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From left, USVI Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson, Executive Director Daryl Griffith, and Chief Financial Officer Valdez Shelford testify before the Senate Finance Committee. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

USVI Has Housing Crisis, HFA Head Tells Senators

Lawmakers and administration officials agreed that housing in the U.S. Virgin Islands is in crisis, while talking Tuesday during the Senate's Committee on Finance hearing on the the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget for the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority.
George Dudley testifies before the Senate Finance Committee. (Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Bill Seeks to Expand Hotel Development Act

A bill to amend the USVI's Hotel Development Act, allowing hotels that suffered storm damage to use the financial tools to help finance their recovery, was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee.

Ferry Companies Provide Audits For Subsidies That Never Come

Ferry companies haven’t received needed government subsidies due to audits that were allegedly never handed in to the Department of Public Works, but the attorney who represents the territory’s franchise ferry companies, Maria Tankenson-Hodge, said the audits were handed in and, in fact, during a time when audits were not even required to obtain the subsidies.
A panel of government agency representatives testify on their departments' hurricane preparedness plans. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Senators “Frustrated” with State of Hurricane Preparedness

Already into the 2019 hurricane season, which started June 1, several senators said they were “frustrated” and “disappointed” about the lack of preparedness of V.I. government entities should another natural disaster strike.
Westin St. John is scheduled to reopen in January, but as a full timeshare, not a part-resort–part time share as it had been.

Westin Asks to Cut Back Staff Requirement

The Westin St. John Hotel Company has had compliance issues keeping a mandatory 250 employees and Tuesday asked to modify its application with the Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission to employ a minimum of 150 full-time employees, 100 fewer employees than the original application arrangement.
Sen. Allison Degazon (D-STT) at Tuesday's Finance Committee hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature)

Frett-Gregory Disputes Blyden’s Account of Legislature Reorganization

Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory said Senate Majority Leader Marvin Blyden was disingenuous about why the legislative majority saw fit to rearrange Senate positions and Blyden responded he was up front and the melee is unnecessary.

NOAA Supports New Fishery Management Plans

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has initiated an island-based management approach since 2012, providing autonomy to agencies like the Caribbean Fishery Management Council, which has now approved plans to further embrace island-based fishing management.
Ulla Muller Elementary School students celebrate as they hear the announcement that they captured second place. (Bethaney Lee photo)

Tight Race Determines Kids Coal Pot Cooking Victory

The scent of turmeric wafted through the Emancipation Gardens as students representing the Seventh-day Adventist School were announced as the winners of the V.I. Police Department’s second annual youth culinary event.
Boundaries of the U.S. Caribbean Exclusive Economic Zone, divided into three areas to recognize their distinct nature and conditions.

Fishery Council Plans Separate Rules for USVI, Puerto Rico

The Caribbean Fishery Management Council approved plans to change the framework and restructure the agency which will differentiate catch limits and fishing regulations in Puerto Rico from the V.I.

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