STATE OF SHOCK: Mapp paints a rosy picture of the territory’s economic prospects in his third State of the Territory address last night.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Government of the Virgin Islands has cut spending, made its operations more efficient and created conditions allowing for significant economic growth in the private sector, yet these measures are not enough to alleviate a serious cash flow problem in the short term.
There are the two realities we now face, Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Monday during his third State of the Territory Address as he was reminded of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Mapp claimed that on one hand, “our economy is stronger than ever and growing, but on the other, we need to address the cash flow issue in the public sector.”
“We have financial challenges, which require real action on all our parts,” he said.
The governor spoke before the 32nd Legislature, urging the body to collaborate with the Administration to take decisive action to address the territory’s cash shortfall and reduce its structural deficits. Having already presented his plan to the Legislative body, Mapp said, “If you do not agree or like my plans and recommendations to solve our problems then bring alternatives to the table and we can work to reach consensuses. This is the least that the people of the territory deserve.”
The Governor reminded the audience that the Mapp-Potter Administration has not borrowed working capital over the past two years, despite hiring more than 1,300 new employees and granting raises to thousands of Government workers. Borrowing averaged over $133 million per year under the previous Administration.
The Governor referenced the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ acclaimed novel A Tale of Two Cities when explaining the Virgin Islands Government’s current fiscal situation.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
However, the governor quoted Dickens again, “I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from the abyss’… Tonight I pledge to continue on the road towards prosperity, to a brighter future for our territory. I invite you to join with me and other who have the courage to do what is necessary to right our ship of state.”