With former Director of Water and Sewerage Department (W&SD), Mrs Perline R. Scatliffe- Leonard stepping into the political arena as an Independent candidate for the Seventh District seat in the 2023 general election, the obvious question was how she plans to successfully run a District when she has been perceived by some as a “failure” in her leadership capacity as W&SD Director.
The question was posed by a reporter at a press conference on Thursday, February 9, 2023, to announce Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard's election bid.
In response, Scatliffe-Leonard, who said she is very passionate about the Virgin Islands and nation- building, blamed policymakers and a lack of resources for her inability to perform to expectations.
The territory has been plagued by water and sewerage woes before and during her tenure in office.
Lack of resources
“In order to build a house, you have to have resources to build that house. I would have loved for resources to have been provided to the Water and Sewerage Department, while I was Director, to solve the problems that exist in the field. I would have loved it…But, at the end of the day, the policymakers are the ones that decide what’s priority for them. And so, I fall in line…I do not want to cast blame on anyone in particular, but certainly, I’m not going to let my performance fall either”, Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard told reporters.
She went on to state that she has accomplished much in the W&SD and these accomplishments, she noted, will be made public.
Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard said it is important to understand that she wasn’t just sitting in the Department.
“The records are there with what I was trying to do, the recommendations I made”, she argued.
Former Director of Water and Sewerage
Department (W&SD), Mrs Perline R. Scatliffe- Leonard is contesting
the Seventh District as an Independent candidate in the 2023 elections.
How she will make a difference in District?
The former W&SD Director said the issues with sewerage and water are national budget-related and are the responsibility of all thirteen elected members, not only the District Representative.
She pointed out that the difference with her is that she knows what to do and she will push to have it done.
“Of course, a District Representative is going to push, once the push is there; and they will get a lot of push here because this representative knows what needs to be done”, she declared.
Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard continued by indicating that unlike her former role, as District Representative her approach will be more hands-on.
“She knows the plan. She knows what needs to be there to get it done. And so that energy will be there to get it done. It’s no need to go and ask engineers and administrators again about this. We need to get it done, it’s gonna be done”.
According to Scatliffe- Leonard, there are budgets specific to each District and the funds for various projects are separate.
Hence, she noted, when it comes to community projects the money is there and there will be no stopping her since she knows what to do.
What sets her apart from other candidates?
The former W&SD boss said she grew up in the Seventh District and as such her capabilities are well-known.
“When you set about to representing people, you have to be open, you have to be transparent, honest, integrity and you have to understand governance and accountability to the ‘t’…I stand on those principles, and, you know, everyone who is in contesting must deliver themselves accordingly. This is the District where I grew up. This is the District that raised me”, Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard noted.
She said while she will not seek to make a comparison with other candidates, she will leave it up to the District to analyse and make a decision after hearing the commentaries.
The territory continues to be plagued by
water and sewerage woes. This has been happening before and during the
tenure of Perline R. Scatliffe-Leonard as Director of Water and Sewerage
'Let’s put the plans to work'
Mrs Scatliffe- Leonard explained nevertheless that she is focused on genuinely delivering herself to the community.
“That’s my strength and I am going to speak with them and see where they go. They have to make a decision, whether they want to continue or whether they want somebody who they know is gonna push for them”, she said.
Asked about one of the things she will be looking to execute once elected, the District candidate said there is much to be done.
“From my former position, I can tell you, the plans are there. Let’s put the plans to work…to put the plans to work we have to ensure that the resources are there”, she said.