Dec. 16, 2003 — In a statement released today, Reuben Fenton, president of the St. Croix Branch of the Republican Party of the Virgin Islands, endorsed the proposed casino licensing deal between the new owners of the Carambola Resort and the Government of the Virgin Islands "as a creative method to stimulate the St. Croix economy."
On Dec. 11, the Senate Committee of the Whole heard testimony on St. Croix on a bill that would amend the Casino and Resort Act of 1995 so that the Carambola Resort owners, JS Carambola, LLP, could automatically qualify for a casino license. (See: "Views Mixed on Carambola Casino License Deal.")
"The key today for economic development in the Virgin Islands is to grow our economy through public-private sector partnerships," said Fenton, adding that ventures like the Carambola project are "a win-win situation for the people in the Territory."
Arguing that the St. Croix economy needs immediate economic stimulus, Fenton said approving the Carambola casino project would "infuse $42.5 million in expansion costs [into the St. Croix economy] and create 125 jobs during the construction phase and lead to more employment by creating an additional 150 permanent jobs and saving the 95 current employees."
Currently JS Carambola, LLP plans to renovate the Carambola Resort by constructing a 10,000 square-foot gaming facility, a 15,000-square-foot conference center, and adding 100 additional hotel rooms, increasing its room capacity to 256. However, the development project hinges on ratification of the amended bill.
In his statement Fenton urged St. Croix's seven senators "to stand and be counted for economic improvement on St. Croix," adding that "inaction and lip service may lead to the closure of the Carambola Hotel and the layoff of 95 employees."
The bill is on the agenda of the legislative session scheduled for this Wednesday.
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