Aug. 2, 2002 – When Sen. Adelbert Bryan walked into the Legislative Conference Room in Frederiksted on Friday morning for a meeting of his Economic Development, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Committee, he found himself alone.
None of his committee colleagues — Sens. Donald "Ducks" Cole, Roosevelt David, Emmett Hansen II, Norman Jn Baptiste, Vargrave Richards and Celestino A. White Sr. — were there.
Nor were any of the 35 representatives of mainly government but also some business sector offices and agencies — ranging from the governor to cruise line executives to the members of the Public Services Commission — who had been "invited" to testify.
The stated purpose of the meeting was "to receive written recommendations/proposals to formulate a plan for the economic recovery of St. Croix in particular and the entire United States Virgin Islands in general." The hearing on St. Croix and a similar one to follow on St. Thomas had been scheduled, postponed and rescheduled three times in recent months.
Saying "the interest is not here," Bryan proceeded to adjourn the Friday morning session. A press release from the Legislature's Office of Public Affairs on St. Croix later Friday stated that the committee's parallel hearing scheduled for Monday on St. Thomas also has been "canceled until further notice."
It was not the first no-show experience for Bryan at a meeting of the committee he chairs. On Feb. 26, the veteran St. Croix senator also adjourned a hearing after just two of 13 "invited" government officials and three of his six committee colleagues showed up.
Bryan had called that meeting to investigate how the Water and Power Authority calculates billing charges, the status of payments to WAPA by the V.I. Housing Authority and the Housing Parks and Recreation Department, and whether the Public Services Commission had recently authorized an increase for utilities, or had any rate increase pending.
Last September, Bryan resigned as chair of the committee and as vice president of the 24th Legislature after his colleagues declined to pass a bill he submitted. In November, he made his resignation as vice president official by means of a resolution but kept the committee chairmanship — and won legislative funding for a new economic recovery commission which he proposed to head. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull subsequently vetoed that idea.
Those "invited" to testify Friday were Gov. Charles W. Turnbull; Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II; Delegate Donna M. Christensen; Attorney General Iver Stridiron; Police Commissioner Franz Christian; Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett; Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards; Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch; Public Finance Authority director of finance and administration Kenneth Mapp; Education acting Commissioner Noreen Michael; Bureau of Economic Research director Lauritz Mills; Economic Development Authority director Frank Schulterbrandt; EDA assistant executive Nadine Marchena; Warren Bush, Small Business Development Center director; Alphonso Franklin, Our Town Frederiksted president; Frank Fox and Cassan Pancham, presidents of the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John Chambers of Commerce; John Deerkoski, president, PE & Associates; Giora Israel, vice president for strategic planning, Carnival Corp.; John Tercek, vice president for development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Inc.; Glenn Rothgeb, WAPA acting executive director; Carol Burke, William Lomax, Andrew Rutnik, G. Luz James, Ira Hobson and Claude Molloy, WAPA board members; Keithley Joseph, PSC executive director; and Desmond Maynard, Luther Renee, Jerris Browne, Valencio Jackson, Alric Simmonds, Alecia Wells and Verne David, PSC members.
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