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New Gov’t taking hold, quick win

March 15th, 2019 | Tags: Edgar Leonard Andrew A. Fahie VIP
New Gov’t taking hold, quick win: By Edgar Leonard. Photo: VINO/File
By Edgar Leonard

The outcome of the February 25, 2019, General Election indicated that the Virgin Islands (VI) electorate wanted change.

It overwhelmingly voted for the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), led by Premier Andrew A. Fahie (D1), Minister of Finance, to lead the change to reshape how the Territory is led and managed for the next four years.  The VIP won 8 of 13 seats in the unicameral House of Assembly (HoA).

It will have a herculean task in successfully leading the change to meet residents’ high demands and high expectations.

Challenges

The VI is faced with a myriad of challenges/needs that were exacerbated by the September 2017 monster storms (hurricanes Irma and Maria) that decimated the Territory, causing approximately $3.6B in damages.

These challenges range from 1)infrastructure (water, sewage, drainage, electricity, telecommunications, ports, roads), 2) community facilities(libraries, schools, healthcare, police, recreation, fire),3)skyrocketing cost of living, 4) economy, 5)gross domestic product, 6) social services, 7) employment, 8)  civil service reform, 9)immigration and labour reform, 10) education and health, 11)environment, 12)quality of life services and a review of a host of existing and new policies, i.e., consumer protection, whistleblower…….etc.

Moreover, realistically, many of these challenges are not going to be complete and usable in four years.

Priorities

The VIP’s first order of business should be to conduct a situation analysis, conduct a strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis, develop a strategic priority plan based on available resources and develop and implement a long-term Territorial Development Plan (TDP).

The TDP should have buy in from residents and should be the operations blueprint going forward, regardless of whatever government is in power.

Drafting, passing and executing a TDP will take time and the focus should be on doing the right thing for the Territory for the long-term, not just doing things right in the short-term.

Quick Wins

Undoubtedly, the electorate voted for and demanded change with a high expectation for change. However, the reality is that many of the needed changes will take time to be put in place.

Further, the high demand and high expectations for change will collide with limited resources, capacity and capability, time among other factors.

Nonetheless, to start the delivery of promised and demanded changes, government must deliver some quick wins.

Quick wins are low-hanging fruit, slam dunks, no brainers, etc.

They are things that are visible (touch, feel, experience), easy to implement, yield immediate benefits, easy to deliver and low cost to provide.

Quick wins energize and motivate the team, create momentum, set a steady pace forward and exude a warm feeling of accomplishment that can be built upon.

Moreover, examples of quick wins can include: civil servants increments, improve civil service morale,  lower high cost of the proverbial basket of goods, perform an  aggressive pot hole patching/skin patching road programme (until reconstruction can occur),  deliver safe, quality  and reliable electricity and water supply; maintain city(s)in an aesthetically pleasing manner, perform periodic maintenance of drainage ditches (ghuts), control odor from sewage systems, perform quick repair of medical, fire, school, police, fire and recreational  and port facilities; and enhance

Mr Edgar Leonard is a Virgin Islander, US Navy Lieutenant Commander (retired) and freelance political analyst.

2 Responses to “New Gov’t taking hold, quick win”

  • Politico Nuevo (15/03/2019, 20:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Agree with the Territorial Development Plan (TDP) concept. In my view, too many staffers are employing a Ready-Fire-Aim approach without having a full grasp of the conditions on the ground. This approach often encounters landmines. A TDP or some other similar baseline reference point should be used as a policy, programme......etc launching pad. The in progress Financial Forensic Assessment, and Communications, Works and Transportation assessment are critical action plans. To get to a destination, some type of planning is needed. A captain does not leave port without a float plan nor does a pilot leave an airport without a flight plan. The territory surely needs a TDP or National Development Plan or whatever we want to call it. Lets stop shooting from the hip. Understand that everyone wants a quick start out of the blocks. Nonetheless, everyone needs to a take respite and properly plan the way forward.
  • Increment (16/03/2019, 12:52) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    During the campaign, Walwyn stated that the $9M was available to civil service increments. Does the VIP intend to pay the back increments? Will workers who have retired within the last 3-4 years get back pay? The back pay would surely boost my morale.


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