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Aug. 8, 2006 – Senator Celestino A. White, Sr. acknowledged Governor Charles Turnbull for his recent initiatives to discuss with the new Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthone, the possible land swap with the National Park on St. John for the construction of a new school but reminded the Governor of his request for a similar land swap of the Warren E. Brown and Donoe Housing communities under HUD.
In a letter to Governor Turnbull dated June 13, 2006, I informed the Chief Executive that I have forwarded to the Legal Counsel of the Legislature a drafting request which authorizes the Government of the Virgin Islands to negotiate the purchase or exchange of the parcels of land formerly known as Warren E. Brown and the Donoe Housing Community complexes for the purpose of constructing affordable housing since the Virgin Islands Housing Authority has abandoned both properties, stated Senator White.
The Government of the Virgin Islands gave the Virgin Islands Housing Authority several acres of land on the west end of St. Thomas for the purpose of constructing new affordable housing. To date, nothing has been done, indicated Senator White.
"I have asked the Governor, in his anticipated meeting with the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, Orlando J. Cabrera, to discuss this very important issue on my behalf as land is scarce on St. Thomas and private developers have shown great interest in constructing affordable housing communities with no financial investment by the government. "Why are our leaders so afraid of the so-called Big Brother federal government? Why should our people be deprived of homeownership opportunities due to the shortage of land while HUD has two suitable locations we can use, one at Warren E. Brown and the other at Estate Donoe?
"I am looking for a more aggressive approach from the Governor in opening dialogue with HUD to place these two prime locations under the inventory of the local government for housing purposes," concluded Senator White.