The Caribbean is made up of a beautiful series of tropical islands. I grew up there. No matter where I am located physically in this world, for me, the Caribbean is home.
Over the years, its natural beauty has been affected by the arrival of major corporations. Local residents complain but their voices are not heard vis-a-vis the loud shouts and deep pockets of the corporations. One such corporation is Hess Oil on the island of St. Croix.
For most who pump petrol in their cars every day, the process a necessary means to an end. Many are guided, especially in this difficult economy, by the price tag. What becomes an economical deal for some translates into further complications to others, like the locals on the island.
In the still of the night, when darkness is at its strongest, while residents sleep soundly, the flue opens without forewarning. Out of the chimney stack bellows thick, black smoke with the most noxious fumes. Locals who live downwind are startled from their sleep. They jump out of bed and rush to close their windows because fresh air is no longer. Headaches, migraines, sicknesses like cancer develop in their bodies with every breath they take.
Supply and demand. The more petrol pumped at the gas stations, the more oil Hess must refine to keep up with the demand. Deterioration of the quality of life of the locals has become acceptable 'collateral damage'. Although they lift their collective voices to complain to governmental rulers, there has been little to no response.
This is a day in the life of residents on St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands.
*For more information, review this 1999 Washington Post article. Since then, the situation has gotten worse but who will raise their voice to help them?