Changes rile local residents at meeting

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."

1 thought on “Changes rile local residents at meeting”

  1. Regarding the opinions expressed at the recent St. John meeting – whenever there is a gathering to discuss St. John among community members, this seems to come up, yet nothing is done about it.
    The native and longtime residents of St. John feel disenfranchised. What is happening to St. John, I have heard referred to as “gentrification” – this may be overly simplistic, but it’s the only word that comes to mind.
    St. John has been a broken community for a very long time. If you are a St. John business owner or contractor, perhaps you should examine your motivations for hiring. Many times people feel most comfortable among people who look and think like they do. I think that the FAQ at this American Psychological Association page will help: http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/racism/contents.html (you may need to copy and paste if the link is not clickable or it breaks)
    Before you say, “I’m not racist”, read the questions and the answers. It does not hurt to learn the extent to which we categorize each other, to the detriment of our community. I don’t think that there is a single PERSON, ANYWHERE, who does not use discrimination to make their decisions.

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