

four hundred students received high school diplomas. Of these graduates,

the number enrolled in colleges and universities, both here and in the United

States was greater than the total number of students leaving our high schools

twenty years ago.







-21-


The ban against non-citizen children was lifted and many of

these children who were headed for the social graveyard, are now being

rehabilitated.

Ground has been broken for one school in St. Croix and prepara-

tions are well underway for three additional schools, two in St. Thomas

and one in St. Croix.

The Teachers' contract provides more meaningful salaries and

better working conditions for this class of professionals.

These traditional measurements seem to indicate that all is well

with our educational system. But the moment one begins to take a closer

look at the products of our schools, it becomes painfully clear that the

traditional ways of reporting our educational progress are meaningless

and dangerously misleading. For, while we have an accurate picture of

the resources used for schooling, little information is available on the

extent to which these resources have achieved their specific purposes.

It is disconcerting to find that in competition with their peers,

our young men entering the armed services score significantly below most

of the rest of the country.

It is distressing when we learn that many students at our own

College of the Virgin Islands, find it necessary to enroll in non-credit

remedial courses before achieving full matriculation. It is painful to

become aware of the fact that students from the lower social and economic

brackets of our society find that their schooling has done little to lessen

the gap between them and more fortunate students.







-22-


It is alarming when we consider the degree to which linguistic

and cultural differences act as formidable barriers to success, especially

with respect to our Puerto Rican students.

Failing, disenchanted, alienated, our students are leaving school

before graduation, almost completely useless, in a society which is de-

manding broader, more acute skills simply for survival. I regret that

only now is a serious effort being made at determining the extent of the

dropout problem.

The great challenge facing us is to find effective ways of help-

ing all children learn the basic skills so that they can be more successful

in school and compete more successfully for jobs and rewarding positions

in the community when they become adults.

To achieve this goal, we must pay more than lip service to the

concepts of "individual need" and "individual growth." Instructional

programs must benefit children; they must arise from the needs of children.

Programs of individualized instruction are, therefore, high on our

list of priorities. This is what our children need; this is what our children

desire; this is what our children deserve; this is what our children will get!

The solutions to our educational problems are as elusive as they

are complex, but vigorous action along a broad front is indicated, and the

need is immediate.

We must take steps to improve the child's home environment so

that it may exert a positive influence on the child's ability and motivation











to learn. This will require improved incomes, housing, health care, and

education for those adults who form the intimate inner ring of the child's

early experiences.

Opportunities for social intercourse among the various socio-

economic and ethnic groups must be improved, perhaps with the arts and

recreation serving as the vehicle. (And without beleaguering that point

I might add that what is developing into a de facto segregation school

system must be reversed.)

Of course, we also need more resources for education, but we

cannot simply buy more of the same programs, nor can we buy more of

the same services. We need programs and people to make the educational

process one of constant experimentation, evaluation, and change, with

the results communicated to the public in clear, precise terms. There

must be strict accountability to the Legislature and the Governor, and

through them, to the people of the Virgin Islands.

The educational functions must, therefore, be decentralized with

St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix district units, coordinated, supported,

and evaluated by a territorial education agency. This reorganization must

be pursued and formalized by appropriate legislative action.

Fiscal planning, control, and reporting is unrealistic and archaic.

Work is progressing now on a system of budgeting by program as a supple-

ment to the line-item budget.







-24-


(At this point, I would like to mention that not only in

education but in all fields the time has come for us to become involved

in a system of performance program budgeting rather than the old fashion

line-item where we would merely look at what is spent for a given person

under a given category. We must develop some cost efficiency budgeting,

and I have already instructed several departments to develop ancillary

budgets, using the performance programming budget system with cost

efficiency ratings alongside of their present budget, to make sure that

we're getting our dollars worth for money spent.)

The Federal-local partnership needs considerable strengthening,

and we have already made our growing needs known to the United States

Commissioner of Education. Hopefully, he will decide to invest more

heavily in Virgin Islands education.

Information and reporting systems are being developed to

overcome the dearth of information available to the public.

Expensive school plant and equipment must be used more

efficiently and effectively, and we are looking into such things as

extending the school day, not necessarily for any individual child but

to permit more use of classrooms. Other school systems are

experimenting with year-round schools with excellent results, both

in plant use and expanded opportunities for students. New approaches

to scheduling and placement will have to be found if we are to ease

the financial burden associated with the construction of new school

facilities.










It seems logical not to have to use classrooms which are

expensive to construct for 30 hours out of a 168-hour week. We

are experimenting with ideas now to prolong this use and thus,

improve the educational system at less cost.

Expanded opportunities for higher education is a matter

of vital concern to my office. Many more of our youth need to

continue their training beyond the secondary school level, either

at colleges and universities or at technical schools. The territorial

scholarship program is being reviewed, and should be revised to

meet the new needs of the islands.

The many youths who have left school before graduation

represent an important pool of human resources. An expanded

evening school program will be launched to effect their rehabilitation,

as well as to provide improved educational opportunities for adults.

A cursory survey of jobs reveals that many of the

opportunities for employmentcreated by our economic growth are not

being grasped by Virgin Islanders. This condition exists at all

levels--from the professional to the technician's assistant.

But while we have emphasized training in law, medicine,

engineering, economics, and business administration, there seems

to have been a de-emphasis on construction technology, food service,

retail merchandising, lower echelon medical services, and a host of

other areas in which the para-professional renders valuable services.







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There can be no stigma attached to the technical and

service trades in an economy which is creating needs for services.

In fact, the financial rewards are substantial and improving.

Opportunities for gaining in these areas must be expanded

immediately, and the vocational-technical arm of our educational

system will shoulder this responsibility.

The non-public school system is receiving careful

attention. Faced with acute financial problems, these schools

which serve an important need in our communities, are the subject

of studies being conducted by the educational authorities. (In some

cases their very survival is threatened by financial crises.)

With regard to the fine cultural diversity of our islands,

we are determined to reinforce the individual's pride in his heritage,

his language, and his culture, with a view to improving the individual'-

self-image and broadening his understanding.

We have taken the position that all children can learn, that

all children will learn, that all children must learn--that equality of

educational opportunity is as significant as quality education--that, in

fact, we jeopardize the stability of our islands when we fail to meet

the educational needs of our people.

Department of Labor

In the area of Labor, the most dramatic development, anc

the one which required the most immediate attention was the sharp







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upturn in union activity in the public sector. Of the more than 6,000

to 8,000 Government employees, more than 75 per cent are represented

by labor organizations. Steps leading to negotiated contracts are

either in progress or about to begin. The fact that work stoppages

were down to no more than a total of four days in the entire Government

sector attests to the Administration's recognition of the rights of public

employees to engage in collective bargaining.

Definite steps were taken to implement the Executive Order

by the appointment of a committee responsible for defining and

clarifying certain provisions with the result that collective bargaining

will now proceed in an atmosphere conducive to peace and harmony

and the mutual benefit of the employee and the Government of which he

is a part. This relationship is most meaningful where the public

employee recognizes his responsibility and accepts his role as a full

partner in the relationship.

Similarly, efforts of the Department of Labor have kept the loss

of man hours due to strikes in the private sector to under 200 hours.

But no mention of the labor situation could be realistic without

noting the fact that approximately 51 per cent of the entire work force

of the Virgin Islands is comprised of non-citizens--a fact which brings

to the surface all the ancillary problems as housing, and so forth, that

we discussed before.







-28-

Two noteworthy steps were taken to cope with this situation:

on December 3, 4, and 5, 1969, the Commission on the Status of

Non-Citizens and the Governor conducted a conference in St. Thomas

at which were represented officials of the Departments of the Treasury,

State, Labor, Interior and Health, Education and Welfare.

Among the recommendations endorsed by this Conference was

that a system of pre-clearance be put into effect. Upon my directive,

the Commissioner of Labor and the Attorney General took immediate

steps to implement a program of pre-clearance on islands based upon the

British West Indies (or BWI Plan) to which the Immigration Service had

agreed in principle, having itself advanced such a plan.

Just last week, here in St. Thomas, this Government was host

to the Ministers and Commissioners of Labor from a number of States

south of us. Their expressions of understanding gave promise of success

in the program of pre-clearance on their home islands where checks

of work qualifications, and police and health records will be made and

will certainly tend to reduce, if not eliminate entirely the many problems

which beset us.

Further, the cooperative area manpower planning system, known

as CAMPS, has been set up as an Independent secretariat to coordinate

the work of the several departments, eliminate duplication, and with the

assistance of the U.S. Department of Labor, direct manpower efforts in

the most useful and effective channels.











Water and Power

The demand for electric power increased in St. Thomas 26

per cent last year, and in St. Croix by 29 per cent. The generating

capacity has thus been increased and is keeping apace.

There are numerous unsolved problems, however, in the

distribution system, and attention is being given to this. Present

directions are to form loops so that individual line failures will not

knock out entire sections of the islands as heretofore. Additionally,

a concept used almost universally on the Continent in providing a grid

so that one source of power could supplement another, is being considered

by investigations leading to the possibility of submarine cables to

Puerto Rico and St. Croix.

Turning to a more general and overriding subject, let us

consider the overall expenditures of the Government.

The total operating budget for this fiscal year is $66,345,614.

Of this, $42,306,246 or 64 per cent is spent in personal services.

However, this represents 67 per cent of the estimated revenues of

$63,305,049. Quite clearly, then, the remaining 33 per cent which

has to provide all materials, equipment and services is totally inadequate.

Furthermore, whenever there is any curtailing to do it is at the expense

of the materials and equipment money. Still further, there is a built

in escalation in the presonal services, since there are annual increments, etc.











The time is here when there must be a re-evaluation of the services

rendered and the personnel required.

If this is to be more than an exercise in futility it must be

recognized that there has to be reassignments and, in some cases,

reduction in force or, at least, in reduction in rate of new employees.

At some point here statesmanship for the overall good has

to transcend partisan politics. Despite the rise in revenues the

present structure and direction would certainly demand new and

increased taxes if not altered. The reorganization report now being

studied and which will be considered by the select commission on

Government reorganization in the immediate future must be approached

objectively if it is to be meaningful.

Finally, we have come to the time when grave and

fundamental decisions must be made concerning the future of these

islands.

I shall ask the questions -- we all have to supply the

answers .

Are we striving for bigness, or should we be concerned

with improving the quality of life here ?

Shall we continue to try to attract any and all business

regardless of size or compatibility, or shall we become more

selective in attracting only those businesses which blend more

fully into our pattern of life ?





V 1-5s,

-31- I 7


Shall we modify our industrial incentive law to accomplish

this, or shall we just hope for the best?

Shall we continue to emphasis ze growth for fear of losing our

competitive position, or shall we devote more of our resources to the

obvious needs of roads, water, schools, health facilities, etc. to

provide for a better life?

Shall we now approach planning from the long-range view or

shall the short-term economic gains continue to be the dominant and deciding

factor?

These are not rhetorical questions. They go to the heart

of our problem and unless we rise above petty partisanship we may

be dooming our future.

As mentioned earlier, the rise in cost of living, for example,

exceeded the rise in per capital income.

The message is clear. Let us consolidate our gains, improve

our services, streamline our operations, place the common good above

the individual good, the permanent good above short-term benefits.

Let us meet the challenge by forthright statesmanship. I know we can.

The facts indicate we must! As we then enter this most decisive year

of 1970 with the increase in political autonomy in sight, let us rise

to the occasion and prove ourselves worthy by meeting and solving

our problems.




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