I feel it’s necessary that I respond to the letter written by Eric Tillet which appeared in your last issue. I was stunned and appalled by its contents. In it Mr. Tillet made clear his opinion that St. John should be visited only by the wealthy and that we should disallow cruise ship visitors from touring our island. Wow — where am I? Nazi Germany?
I like to think we all feel that anyone who can save up enough money to jump on a cruise ship that stops by St. John for a day will be welcomed by all of us. Ask the shop owners up at Chateau Bordeaux lookout how they would feel if tour buses of cruise ship visitors stopped coming. The same inquiry could be made of the people who work at Shipwreck Landing Restaurant and the shops that surround it. How about the National Park, which gets an entry fee for every person who visits Trunk Bay? Do not forget how this would affect the taxi drivers themselves. Mr. Tillet seriously undervalues the contributions these cruise ship visitors make to our economy.
Mr. Tillet also feels that increased cruise ship visitations would further clog our roadways.
It seems to me that one taxi with 20 people touring the island for four hours is better than the equivalent five to 10 rental vehicles staying in our expensive villas and condos for a week. But, more importantly, it appears that irresponsible development with its attendant heavy equipment, oversized semis and cement-spewing trucks are the biggest cause of traffic snarls on St. John now and in the foreseeable future.
In closing I would like to say that I believe there’s room for both cruise ship tenders, the occasional small cruise ship and some swanky yachts in the Creek in Cruz Bay. But I don’t think we should make room on this island for the elitist attitudes like those expressed by Mr. Tillet.
Sign me a proudly inclusive
St. John resident,