June 16, 2003 – The federal Department of Homeland Security has awarded the Virgin Islands nearly $4.1 million for domestic preparedness under the federal agency's Fiscal Year 2003 state and territorial funding program.
The grant of $4,085,000 will be made to the Law Enforcement Planning Commission, Delegate Donna M. Christensen said. The money, she said in a release, is earmarked for "first-responder preparedness and to mitigate the costs of enhanced security at critical infrastructure facilities during the period of hostilities with Iraq and future periods of heightened threats."
In addition, Christensen said, the Virgin Islands — and every other territory and state — will receive a $30,000 grant to develop a multi-year "business case" within the next six months outlining a strategy for managing future funding for two purposes:
– To implement map modernization.
– To increase territorial and local capabilities for developing and maintaining flood hazard data.
"This is only the first phase of funding for the Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate Department," the release stated. "Phase 2 of this funding is still being finalized."
The awards follow Homeland Security grants totaling nearly $3.5 million to five V.I. port entities that were announced on Friday by Christensen for the federal Port Security and Operation Safe Commerce programs. Those grants were issued on June 12 under the direction of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and are part of the Container Security Initiative implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the delegate.
The port grants comprise nearly $1.5 million for the Port Authority, more than $1.3 million for Hovensa, $359,103 for The West Indian Co., $187,810 for the Water and Power Authority, and $64,803 for Sea Star Line. The funding is to be used for monitoring cargo arriving at U.S. ports in a cooperative effort with other nations to identify, target and search out high-risk cargo, Christensen said.
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