Dozens of people who attended a meeting to talk about how St. John could affect a new VI Constitution ended up hearing complaints from native and Caribbean-born residents that they don’t have opportunities.
"The bottom line is we have some racial problems," Monique Matthias told the Island Council Planning Committee session at the Legislature building. She and other locals complained that the Committee’s work was excluding them, and they didn’t like it, according to a report published by the St. John Source.
Matthias said vacation villas include advertisements only for restaurants like the Lime Inn, owned by mainland transplants. She claimed, "There’s no card for Uncle Joe’s Barbecue," a Cruz Bay eatery known and loved by locals as well as visitors. Grasshopper Pickering said locals can’t get jobs in restaurants and shops. Another woman said that with commercial space rents going for thousands of dollars a month, she has no chance to sell baskets.
The Committee had hoped the meeting would generate information to create a draft document related to the Constitutional Convention scheduled for 2006. However, after several hours of discussion, the Source reported, "The people at the meting voted to scrap (that idea). It remains unclear how the project will proceed."