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George LeMieux's rum runner is ripped as "unpatriotic"

The National Black Chamber of Commerce and the U.S Virgin Islands have fired off a blistering retort to Florida Republican George LeMieux, saying his amendment to change the way rum taxes are distributed would further impoverish the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Harry Alford, president of the chamber, called LeMieux's legislation -- tacked onto a Senate jobs bill -- an "assault on the people and livelihood of the U.S. Virgin Islands." He said LeMieux's amendment would overturn "more than 90 years of policy" and "completely changes the nature" of the tax distribution.

"It is a naked and reprehensible money grab by Puerto Rico – a cynical nod to special interests that would put the U.S. Virgin Islands into receivership," Alford said. He said the amendment would make Virgin Islanders produce rum but "let Puerto Rico reap the benefits of those Virgin Islanders’ hard work.

"All of America should be offended by this plantation-era treatment of the U.S. Virgin Islands – this is, after all, 2010, not 1810."

And John P. deJongh, Jr., the governor of the Virgin Islands, said the change would "severely harm" the island's economy "and overtly favors Puerto Rico.

"Senator LeMieux's amendment looks like it was developed alongside Puerto Rican lobbyists," he wrote.

Comments

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Tropicaldame

Kudos to the National Black Chamber of Commerce and Governor DeJongh for standing up against 21st Century Slavery! Puerto Rico may try to bully the Virgin Islands now, but Banco Popular, First Bank VI, Home Depot, Office Max and other franchises of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rican companies who migrate here weekly for our jobs and take their money back to Puerto Rico to save their economy have their day of reckoning coming too! We have had a peaceful existence between us for many years, but I guess Puerto Rico wants a Vieques styled, or FALN Styled confrontation!!!We in the Virgin Islands will not stand for it!!!

Judith

Unpatriotic? How about racist? What is it? The black people of the Virgin Islands shouldn't have it if Puerto Rico don't want it?
Puerto Rico has always gotten the biggest piece of the pie and now bad government decisions have cost them this and other benefits for the people of Puerto Rico.
Don’t blame the Virgin Islands Government and Governor deJongh for being a better business man and making better decisions.

Arnold M Golden III

We here in the United States Virgin Islands proudly wear the name United States behind our Island Territory name and have always been very patriotic towards our country. I can't say the same for Puerto Rico who has been very divided about their independence and even Roosevelt Roads Military existence in Vieques. The Puerto Rico Government has the all or nothing at all mentality and has caused much harm to the US Virgin Islands economy in the past. Fast Forward 20+ years and you see that same mentality at play here. Governor DeJohgh being the business man that he is, has made a deal with Diageo that was beneficial to both Diageo and the US Virgin Islands. We didn't take anything away from Puerto Rico, they allowed it to slip through their hands because of their greed. The US Virgin Islands will fight to the bitter end against their scare tactics and outright "nasty" accusations and allegations. We are not serving on their "Plantation".

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