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FYI: Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville

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On Monday Senator Juan Figueroa-Serville voiced his outrage at the Consensus Majority's handling of his bill to fund a Latin Music Festival for St. Croix. "I wish to make it very clear to the people of the Virgin Islands, especially St. Croix that Senator Usie R. Richards and his colleagues of the Consensus Majority who were present at the Finance committee meeting hearing of Tuesday April 19, to amend my legislation concerning a Latin Music Festival, misinterpreted the intent of my bill," said Senator Figueroa-Serville.
Senator Serville went on to say, "My intent was not to appropriate funding from the Tourism Advertising Revolving fund to give it to two local committees for the purposes of supporting their activities. Let me make it clear, I do support and commend both the VI/Puerto Rican Friendship committee and the Frederiksted Economic Development Association very much. I am proud of their considerable contributions to the enhancement of our culture, especially on St. Croix. However, to take the $300,000 I was requesting for an event to stimulate St. Croix' economy by means of event tourism and place it in these committees whose main purpose is to celebrate local commemorations, was a very fiscally irresponsible act by Senator Richards."
Senator Figueroa-Serville said the Majority usurped his legislation to gain favor with the Virgin Islands people. "Senator Richards and his Majority tried to gain political mileage by dividing the funding between these two grass root organizations simply because they had the power to the vote. I will further impress upon the fact, the Consensus Majority of the 26th Legislature has not proposed powerful tangible legislation that addresses the economic development needs of St. Croix, and I, a Minority Caucus member have done so in less than 100 days."
Senator Figueroa-Serville said music festivals generate millions of dollars for its host country. "Having a well marketed Latin Music Festival on St. Croix that would coincide with the VI/Puerto Rican Friendship celebrations would have been excellent, to have new tourists come from off island and spend new money in our fragile economy. That was the intent of my legislation, to reach people of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands, and to say the least. Well-coordinated music festivals in the Caribbean have been known to generate at least $20 million dollars into their respective island economies."
The funds are available, Senator Figueroa-Serville said. "Senator JnBaptiste was able to confirm through the legislative Post Auditor during the hearing that a total of $8.5 million dollars was uncommitted and available through the fund. Do the math! Commissioner Pamela C. Richards refused to tell the committee how the funds were supposedly "committed." I was able to prove my argument initially with quantifiable statistics that support the continuous growth of the Tourism Revolving fund annually by means of the Hotel Occupancy Tax. They refused to listen."
Senator Figueroa-Serville concluded by saying, "If such well organized, marketed and planned events have been huge successes in the Caribbean, why would Commissioner Richards kill something that can be good for St. Croix? Why would St. Croix Majority members vote against economic Development for St. Croix?

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