Effective Economic Development requires a comprehensive and strategic planning approach. We have to look at the entire economic structure of the US Virgin Islands as a system of inter-related parts, (banking regulations, energy, education, vocational education, workforce development, healthcare, and public safety), and identify how each impacts the other. I will propose comprehensive legislation that will facilitate Strategic Economic Development Planning. The components of which will include, but will not be limited to:
- Streamlining of Government Processes - Government agencies tasked with permitting and licensing must streamline processes and codified timelines, especially for projects with a significant capital investment that will expand our tax base and create jobs;
- An integrated Agriculture Industry - "Health is Wealth" Many of the ailments, disorders, and diseases affecting us today can be directly linked to the foods we eat. Foods loaded with preservatives and little to no nutritional value may contribute to Alzheimer's, dementia, and attention deficit disorders. We need to invest in and create an agriculture infrastructure that would allow us to grow our own produce to provision local supermarkets, restaurants, schools, cruise ships, as well as to export;
- A Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan - The practice of spot zoning and variances must be a thing of the past. It is very difficult for development to proceed without assurances of future land use applications. In the past, comprehensive land and water use planning was viewed as a preservationist tool used to stymie growth and development. However, I will propose legislation for the adoption of a comprehensive land and water use plan as a component of an overall economic development strategy. Such a plan will create an environment for growth where development is executed prudently and in a manner that can be sustained by our cultural and natural resources.
- Small non-polluting manufacturers - An opportunity exists to attract to our shores small non-polluting manufacturers that have been displaced from other locations due to the passage of hurricanes within the region. The transshipment potential of St. Croix coupled with its connectivity bandwidth are underutilized assets that can be leveraged with additional incentivizes to attract new businesses and expand our tax base.