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Friday, May 24, 2024


Oct. 12, 2001– Funding from Congress to cancel the $45 million Virgin Islands Hurricane Hugo Community Disaster Loan may come as soon as next week.
In June, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2 million to cover the cost of canceling the outstanding balance on the disaster loan that the U.S. government provided after the devastating storm in 1989. On Thursday, Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen said the FY 2002 Department of Interior appropriations conference bill was filed, paving the way for passage of the measure sometime next week.
The delegate said the action is unprecedented in Congress and is significant to the V.I. government's fiscal health, since it will save $9 million in annual loan payments.
"In light of the exacerbation of our economic difficulties since the terrorist attack, this spells good news for the territory's treasury," she said.
Christensen testified before the Appropriations Committee in early May, asking it to include funds to cancel the territory's Hugo Community Disaster Loan in the 2002 funding bill. Last year, Congress appropriated an initial $500,000 to make it possible for the loan to be cancelled this year.
The funding for the cancellation costs will cover the re-estimated loan balance and interest. The new balance on the load debt will be just over $1 million.
The re-estimate of the Hugo loan was done under the Federal Credit Reform Act at the behest of the V.I. government.
"I want to thank Governor Turnbull and his Washington counsel for their support in making this possible," Christensen said. "I also want to thank the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Interior Appropriations subcommittee for their support of my request to cancel the Hugo loan."
Meanwhile, the Turnbull administration in May asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to have $160 million in principal and interest owed on the Hurricane Marilyn disaster loan forgiven. Hurricane Marilyn struck the territory in 1995.

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