I try. I try really hard to keep my cool and NOT vent some of my political views and dissatisfaction here in this space. My intention with this blog was to make friends and promote my writing. Today there is something I have to talk about.
Yesterday, my little island, and the country it comprises along with two even smaller islands, were dealt an economic blow that they may never recover from. I live on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are a U.S. Territory. Kind of like a colony. The U.S. government pushes us around, but we have no vote or say in what happens in the States or what the Feds do to us. I’m a U.S. citizen. The U.S. issues my passport, but I will not be allowed to vote in YOUR Presidential election. When it’s convenient for the U.S. to claim us, they do. Otherwise, we’re kind of like the poor relations nobody wants to talk about. This isn’t the point of this post, just a little background.
The island of St. Croix is the home to Hovensa. Hovensa operates the second largest oil refinery in the U.S. (this is one of the times when the U.S. likes to claim us, so they can say this), the third largest oil refinery in the world. Hovensa is a joint venture between Hess Oil, Big Oil in the U.S. and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., a national company headed by the Venezuelan government or none other than Hugo Chavez. Are you surprised? Didn’t you think that Uncle Hugo (he’s referred to like that down here) was not necessarily a friend of the U.S.?
Anyway…maybe you have heard or maybe not, but Hugo has been up to one of his old tricks; saber rattling at the U.S. He’s signed contracts to ship much of his oil to China. He’s trying to build stronger alliances with other (Arab) OPEC Countries and recently the Pres. of Iran visited and they joked about nuclear weapons for Venezuela (isn’t that a sobering thought).
Yesterday, Hess Oil announced to the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands that they will close Hovensa in thirty days (mid-February) because it is losing money and is not ‘economically feasible to be kept functioning’. Interesting that the oil business, particularly Big Oil is losing money. What are you paying at the pump?
Regardless, of all the political rhetoric, this will economically devastate our country and more particularly our island. The Governor and other politicians are already making all kinds of promises and predictions but, unfortunately, these are promises and predictions they couldn’t keep even if they were honest and above board. Like most governments in the Caribbean they take political corruption seriously and to places you cannot even imagine.
This probably won’t even make for a small byline in newspapers in the States or other countries, but for us in the Caribbean it is a disaster of astronomical proportions. The Caribbean, like Africa, is a place where nobody really cares what happens. Certainly, there’s more behind this than an oil refinery not being economically feasible. The citizens of the U.S. might want to take note, this type of thing could possibly be a foreshadow of things to come in the ’boom’ states of oil exploration and development. It would be in everyone’s best interests to not be caught ‘asleep at the wheel’.
My income does not come directly from Hovensa, but something this big, leaving our economy, will affect us all.
Just thought you might want to know.