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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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CONTRACTORS BOARD APPROVED

Answering a critical need in the territory, legislators created a new board Wednesday that will regulate the construction industry in the Virgin Islands.
Sen. Lorraine Berry sponsored the bill which sparked lively debate among the senators. Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd wanted to know if individuals building homes of their own would be affected. Berry said no, the bill would apply to licensed contractors only. However, these contractors must now obtain a license from the newly created V.I. Board of General Construction Contractors.
The board will be established within the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, and will consist of seven members, including the DLCA commissioner or his designee, and six others appointed by the governor.
One of the first license requirements will be a one-year island residency prior to application. The applicant must also have had a previous license from another jurisdiction, or prior experience. The residency requirement doesn't apply to territory residents who have been off-island.
In arguing for passage of the bill, Berry said, "A sound regulatory board will deal with complaints from aggrieved homeowners." It also will provide remedial measures including jurisdiction to subpoena and prosecute witnesses, she said.
Berry noted the unscrupulous contractors who have taken advantage of local residents after storms in the past few years.
"This measure should weed out those who have compounded homeowners' woes," she said.
The bill was passed almost unanimously with 13 affirmative votes. Sen. Adelbert "Bert" Bryan voted no, and Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen was absent.

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