Way Forward – Virgin Islands: America’s Youngest Colony

Go Lean Commentary

The US Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. Johns – are 80 miles east of Puerto Rico. Their small population only peaks at about 110,000; they have a lot of challenges sustaining and elevating their society. If only their economy was bigger.

Wait, wait … next door Puerto Rico has a population of over 3 million people. Bigger economy! Bigger problems!

Obviously, size … of the economy is not the predictor for success.

Nor is age…

… the US Virgin Islands, as an entity, is in fact the youngest US Territory in North America; having been acquired from Denmark only in 1917 – see VIDEO below.

There must be something more?!

Maybe race! Maybe, if we have a population of homogeneous people who can form a brotherhood and work hand-in-hand without any concern for racial differences – “Power to the People”. Well, this land has a majority Black population – unique for any domicile (State or Territory) in the United States. It is a 76% majority! Here is the actual demographic breakdown from the last census (2010):

There are many people in America – especially in the Black community – that have theorized that if they had a “majority Black land in America” they could really be a more prosperous society.

Well, they have the US Virgin Islands, and what is the disposition? See summaries here:

U.S. Virgin Islands GDP Decreases in 2017 [by 2%]
Tourism spending declines following Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is releasing estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) for 2017, in addition to estimates of GDP by industry and compensation by industry for 2016. These estimates were developed under the Statistical Improvement Program funded by the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The U.S. Virgin Islands suffered extensive damage from two major hurricanes in September 2017. These hurricanes affected the availability of various source data used in the estimation of USVI GDP, including financial statements for the territorial government and its independent agencies.

Source: US Government Bureau of Economic Analysis – Posted December 17, 2018; retrieved April 3, 2019 from: https://www.bea.gov/news/2018/us-virgin-islands-gdp-decreases-2017


Welcome to the Virgin Islands, One of the Most Indebted Places in the U.S.
The U.S. territory is running out of options as it faces rising debt and pension obligations, a declining population and tepid response to proposed new bond offerings

By: Heather Gillers

A U.S. territory famed for its white-sand beaches and azure waters is in a precarious financial position. This time, it isn’t just Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Virgin Islands shares many of the same fiscal problems as its Caribbean neighbor 80 miles to the west: high levels of debt, mounting pension obligations and a declining population.

Source: Wall Street Journal – posted January 26, 2017; retrieved April 3, 2019 from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/welcome-to-the-virgin-islands-one-of-the-most-indebted-places-in-the-u-s-1485426604

Obviously, race … of the demography is not the predictor for success. (Let this be the last word on this unnerving subject!)

The problems facing small Caribbean islands, or young Caribbean islands or Black Caribbean islands, are the same problems facing all Caribbean islands … it is failure to adapt to these undeniable Agents of Change:

It is Globalization, Climate Change, Technology and an Aging Diaspora.

These Agents of Change are devastating Caribbean life … for all people, in all the islands and coastal states. The book Go Lean…Caribbean asserts that we are “all in the same boat” and need to work together – to confederate – to seek solutions to our problems.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste – Go Lean book (Page 8)

The Way Forward is a roadmap to actually consolidate, collaborate, and confederate the 30 member-states of the Caribbean region into a technocratic confederation. These USVI islands are among the “best addresses on the planet” …

… and yet, the residents, leaders and stakeholders cannot seem to provide proper stewardship for managing the affairs of these islands.

This theme – remediating and mitigating the failures in Caribbean island life – aligns with previous commentaries from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean; see this sample list here as it relates to the US Virgin Islands; (but truth be told, there is application for the British Virgin Islands as well):

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13995 Island life is hard – The need for Congressional Interstate Compacts
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12959 Island life is hard – America Should Scrap the ‘Jones Act’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10771 Island life is hard – The need for Logical Addresses
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6867 Island life is hard – How to address high consumer prices
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4551 Island life is hard – Between a ‘rock and a hard place’

The Virgin Islands, the youngest American colony, are among the most beautiful places on the planet – it is paradise. See the VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Almanac: The U.S. Virgin Islands – https://cbsn.ws/2JSVJi7

CBS News – Posted March 31, 2019 – On March 31, 1917 the U.S. took possession of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and about 50 other smaller Caribbean islands, which they purchased from Denmark for $25 million. Jane Pauley reports.

But this paradise is the flora and fauna; the societal engines, on the other hand, need some work.  As related in the previous blog-commentary in this series, Puerto Rico suffers from the same fate as the Virgin Islands – “island life is hard”. So there needs to be a roadmap to reform and transform all “island life”.

Way Forward
This commentary continues the consideration on the Way Forward for Caribbean islands – for the Virgin Islands – and the rest of the Caribbean. This territory here is in dire straits, near-Failed-State status. Yet, the movement behind the Go Lean book asserts that any crisis can be useful, as an excuse to forge change. It is high time to change/elevate the societal engines of the Virgin Islands. This is entry 2-of-3 for this April 2019 series of commentaries related to the Way Forward for Caribbean member-states. The full series is presented as follows:

  1. Way Forward: Puerto Rico learns its “status” with America
  2. Way Forward: Virgin Islands – America’s youngest colony
  3. Way Forward: ‘Solutions White Paper’ – An Inadequate Plan for the Bahamas

This series posits that “no man is an island”; or that “no island is an island”; that these Caribbean island-states need to come together, collaborate, cooperate, convene, and confederate for a better stewardship for the full region.

Yes, we can…

The Go Lean movement presents the strategies, tactics and implementations to make the US Virgin Islands – as part of the full US Territories – a better homeland to live, work and play. The book identify these main points, as follows (Page 244):

10 Ways to Impact US Territories

  1. Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).
  2. Trading Partners based on Nature not Politics
  3. Disaster Preparation & Response
  4. Dual Currency
  5. Emigration Circuit Breaker
  6. Homeland Security Pact – NATO style
  7. Intelligence Gathering
  8. Cruise Line Collective Bargaining
  9. Transportation / Turnpike Hub & Spokes
  10. Spanish Integration – Reversal of European Imperialistic Maneuvers

Yes, it is conceivable, believable and achievable that with the proper guidance, “blood, sweat and tears”, this island chain can in fact actualize to be one of the greatest addresses on the planet.

Enough already! This is the Way Forward! It is now past time to lean-in to this roadmap to reform and transform our homeland. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *