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Only Three Senators Show Up to Question Health, Waste-Management Nominees

Feb. 4, 2008 — Senators Monday posed questions about current issues on St. Croix to two nominees being considered for government board appointments, even though it was evident senators would take no action on the appointments and questionable whether one of the government boards would survive the year.
Only three senators — Usie Richards, Carlton Dowe and James Weber III — attended the Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting in Frederiksted. Without a quorum, no action could be taken.
Imelda N. Dizon is the governor's nominee for the St. Croix Board of Directors, V. I. Government Hospitals and Health Facilities Corporation. Llewellyn G. Reed II, the other nominee at the meeting, was up for his second term on the V. I. Waste Management Authority Board of Directors.
Senate President Usie R. Richards asked whether Reed had any thoughts on the dismantling of the Waste Management Authority as declared in the governor's State of the Territory Address.
"I am only familiar with what I have read," Reed said.
Richards asked Reed if he knew why the governor would take such action. Reed answered that he had no idea as to the governor's reasoning behind dismantling the semi-autonomous agency and placing it under his direct supervision.
Sen. Weber III asked Reed if he thought WMA should be dismantled.
Reed said personally he didn't think the authority should be dismantled. The authority is vital because there needs to be an owner and someone to hold accountable, he said.
Dowe, chairman of the committee, questioned Reed on the status of the Anguilla landfill. Reed said he knows orders are to close the landfill by 2009. Richards asked if he knew where the new site for the landfill would be.
Reed said it is on private property in the same area as Anguilla. He couldn't disclose anything else because negotiations are taking place. He added they must extinguish the underground fire burning there, and they are assessing that situation.
According to Reed, his vision for VIWMA is to ensure that the authority provides territory-wide collection, treatment and disposal services in a manner that will preserve the environment for future generations, employing education and transparency of operations to build an agency that will serve as a model throughout the Caribbean.
"Educating and changing the behavior of the people of the Virgins Islands is essential to preserve paradise," Reed said.
During Dizon's questioning, she was asked if she is aware of the exorbitant bill the hospital owes the Water and Power Authority and the scheduled payment.
"I am fully aware of the $4 million owed to the authority," Dizon said. "I am just getting on board, so I'm not totally informed on payment."
The senators continued with questions on conflicts of interest, her experience in the private health-care sector, the nursing situation in the territory and more.
Dizon who has an advanced medical and surgical nursing degree, told committee members that, if confirmed, one of her goals is to see that the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center accomplishes its mission by providing top-quality health care at all times.
Another aspect of her goals is to develop policies, rules and regulations that provide for the efficient and effective operation of the hospital. She would also like to ensure that the hospital maximizes revenues while ensuring that quality health services are available to V.I. residents at all times regardless of ability to pay.
Dizon has been a resident of St. Croix for 41 years and has served as vice chairman of the V.I. Casino Control Commission for eight years. Her objectives also include working with the board in developing positive relationships with the administration so that jointly, the hospital's mission can be achieved and, most importantly, to see that the administration continues to explore all avenues possible to provide top-quality patient care.
This would include hiring and retaining qualified employees, cultivating good communication between board, administration, staff and employees to build a climate that promotes wholesome working relationships, employee satisfaction and patient satisfaction, she said.
Because a quorum was not established in Monday's Rules Committee, no vote was taken on the nominations. The nominees were told that the committee would contact them later.
Committee members absent Monday were Sens. Shawn Malone, Carmen Wesselhoft, Celestino White and Alvin Williams.
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