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26 Mr. HODGE. Just like the Senate has a Public Works Committee.
Senator DWORSHAK. You have a dual responsibility.
Senator DWORSHAK. Then the Governor decides where it shall be spent and then what does your director of public works do? What are his duties?
Mr. HODGE. His job is commissioner of public works.“
Senator DWORSHAK. He has nothing to do with the allocation of funds as to where the project shall be located ? . , & Mr. HØDGE. I hardly think so, sir. I think the Governor does that after the legislature passes the money.
Senator ALLOTT. Where is the Governor's résidence to which you referred ?
Mr. HODGE. An estate owned by the Federal Government by the name of Dorothea on the hilltop in St. Thomas.
His official residence is in town, but they keep this place out there where they go I suppose when they have guests or officials occupying the Government house.
Senator ALLOTT. Where is that on the Skyline Drive? . . ! * Mr. HODGE. Estate Dorothea.' .
Senator ALLOTT. How long has that residence existed there? ;', Mr. HODGE. I would say for the last 2 years.
Senator ALLOTT. Now, is it not a fact that along Skyline Drive is the most generally sought after and high-priced land of any residential land in the islands.
Mr. HODGE. All hilltop lands are sought after. : Senator ALLOTT. And very high priced ?
Mr. HODGE. Yes.
Senator ALLOTT. It is on these hilltop lands that the most expensive houses of St. Thomas are being constructed ? :: Mr. HODGE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any additional questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ronald De Lugo, member of the Virgin Island
LEGISLATURE AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN
FROM THE VIRGIN ISLANDS ? Mr. DE Lugo. Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished
committee, my name is Ronald De Lugo. My home is in Christian: sted, St. Croix.
I am a radio commentator for WIVI, located in St. Croix. I served my country during the occupation of Japan as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army.
I have lived in the Virgin Islands since I was 2 years of age. My father was a native.
Presently I am a member of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands serving my third consecutive term. In the three times I have sought elected office I have received the highest number of votes of any candi
date at large, drawing from all three islands, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John.
I point this out merely to show that I am familiar with the insular picture.
I am Democratic floor leader in the legislature and Democratic national committeeman for the Virgin Islands.
Gentlemen, as a conscientious, elected representative of the people of the Virgin Islands I must be deeply concerned with the choice of å man who will serve as our chief executive during the challenging years ahead.. on
It has been said that we in the American Virgin Islands have a great opportunity to serve our country in the Caribbean community. The eyes of the people in the British Virgin Islands and the British Federation are on us as an American territory.
The attention of the people in the Dutch Islands and our neighbors in the French Islands is focused on what we say and what we do.
May I say that I know that no one is more keenly aware of this than the President of the United States who visited our islands only 2 years ago. He was then a Senator from Massachusetts and when he returned from his visit he advanced a plan to the Department of State to create in the Virgin Islands a showcase of democracy for all of the world to see. . . . .
. · As a Democrat, as an American, I support my President and his concept. That is why I am here today in support of Ralph Paiewonsky for Governor of the Virgin Islands.
He is the man best fitted to carry out the President's program. I am keenly aware of our opportunity. I am aware that the key to success lies in the selection of a man who knows the insular problems of the Virgin Islands, a man dedicated to the belief that Virgin Islanders are able to govern themselves and to govern themselves well; a practical man who can create and carry out a program that will carry us toward economic self-sufficiency and a man who can inspire us, all of us, in the islands to the necessary work and effort to make it possible for us to attain these ends.
It was my responsibility to endorse a man who could supply these qualities to the post of Governor. I have endorsed and I have fought for the selection of Ralph Paiewonsky. I am convinced that he is the best man for the post.
Let me say as a citizen, as a leader, and as an elected representative of the 'people of the Virgin Islands, I am as concerned as you are that the man selected for Governor be honorable and upright in all his dealings.
I can attest to you that this statement describes Ralph Paiewonsky.
Those people who 'malign him do so by perverting the facts; by turning the truth, by attributing to him the very things that he has fought hardest against. · Ralph Paiewonsky will serve the people of the islands and the United States ably and well.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
Senator DWORSHAK. Who owns the radio station which employs you?
Mr. DE LUGO. It is a corporation. It is a family corporation owned by the Hignans.
Senator DWORSHAK. They are local residents?
Senator DWORSHAK. On the basis of your glowing report of the outstanding job of self-government done by the people in the Virgin Islands I presume you would favor statehood so that they would have complete autonomy?
Mr. DE Lugo. No, sir; I would not be in favor of statehood at this time. I would like to see the people of the Virgin Islands move forward.
Let me be very honest with you. We desire I am perhaps speaking for myself, I want to see ourselves move to the day when we will be economically self-sufficient. I want to see the day come when we can make a contribution to the Federal Government.
May I say that you are very much aware of the housing problems that we face.
Senator DWORSHAK. I have never been in the islands so I am not familiar with them.
Mr. De Lugo. But it has been raised here and I am sure you are concerned about it, Senator.
Our biggest problem was that in the thirties, as it was brought out yesterday, President Hoover called us a poorhouse, and perhaps we were; the islands were very poor. And those were tough times.
In its wisdom the Congress of the United States in 1954 gave us the Organic Act, finally gave us the tools whereby we could make some economic progress and the tremendous advancements that we speak about have only taken place in these last few years since we have had this formula whereby we have been able to improve our hospitals, expand our school system, and make capital improvements.
Prior to that time every year the people of the Virgin Islands had to come to the Congress and ask for an appropriation. Since then you have given us a different formula.
I hope some day we will be economically self-sufficient. I am not a financial expert, however.
Senator ALLOTT. I have just two questions. What is the composition of the legislature by party?
Mr. De Lugo. By party we have at the present time four Democrats, four Unity Party members—this is a local party with no mainland affiliation—and one member of a party that is known as the Virgin Islands Party, and two independents. I believe that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. No Republicans ? Mr. DE Lugo. Not at the present time, sir. I think Senator Allott when he was down there remarked on that. He addressed the legislature and he remarked on the lack of Republican legislators. There was a Republican there, Governor Merwin, but he had just moved up to the governorship when you arrived. So we have had Republicans.
Senator DWORSHAK. Is he the only Republican in the islands? Mr. DE LUGO. I imagine that at this time it would seem so because the last campaign they didn't do so well.
Senator ALLOTT. I have one other question, Mr. Chairman. This does not touch the qualifications of the nominee. But since we have gotten into this so extensively, do you conceive that these islands can be developed solely as a tourist resort?
of Indoned or not stated this entertain
Mr. De Lugo. I would like to see us diversify a bit. I think that tourism is too fickle an industry. I mean we are doing great now but people have discovered the Caribbean, everybody wants to go to the Caribbean.
We have wonderful weather. But who knows, some years from now for various reasons they might want to go to Europe.
Senator ALLOTT. Many things might affect that in the future.
Mr. De Lugo. Certainly. I would like to see us expand in small industries which mainly are assembling.
Senator ALLOTT. You are agreed that among other things one of the pressing problems is to become self-sufficient from a food standpoint? Mr. DE LUGO. Definitely, sir, I do.
Senator ALLOTT. Do you know off the top of your head what percentage of the foodstuffs are imported in the Virgin Islands?
Mr. DE Lugo. I do not know the percentage but I do know it is very large and you should do something about it.
Senator ALLOTT. Would it be as high as 90 percent?
Senator MILLER. Of course I don't believe everything I read in the newspapers, but there was a recent story in the paper to the effect that the nominee was the one who received the least recommendations of those who were being considered for this post.
I don't know whether you saw that article or whether you have heard that or not.
Now you have stated this morning that you consider him to be best. How do you reconcile these two positions ?
Mr. De Lugo. The statement or the report that appeared in the paper is attributed to the gentleman that has been mentioned earlier, Mr. Rosenblatt.
I met Mr. Rosenblatt on one occasion. Mr. Rosenblatt has not known Mr. Paiewonsky as long as I have nor is Mr. Rosenblatt as familiar with the Virgin Islands and the problems as I am.
I say this not in criticism at all because Mr. Rosenblatt spent no more than a few days in the Islands. I don't think Mr. Rosenblatt is in a position to make a judgment that is equal to mine on this particular thing.
Senator, I am going to have to go back to the people of the Virgin Islands in 2 years and stand for election.
Senator ÚILLER. Do you find in the islands support for some of these other people greater than for Mr. Paiewonsky?
Mr. De Lugo. Absolutely not, sir. I say that as a Virgin Islander and by that I mean either a person who was born there or person of long-time residence, the vast majority. If you want a percentage, 80 to 90 percent, of those who have been there a long time want Ralph Paiewonsky.
Senator MILLER. Do you include in that group these people who are living in these poor housing areas?
Mr. De Lugo. Absolutely, sir. May I say that with regard to the housing problem that has been raised we are trying to do something about it and we are going to do something about it.
These houses did not come about in the last few years. They have been there for ages. It is a problem and it goes back to the days when these islands were very poor. These people would go and they would build a house, a house which by mainland standards is very poor-by our own standards it is today, too—and they would pay a small rent, maybe a dollar and half a month, for the right to have their house on this property. : Now because of the tourism we have been speaking about land values have gone sky high. . We do have a big middle class. The statement yesterday that we have 15 families at the top and everybody else in a depressed economic situation is not so.
Many of the people now living in these houses are middle class people that are in many cases priced out of the land market by the very people who in many cases, are opposing Mr. Paiewonsky.
Speculators have come in this is a lush resort area—they have bought up tracts of land and the real estate values have gone sky high.
We do have Government land; our problem now is to subdivide the land to get it to the people. Our problem is to encourage private enterprise to come in and to build middle income homes.
We are taking good care of, a fine job is being done with low income housing and that is being done by the Federal Government.
Our biggest problem is middle income. And we have a big middle class. Today, virtually all the children graduate from high school.
Senator ALLOTT. I realize the incomes on the islands do not compare with ours in the United States, but when you use the term middle class what general area of income are you speaking of?
Mr. De Lugo. From $2,500 to $3,000 a year.
Senator ALLOTT. One other question that occurs to me. Has the legislature ever taken any action or have they ever had a committee to investigate the possibility of restoring to the islands themselves the control of some of their beaches ? :
As I recall there is a public beach just outside of Charlotte Amalie on the bay. Is that correct?
Mr. De Lugo. That is true, sir.
Senator ALLOTT. There is also another beach on the other side that was deeded or willed in perpetuity for the use of the public.
Mr. De Lugo. By Mr. Fairchild, a beautiful beach, Mangans Bay.
Senator ALLOTT. Am I wrong in my recollection that the rest of the beaches of St. Thomas are all privately owned ? :
Mr. DE LUGO. Most of them are, sir. That was a mistake that was made years ago.
Senator ALLOTT. Has the legislature taken any steps along this line?
Mr. De Lugo. In fact I can speak for the Democratic Party on this; I don't know about the other members of the legislature: Such legislation has not been introduced at the present time. It has come to the fore and it is very much in our mind at the present time because of certain cases in Puerto Rico.