Category: Senator Myron D. Jackson


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ST. THOMAS– On Wednesday, Members of the 32nd Legislature, convened in Legislative Session at the Capitol Building. Led by Senate President Myron Jackson, the Body considered zoning requests, CZM permits and several measures.

The meeting began with the consideration of the following Nominees:

  • Nelson Petty, Jr.– Commissioner, Dept. of Public Works
  • Elizabeth Armstrong (Reappointment)– Member, WAPA Authority Board (STX)
  • Stacy Bourne– Member, VI Casino Control Commission (STT/STJ)
  • Hubert Turnbull– Member, WAPA Authority Board (STT/STJ)
  • Julio Rhymer, Sr.– Director, Office of Management & Budget (OMB)
  • John A. Quelch– Member, University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees (STX)
  • Dina Perry-Malone– Member, VI Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (STT/STJ)

All Nominees were approved, however, Senators shared their concerns regarding their nominations and current issues in their respective agencies. “Our margin for error is minute,” Sen. DeGraff expressed. After thanking the Body, Nelson Petty, Jr., updated the Body on the status of Capital projects in the territory. “My focus has been on our capital projects and I am pleased to report three projects on St. Croix currently in the procurement phase and on St. Thomas, preconstruction began yesterday with the Veterans Drive project”.

The second block of the meeting considered the following Coastal Zone Management Permits and Zoning requests:

  • Bill No. 32-0153 – An Act ratifying the Governor’s approval of Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZJ-20-11W issued to David McDaniel and Cheryl McDaniel. The permit was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0154 – An Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-2-16 (L&W) issued to DUN RUN GOLF, LLC, for the continued use and occupancy of the existing reverse osmosis plant with 12” diameter, 140 feet intake line and 12-inch, 650 feet long outfall line located at Plot No. C-2-Q Estate Lovenlund, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The permit was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0142 – An Act to rezone Parcel No. 13AA Estate Contant, No. 2 Cruz Bay Quarter St. John from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to R-4 (Residential-Medium Density). The zoning request was approved and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0181 – An Act granting a zoning use variance for Parcel No. 171 Estate Contant-Enighed, Cruz Bay, St. John Virgin Islands, to allow for the operation of a car rental business. The zoning request was passed and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0182 – An Act to rezone Parcel No. 4-A Estate Cruz Bay Town, Cruz Bay Quarter, St. John, from B-3 (Business-Scattered) to B2 (Business-Secondary/Neighborhood). The zoning request was approved as adapted and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0187 – An Act rezoning Parcel No. 6D Estate Thomas, New Quarter, St. Thomas from R-3 (Residential-Medium Density) to B-2 (Business-Secondary Neighborhood) and from the B-2 zoning designation granting a use variance. The zoning request passed in its original format and forwarded to the Governor.

“We make a way for the big businesses, but not for the small players. We need to show them that we are sensitive to the small businesses, families,  and individuals trying to establish wealth,” stated Non-Majority Leader, Sen. Positive T.A. Nelson. Similar comments were expressed by the members of the Body after two zoning requests were removed from the agenda during the 2nd block.


The following bills were considered after press time:


  • Bill No. 32-0168–An Act amending Title 22 VI Code, Chapter 39, designating current sections 951 through 983 subchapterI, Section 984 as Subchapter II, and by adding a subchapter III entitled, “The Standard Forfeiture Law of 2018 for Life Insurance,” which meets the accreditation in its model laws and updates the insurance laws of the Virgin Islands of the United States placing them on par with other United States jurisdictions thereby affording greater and more effective protection to the policyholders in the Virgin Islands. Sponsored by Sen. Kurt Vialet, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0065–An Act to appropriate the sum of $500,000 to the Economic Development Authority for “energy efficient” retrofitting of the Industrial Park on the island of St. Croix. Sponsored by Sen. Neville James, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0178–A Resolution to honor to commend the ALL HANDS and HEART-SMART RESPONSE. Proposed by Sen. Jean Forde, the measure was approved and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0188–An Act appropriating $3,500,000 from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund for maintenance dredging of the Schooner Bay Channel. The measure, sponsored by Senators Kurt Vialetand Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, was approved and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0147–An Act amending Title 27 VI Code, Chapter 1, Subchapter I relating to the special restricted licensing of physicians and subchapter II (a) relating to the practice of telemedicine; amending Title 19, Chapter 15, relating to the licensing, inspection and regulation of healthcare facilities and health services; and amending Title 33, Chapter 3, relating to exemptions from the payment of gross receipts on all Medicaid and Medicare payments. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly, was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0175–An Act amending Title 29 VI Code, Chapter 12 to strengthen the Economic Development Commission. Sponsored by Sen. Kurt Vialet, the measure was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0189–An Act amending Title 18 VI Code to reprogram the appropriation of Act No. 7904 to conduct the 2018 primaries and makes the appropriation available until expended. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jean Forde, was approved as amended and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0059–An Act to amend Title 29 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 9 relating to regulation of billboards. This bill enlarges the definition of “advertising device and bans the use of changeable 6 electronic variable message signs, digital billboards or smartboards that have animation, movement, or the appearance or optical illusion of movement. Sponsored by Sen. Myron Jackson, the measure was approved by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.


  • Bill No. 32-0024–An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 1, section 1 to provide for the position of Curator and amending title 31 Virgin Islands Code to add a chapter 42 establishing the Preservation of Historic Government Collections Act and for other purposes. Sponsored by Senate President Myron Jackson, the measure was approved as amended by the Full Body and forwarded to the Governor.


The Bills can be accessed in their entirety on our website via Bill Tracker module:









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St. Thomas – The Virgin Islands Olympic Committee, Irvin “Brownie” Brown, Delano “Pressure” Brown, Scott Bradley and Leona Wheatley took center stage at the Capitol Building on Tuesday, as members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Sen. Myron Jackson, hosted the Perma Plaque Ceremony in honor of their outstanding contributions to the Virgin Islands and beyond.


“It is a privilege to recognize the Perma Plaque honorees who have contributed in the areas of education, sports, athletes, youth services and reggae contributions to our society. All of the honorees have made a mark on our community by enriching collective memory and spreading the beauty of the Virgin Islands across our shores,” said President Jackson.


Resolution No. 1836 – Bill No. 31-0450 honored the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee for contributing to sports in the Territory. The Committee has groomed local athletes who ultimately competed worldwide in the Olympics.


Resolution No. 1827-Bill No.0254 honored international reggae artist “Pressure” Brown for championing the Virgin Islands to places as far as Japan, and whose multiple albums include songs hitting the Top 10 Billboard charts.


Resolution No. 1829 – Bill No. 31-0262 recognized radio personality “Brownie” Brown, an accomplished musician and cultural icon for reaching a milestone of over 50 years on the air.


Resolution No. 1834-Bill No. 31-0382 was presented to My Brother’s Workshop founder Scott Bradley, for the non-profit’s success in teaching at-risk young men and women life skills such as woodworking and culinary arts.


Resolution No. 7833-Bill No. 31-0261 noted Leona Wheatley’s accomplishments as

an educator and former principal for the Leonard Dober Elementary School and Emmanuel Benjamin Oliver Elementary School.


Soulful renditions of the anthems were sung by Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Concert Choir directed by Music Director Malvern Gumbs, while vocalists Lorna Freeman and Gylchris Sprauve rounded out the program with a fitting tribute to the honorees and audience with his original composition “Valiant Virgin Isles.” Reverend Dr. Winelle Kirton-Roberts of the Memorial Moravian Church conducted the opening and closing prayers.


Senators Jackson, Positive Nelson, Dwayne DeGraff and Janette Millin Young, as well as Former Senators Justin Harrigan and Kenneth L. Gittens were present. Similar ceremonies are planned for St. Croix and St. John.                                                                                       ###


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Senate President Myron D. Jackson would like to advise the public that the Legislature of the Virgin Islands will be closed on all three islands from Tuesday, January 2 to Friday, January 5, 2018. Normal operating hours are scheduled to resume at legislative facilities across the territory beginning January 8, 2017.

“May the New Year bring Joy, Peace & Happiness to you and your families as we continue to celebrate our Crucian Christmas Festival 2017-2018,” President Jackson said. “The Festival is integral part of Virgin Islands culture. As we honor our diverse community, I would also like to wish Crucians of Hispanic heritage best wishes for the upcoming Three Kings Day observance.”

Jackson on Thursday also extended gratitude to the Virgin Islands community for their patience and understanding following the long displacement of the Legislature’s facilities in Frederiksted, St. Croix, following damages sustained during Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The offices have been temporarily relocated to the Hamilton House Building 56 & 56A King Street and 36-C Strand Street, across from Crucian Gold, in Christiansted.

On St. Thomas, the Public Affairs & Post Audit Divisions are currently moving from their current site at 48 Kongens Gade to the former Cable Office site at 40A Norre Gade, centrally located closer to the Legislature’s main offices at the Capitol Building in Charlotte Amalie.

“As we open the new year, we are pleased to announce that we have found more conducive work spaces for our employees which will enable us to serve the needs of the community more effectively,” President Jackson said. “As we settle into the new locations, we look forward to continuing to work together in the recovery and rebuilding of the Virgin Islands.”



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ST. THOMAS – Over twenty government, non-profit, and community stakeholders clarified the scope, sustainability, and organizational structure needed to revitalize the Jose Antonio Jarvis Elementary School and Complex during a three-day symposium that wrapped up Monday at the Capitol Building on St. Thomas. Hosted by the Office of Senate President Myron D. Jackson, phase two of the “Centennial Legacy Project/In Search of Identity hashed out several details and fostered a shared commitment to transform the Hospital Ground landmark into a cultural corridor to include a Virgin Islands Museum, Civic/Cultural Center, and Apprenticeship Learning Center. A similar symposium will begin tomorrow on St. Croix to discuss the rehabilitation of the Old Military Barracks in Christiansted into an Academy of Architecture, Building Crafts and Cultural Heritage.

Guest presenters included Jackson, architects Brian Turnbull, Hildegunn Gronningssaeter, Stacey Bourne, Ulla Lunn, engineer Sergio Fox, and David McDonald, and Nadine Marchena Kean.

“In Search of Identity” began long before the concept of the Centennial. It has been effective leading up to the Centennial. It began with the aspect of who we are in the Virgin Islands and the issue of identity. For decades, we have struggled with this,” said Sen. Jackson.  “The last three days we talked about the concept of preserving the J. Antonio Jarvis School in its original state and revitalizing it into a museum that teaches history, industrial arts, cultural arts and cabinet making.”

Some of the areas discussed with stakeholders included the dynamics of identity, the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States, collaboration with the Danish West Indian Society and other organizations, and ways to re-purpose the J. Antonio Jarvis School into a museum.

“The Danish Government with matching funds from the U.S.V.I. was contributing $10 million for the St. Thomas-St. John District and the St. Croix District; totally $20 million. However, because of the financial state of the Territory, the Danish Government has agreed to donate $20 million with a contribution of $150,000 from the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Sen. Jackson. “It is a pleasure to have stakeholders at the symposium to discuss how we can expand our cultural tourism product.”

Nadine Marchena-Kean, Director of the Enterprise Zone, shared the details of transforming the J. Antonio Jarvis School into a cultural museum. “The concept of the living museum is that it will constantly be changing,” she said.

It will cover a timeline of 200-250 years of Virgin Islands history, and a portion will feature a permanent collection of antiques, paintings and photos. There will be an interactive component for children, and exhibits could rotate quarterly featuring the culture of the Virgin Islands. Leasing a space for a small café, bookshop, souvenir shop, and rental space for hosting community events such as book signings will sustain the daily operations of the museum financially, stakeholders agreed.

Ulla Lunn, Architect at the Association of Historical Houses in Denmark (BYFO), stated that to establish a “Friends of the Museum” with different levels of donations, grants, and to have various prices for family passes, tourists and local visitors will also generate funds. Lunn added that hiring two staff members to oversee the museum that is 10,000 sq.ft. and will minimize operational costs.

In addition to financial sustainability, other topics included developing cultural educational initiatives, mentorship programs, a museum app, community center, comprehensive media package, hiring grant writers, youth heritage presentations, and the possibility of the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute administering the programs.

The proposed architectural design of the Jose Antonio Jarvis Elementary School and Complex includes fine arts on the second floor, music and dance will be on the main floor, and administrative office and storage are on the lower level. The proposed outside features a historic ruin park, courtyard, shaded amphiteater space, My Brother’s Workshop and a garden.

Centennial Legacy Project stakeholders include the Virgin Islands Transfer Centennial Commission, Government of the Virgin Islands and Denmark, Association of Historical Houses in Denmark (BYFO), The Royal Danish Academy, of Fine Arts, University of the Virgin Islands, Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark, V.I. Department of Education, V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, V.I. Department of Public Works, V.I. Department of Tourism, V.I Department of Property and Procurement, Economic Development Authority, My Brother’s Workshop, the St. Thomas Historic Preservation Commission, Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, the Office of the Public Defender, and We From Upstreet, Inc. and the Office of the Senate President Myron Jackson, 32nd Legislature.

The “In Search of Identity” symposium will continue at Balter’s Restaurant in Christiansted, St. Croix, on Tuesday, December 5th 10 a.m. to 3 pm; Wednesday, December 6th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursday, December 7th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. St. Croix Legacy Project Director Gerville Larsen and architect Felicia Farrante will also present.





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St. THOMAS – Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, voted to table Bill No. 32-0150 and approved Bill No. 32-0160 for the Community Disaster Loan, on Friday during the third day of Legislative Session at the Capitol Building.

At the beginning of Legislative Session, with a vote of 10 yays, 1 nay and 4 not voting senators voted to remove Bill No. 32-0150 as it relates to the Community Disaster Loan off of the agenda. Afterwards, lawmakers replaced it with a revised version that is now known as Bill No. 32-0160.

“Several days ago, the governor sent down Bill No. 32-0150. It was requested that the language of the bill is revised into what it is today in regards to the Community Disaster Loan,” said Sen. Jackson. “There are challenges and disappointments of the decision of the Federal Government in the Community Disaster Loan. The ability of the Virgin Islands to sustain itself will set the framework and the mark for the future. Although there were not a lot of lives lost because of the hurricanes, the daily life of Virgin Islanders has been adversely affected.”

Bill No. 32-0160 seeks to authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands entered into one or more Federal Emergency Management Agency Community Disaster Loans for the purpose of financing existing essential functions of the Government Operations. It also limits the interest on Community Disaster Loan Promissory Notes to not exceed the interest rates required pursuant to the Stafford Act or eight percent not to exceed 25 years from the date of issuance.

“There are significant conditions attached to borrowing $300 million from the Federal Government. The sad part is we can not turn our backs to the money. We must take it,” said Sen. Brian Smith. “However, if we keep borrowing money, it can create human slaves with a noose around the neck. This can negatively affect generations to come.”

However, Sen. Novelle Francis stated that he is satisfied with this bill. “The Territory has experienced two Category 5 hurricanes. Thus far, there has not been one payless payday for government employees.”

Lawmakers also expressed concerns and offered suggestions for the Community Disaster Loan.

“It is unfair for the Federal Government to take advantage of the Virgin Islands and treat us like that. It is disrespectful for the governor to enter into contracts and loans with the Federal Government on the premise of repaying loans with monies that are not in our government coffers,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach.

Sen. Alicia “Chucky” Hansen stated that although borrowing from the Federal Government is necessary it should be minimized. “If we have to borrow monies then do it with leverage. Don’t maximize on loans just because we can. We need to reduce the number of loans borrowed,” she said.

Senators also offered amendments to the bill. The following amendments were voted and approved: Amendment No. 32-544 as it pertained to Virgin Islands Transparency Act, Amendment No. 32-550-is amended in section 2, page 4 striking “eight percent” and inserting “five percent” and Amendment No. 32-534- proceeds of the Community Disaster Loans will go towards the Government Retirement System and shall be deposited into the Health Insurance Fund.

Ultimately, lawmakers voted favorably for Bill No. 32-0160 as amended.

Separately, senators also voted and approved the following:

  • Bill No. 32-0161- An Act that appropriates the balance of funds from section 1of Act No. 7972 and section 2 Act No. 7973 for temporary office space and the purchase and building out of a permanent building to house the St. Croix Legislature Annex


  • Bill No. 32-0092- An Act amending Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11, relating to the establishment of a single Horse Racing Commission


  • Bill No. 32-0093- An Act amending Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 relating to horse racing adding Sections 215 through 230 to provide for anti-doping in the Horse Racing Industry in the Virgin Islands, and to amend certain Sections of the Title 32, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 21, Article XVI regarding the allocation of funds received from the Racino Tax


  • Bill No. 32-0157- An Act banning the burning of all fallen tees and other vegetative debris generated as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria

All items approved will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.

Senators present are Myron Jackson, Marvin Blyden, Dwayne DeGraff, Tregenza Roach, Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Janette Millin Young, Positive Nelson, Janelle Sarauw, Nereida Rivera O’Reilly, Jean Forde, Neville James, Brian Smith, Sammuel Sanes, Novelle Francis and Kurt Vialet.





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ST. THOMAS- Members of the 32nd Legislature, led by Senate President Myron Jackson, approved a nomination, a resolution, several coastal management permits and bills on Wednesday during Legislative Session at the Capitol Building.

Most lawmakers approved nominee Lloyd Bough, Jr. for Commissioner of the Department of Property and Procurement, and Bill No 32-0052, a resolution to honor and commend Allen Haynes for his contributions to the community as a police officer and healer.

Sen. Jackson stated he hoped Bough would continue to advocate for the care of government properties, residences and materials. He also supported the resolution.

“For thousands of years as a people we depended on tradition-bearers for healing,” said Sen. Jackson. “In terms of the centennial, for many years we had midwives. They are now restricted to assisting with the birth process in the hospitals. As a community, we once cared for our dead. Now we are restricted to two hours with them in the funeral homes. Tradition- bearers were eventually forced to discontinue their practices.”

Sen. Brian Smith had similar sentiments.

“For too long we have overlooked people in our community who served for several years, received an education and worked in the community. Mr. Bough is the epitome of leadership,” Sen. Smith said. “Talent is not something to be compared to a physician or chiropractor. Mr. Haynes dedicated his service throughout his career and daily activities. Somebody has to stand up for local talent.”

Although many of the senators expressed support for Bough, some were uncomfortable with voting in favor for Haynes.

“I am wary of sending this resolution forward,” said Sen. Tregenza Roach. “I would be endorsing a method of medical treatment that I would never do.”

Sen. Janette Millin Young also expressed concern. “I just wish that this resolution wasn’t weighing heavily on the medical aspect,” she said. “This may serve as an endorsement.”

Senators also considered and voted favorably for all the Coastal Zone Management Permits.

“All of the measures have to do with marine economic development and water safety. They are for continued use which means they are currently in use and the bills are an extension that allows the public to use what is already in place,” Sen. Jean Forde said. “As far as the installation of the moorings is concerned, they are put in place to ensure water safety. Overall, these measures are the beginning of a new industry in the Virgin Islands.”

The following Coastal Zone Permits were approved:

Bill No. 32-0114 – Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-3-16 (W) issued to RC Hotels (Virgin Islands) Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of an existing 8’ diameter x 130’ long seawater intake line to the RO Plant seaward of Parcel Nos 1&3 Estate Nazareth, and the installation of 6 swim buoys four moorings at Great Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Islands 3

Bill No. 32-0116 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-05-15W issued to Reef Ecology Foundation for continued use and occupancy of permanent moorings for day use only at frequently used dive site locations in the territorial waters surrounding the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0115 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-10-16W issued to the Anchorage Condominium Association for the continued use and occupancy of a 120 foot, three-inch seawater intake line which services its reverse osmosis plant and the continued use and occupancy of the submerged lands for six swimming buoys

Bill No. 32-0118 – An Act ratifying Major Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-4-16(W) issued to St. Thomas Yacht Club Owner, Inc. for the continued use and occupancy of a 110’-9” by 7’-8” dock with a 39’-6” by 8’- 6” “T” and a 335sq. ft. concrete bulkhead with a length of 58 linear feet, 3,500 sq. ft. of submerged land surrounding the dock, and one wooden pile located seaward of Parcel Nos. 8-1-1 and 8-58 Estate Nazareth, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0113 -. An act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-25-16W issued to Sanctuary Holding, LLC for the installation of eight mooring to be completed in two phases No. 23 Estate Frenchman’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0117 – An Act ratifying Minor Coastal Zone Permit No. CZT-33-16W issued to True Crew VI, LLC to install a private mooring and operate a “food boat” at Christmas cove area of Jersey Bay St. Thomas.

“In terms of economic development in the Virgin Islands the marine industry is a gold mine that will open many doors for businesses and it will encourage job growth in the community,” Sen. Dwayne DeGraff said.

The following bills were approved:

Bill No. 32-0002- An Act to authorize the Virgin Islands Government to purchase Estate Catherineberg from WICO by offsetting payments owed in lieu of taxes, as mandated by Act No. 5826, as amended and for other related purposes

Bill No. 32-0020 -An Act amending 3 V.I.C. Section §§ 6, 7, 631 and 640 relating to the composition of the Government Employees Services Commission and re-designating the GESC as the Government Employees and Retirees Health Insurance Board of Trustees and for other related purposes

Bill No. 32-0021- An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 1, Section 253, Title 3 Sections 256, 558, 562 to replace the Government Employees Services Commission with the Public Employees Relations Board; Section 643 to replace the GESC with the Division of Personnel” Title 17 Section 190 to replace the chairman of the Government Employees Services Commission with the Commissioner of Education; and repealing Title 3 Subchapter II and Title 23 Section 11 of the Virgin Islands Code

Bill No. 32-0038 – An Act amending Title 3, Chapter 11, Section 26b; Title 20, Section 436 Title 30, Section 15a; and Title 17, Section 475 providing for the acceptance of a Real ID as a valid form of identification for various senior citizen’s discounts 4

Bill No. 32-0039 – An Act amending Virgin Islands Code, Title 8, Chapter 1 Section 9, Subsection (a) to change the amount of Tavernkeeper Liquor Licenses (A) that can be in effect within the historic districts of the Virgin Islands

Bill No. 32-0040 – An act amending Title 1 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 11 commemorating the week of June 26th to July 3rd as Virgin Islands Freedom Week

Bill No. 32-0087- An Act to authorize the Government of the Virgin Islands, through the Department of Property and Procurement to purchase certain real property on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands for the completion of the Paul E. Joseph Stadium Project on the Island of St. Croix

Bill No. 32-0088 – An Act to provide for the reprogramming of funds appropriated from the Community Facilities Trust Account authorized under Act No 7012 for certain capital projects through the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation

Bill No. 32-0090- An Act amending Act 7897 to increase the Department of Human Services appropriation in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017; authorizing the Public Finance Authority to acquire and finance the acquisition of a residential skilled nursing home on the island of St. Thomas

Bill No. 32-0091- An Act amending Act No. 7911section 1increasing the amount of the appropriation from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund to the General Fund; providing a contribution from the Tourism Advertising Fund to the General Fund in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017

Bill No. 32-0094- An Act reprogramming $545,634.52 from any available funds in the Gross Receipt Tax Bond proceeds. Matching fund Bond or the Community Facilities Trust Account to fund emergency repairs and replacements at the Schneider Center

All measures approved by this body will be forwarded to the governor for further consideration.



Design Guidelines for Hurricane Resistant Buildings

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These design guidelines were produced in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, which devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands in September of 1989.
They are intended to be used as a guide to provide the general public with more information on building design and hurricanes and to foster the construction of structures which are better capable of withstanding hurricane force winds. The information in this booklet is provided for reference only. It is strongly recommended that anyone constructing or undertaking major repairs to a building should consult with their local architect for professional guidance before proceeding.

Hurricane Hugo has given us many lessons in building design. As we travel about the islands “reading” the damaged and non-damaged structures several observations surface and are worth repeating.

On St. Thomas, which was spared the full fury of the storm, winds are reported to have been a constant 130 to 135 MPH with reportedly documented gusts of 185 MPH. Observation of damage patterns also indicates that there were possibly tornadoes localized within the storm. Except in tornado zones it appears, on St. Thomas, that as a generalization the buildings which were well built with sufficient anchorage systems survived and the buildings which were not so well built blew away. On St. Croix, which experienced the full force of the wind with gusts above 200 MPH, such a generalization is harder to make. The whole island suffered devastation. The buildings that survived were both lucky and well built.

One building type rises out of the destruction as a winner against the storm and that is Traditional West Indian architecture. Both wooden and masonry traditional buildings survived the storm with minimal damage. The reasons for this will be discussed here in detail.

The building type, which, by observation, suffered the most damage, is the rigid frame, large span metal warehouse type of structure. These buildings are relatively less expensive to build, when compared with conventional construction and provide very large, unencumbered spaces within. Their negative quality is that they tend to be more susceptible to damage from high winds than conventional structures. Consideration should be given to increasing wind design loads and “x” bracing requirements when designing these structure for use in the Virgin Islands.


The architectural heritage of the Virgin Islands has its roots in the historical architecture of Northern Europe and New England due to the colonization and trading patterns starting in the seventeen century.

The first European settlers in the Caribbean built buildings that were similar to the kind of building they were used to in their homeland. These structures were not particularly suited to the tropical environment. Over the last several hundred years these buildings have been modified due to environment and climactic conditions so that they are functional in a tropical climate and we can see a “Caribbean Style” emerging with a distinct character of its own. This style of architecture, while undeniably charming, is also quite functional. Since climactic conditions have changed little over the last several hundred years this type of construction is still a valid way of building today. As we travel around the islands we see that it is these traditional buildings, that as a group, have survived the storm best.

The hip roof, with its steep pitch and four sides was originally designed and used to keep large amounts of snow from accumulating on the roof in northern winters. When transplanted to the Caribbean, the shape was retained, yet the design functions changed. The steep pitch provided a large volume of air space high in the building, which allowed the hot air to rise, and contributed to the cooling of the structure.

The four sloping sides of the roof provided minimal resistance to the wind and allowed the wind to blow over and around the roof regardless of wind direction.

Traditional West Indian hip roofs have no overhangs. The rafters stop at the edge of the walls. This design greatly lessens the potential for the wind to get up under the eaves and lift the roof off. (Fig. 1)

When compared with the typical “stateside, ranch type” of gable roof with its overhanging eaves and blunt ends (gables) you can see that this type of roof provides more opportunity for the wind to grab the roof around the edges and rip it

off. (Fig. 2)

Porches and galleries were added to West Indian hip roof structures as separate attached shed roofs, not connected to the main roof, to give sun and rain protection to the walls and openings. These porches and galleries are attached to the walls of the main roof and supported by columns along the outside edge, which gives them secure anchorage. (Fig. 3)

If the porches and galleries were to blow away in a storm, they could be attached so as not to take the main roof with them.

West Indian buildings also tend to have smaller, individual roofs, often as a result of the structure being built over a long period of time with additions added here and there. These smaller individual roofs do not provide as much of an airfoil for the wind to create lift as does a large monolithic roof which can act just like an airplane wing as the wind passes over it, creating a tremendous amount of lift which tends to make the roof literally to want to pop up into the sky and fly.

Both wood and masonry traditional buildings survived the storm on all three Virgin Islands.

Obviously a masonry building should be stronger than a wooden building. However, I have seen masonry structures, which were improperly constructed which collapsed, whereas properly constructed wooden structures survived. So it is important to be aware that it is not so much what material you build with, but how the whole structure is fastened together that becomes the key issue in the survival of a storm.

One of the truly amazing material lessons of hurricane Hugo is that of wood shingles. As a building covering they work amazingly well both on walls and on roofs. Again and again we have seen examples of both islands where this material is still intact. Probably it is due to the fact that if properly applied only 1/3 of the shingle is exposed to weather and 2/3 of the shingle is covered by layers of shingles above it.

Traditional wooden buildings survived the storm amazingly well. The typical wooden West Indian building has a post and beam wall system where the top and bottom plates are securely notched or tied to the studs. 4×4 studs are typically 3′-0″ on center, vertically with the same size member for a top and bottom plate. This frame is strengthened by diagonal bracing (called let-in bracing) at each corner. Properly installed let-in bracing is a major key to the survival of wooden structures. The exterior of the frame is then sheathed in wood siding or wooden T&G boards with shingles applied over it. This produces a very strong wooden box, which if properly attached to its foundation and its roof, can survive such a storm.

The basic concept for properly securing a structure to withstand hurricane force winds is very simple. Every major component of the structural system must be securely tied to each other and to the foundation so that there is a direct structural link between the roof and the ground.

Structural failure will occur first in the weakest link in this chain. Once failure occurs in one part of the structure then the domino theory comes into effect, and other adjacent parts of the structure begin to fall. Quite often we have seen indications that the buildings themselves appear to withstand the storm until hit by debris from adjacent buildings which then triggered the destructive chain reaction.

The following discussion will take you through some typical ways of developing anchorage systems within wood and masonry buildings.
Galvanized corrugated metal roofing has proven a good material to survive storms. Some of the following observations should be taken into account when installing galvanized roofing. (See guide specifications on back cover). In situations where galvanized roofing has blown off and left the wooden framing intact, it appears that it is the perlins to which the galvanized is nailed that is breaking away from the wooden rafters. Since wood rafters in this type of construction can be spaced as far apart as three feet it is recommended that these perlins be lag bolted (with a minimum of one 3/8″ x5″ lag bolt in each rafter) as well as nailed to the rafters. The galvanized roof is then screwed to the perlins. (Fig. 4)

In wooden framed roofs the end of the rafters should be strapped (with a 12 Ga. Galvanized metal hurricane strap) from the top of the rafter to the top plate if the plate is attached to a concrete ring beam, (Fig. 5) or directly to the underside of the top plate for a wood frame wall (or preferably directly to the studs where spacing allows.). (Fig. 6)

Traditional Danish West Indian hip roofs are constructed with truss rafters. A truss rafter is simply two rafters connected with a collar beam. (Fig. 7) On a small hip roof (a maximum of 18 feet wide and 30 feet long) every other rafter has a collar beam with a collar beam at the hip tying the center hip rafter collar beam into the common rafter collar beams (Fig. 8). This roof usually has rafters spaced at a maximum of three feet and is sheathed in 1×6 tongue and groove boards on top of which is a layer of #15 roofing felt. The 2×4 perlins to which the galvanized roofing is screwed are applied on top of the felt and nailed and bolted to the rafters below. There is no ridge beam in this type of construction and literally hundreds of these roofs survived the storm.
In larger hip roofs, especially in older historical structures the system of bracing and collar beam usage can become quite extensive. In fact, I have inspected some structures that are so complex that it is difficult to conceive how they were constructed in the first place.

Walls are the connecting link that anchors the roof to the floor and during a hurricane they act totally opposite in the kinds of function they perform and the kind of forces they encounter.

Normally walls hold the roof up. During a hurricane, if you are going to keep it, they must hold the roof down. It is therefore important to be aware of the tensile forces, which stress walls during a storm. It is also important to be aware of the lateral loads (wind loads) which act on walls during a storm (Fig. 9)

As with roofs, all components of the wall system must be securely tied together. If you are dealing with wooden walls, the bottom plates should be strapped to the studs and securely attached to the floor. If you are dealing with a wood frame floor, the studs should be strapped directly to the floor joists every three feet. If you are attaching wood frame walls to a concrete slab or masonry foundation wall, the bottom plate should be attached with anchor bolts set into the concrete every three feet on center. The wooden wall structure, once strapped top and bottom to the connecting members must then be braced for wind loads with diagonal let-in bracing set in opposite directions at each end of the wall. This frame can then be covered with its interior and exterior skin, be it wood siding or metal lathe and plaster, all of which have the capabilities of withstanding hurricane force winds if the interior framing is properly secured to its adjacent members. (Fig. 10)

Masonry walls, although considerably stronger than wooden walls are still subject to similar concepts of anchorage and reinforcement as are wooden walls.

If masonry walls are not reinforced with a concrete and steel re-bar skeleton they are vulnerable to collapse in hurricane force winds. The masonry wall must be reinforced from top to bottom. Masonry walls are generally supported on concrete slabs or foundations. A #4 steel re-bar should be left extending up 16″ from the floor slab at 16″ o.c. As the concrete blocks are placed in the wall the block holes containing the re-bars should be filled in with concrete. Every 48″ a #4 re-bar should extend vertically and the block cells around it filled with concrete to the height of the 12″ deep x 8″ wide ring beam, which runs around the perimeter of the building at the top of the wall. All window and door openings should have 2 #4 re-bars extending vertically, filled with concrete on each side of the opening. (Fig. 11)

Anchor bolts should be set in the concrete ring beam, at a minimum of 48″ o.c. to attach the wooden top plate.

One system of anchorage of wooden roof members to masonry walls is shown in Fig. 5. Another system, commonly used in the Virgin islands is to have the wooden roof joists cast into the concrete ring beam so that the top of the joist and the top of the ring beam are level with each other. This can work well if the joists are anchored to the ring beam. One method of achieving this is to cast the ring beam in two parts. The lower part contains the typical reinforcing required for the ring beam. The joists are then set on top of this and a hole is drilled trough the joist and a #4 re-bar extended through the joist. This re-bar is also attached to another re-bar projecting from the lower portion of the ring beam. The remainder of the ring beam is poured around the steel reinforcing and the wood joist. (Fig. 12)

Most foundations in the Virgin Islands are poured concrete and are usually integrally related to cistern construction thus making a massive base to which the rest of the structure is attached. The key element here is to again stress the importance of securely anchoring the building to the foundations. When anchoring wooden and masonry walls to concrete labs and foundations, anchor the walls every three to four feet (maximum) with a steel connector (anchor bolt or re-bar) from the wall to the foundation.

The type of column base used plays a major part in the anchorage system of shed roofs. As a result of this storm I have some very specific recommendations as to the type of column bases which should and should not be used.

Recommended bases: Manufacturers names are only used for ease in identifying types of products. Any similar base produced by other manufacturers is also suitable. Types of bases recommended are integral units, which are cast into concrete with a minimum of 12 Ga. with a 7 Ga. thickness in high wind exposure areas.

Two such examples are Simpson CB Series Column Base and Simpson EPB Series Elevated Post Bases. Columns should be bolted through these bases (Fig. 13)

NOT recommended is the adjustable type post base, which is attached to an anchor bolt set in the slab after it has been poured. These post bases have failed in hurricane force winds in two ways: 1. The metal post base pulls out of the anchor bolt and is carried away along with the column and roof. 2. The anchor bolt shears off at the concrete and the column is carried away. Unfortunately, many times in the past, this type of connector is the only type available on the island. I would strongly urge building suppliers to discontinue stocking this type of post base altogether. (Fig. 14)

The basic concept behind the shed roofs in relation to the main roof before Hugo was that of a breakaway roof. That is to say that conceptually the shed roof would be blown away and the main roof would stay intact. Hurricane Hugo has proven the strength of the shed roof. Many shed roofs of traditional design have survived the storm. The breakaway theory has therefore become less applicable to shed roof design.

The principal loss of shed roofs that I have observed has been from the failure of the post base connectors, which has been discussed.

In conjunction with this failure, as the shed roof blows away, its connection to the flashing between the galvanized shed and main roof becomes a significant detail. This flashing connection should be constructed as a true breakaway detail. Should the shed roof go, its tendency to take the galvanized from the main roof with it would not be as great. The following untested detail (Fig. 15) is offered as an option to mitigate this possibility.




Source: Doug White Architecture


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St. Thomas – The Committee of the Whole led by Senate President Myron Jackson, held a meeting at the Capitol Building on Friday, to receive testimony on the Territory’s status and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria from Governor’s Financial Team, the Government Health Insurance, Hospitals & Medical Centers and the Virgin Islands Department of Labor.

“Given the fact of two hurricanes, we have been out of commission for a month. May God continue to bless us through these trying times. We are known for our strength and resilience. Today, the first branch of government will add to the recovery,” said Sen. Jackson.

Before the hurricanes, the Committee on Finance held meetings in regards to the Governor’s FY 2018 Budget recommendation for all government departments and agencies. However, once the natural disasters occurred, members of the 32nd Legislature were unable to complete the process by passing the appropriation of bills that would determine the budget for FY 2018. As a result, effective October 1, 2017, the funds for the fiscal year 2017 will be re-appropriated for FY 2018.

“Considering that originally there was a ten percent reduction for FY 2018, and now the budget is based on FY 2017, will there be payless paydays for government employees?” inquired Sen. Dwayne DeGraff. Director of the Office of Management and Budget Nellon Bowry said, “That is a cash issue. However, I do not anticipate any at this point.”

Sen. Brian Smith shared his concern about the government fairly compensating first responders in the Territory for their post-hurricane overtime hours. “Many of the first responders such as the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Water and Power Authority have made extraordinary sacrifices. Do not pay them retroactive monies that can happen two years from now. Get those men and women paid fast for their time.”

In response, Clarina Elliot, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Finance stated that an assessment has begun. “We have requested per department the submission of total work hours of first responders for post-hurricane.”

The total FY 2018 General Fund expenditure budget, including debt service and tax refunds, is $914.8 million. The General Fund revenues and resources estimate, for the FY 2018 budget, totalled at $833.9 million, stated Director Bowry. He added, “The indicated $80.9 million gaps would obviously be widened significantly by the expected revenue loss and additional unreimbursed expenditures resulting from the Hurricanes. The FY 2018 budget gap could widen to as much as $325 million. Disaster-induced budget gaps will continue into FY 2019 and FY 2020.”

Sen. Forde inquired about the cost or estimate of the damage in the Territory by both hurricanes. Director Bowry said, “The figures are still unknown. The cost will be determined based on the collaboration of the federal and local governments.”

Despite the budget gap, Excise Taxes should increase due to an exponential of items/products that imported to the Territory for hurricane relief efforts stated Donnie Dorsett, Senior Policy Analyst for the Bureau of Economic Research. “However, individual income may decline due to job losses, and Hotel Revenues will decrease because of the loss of rooms available,” he added.

In addition to the Governor’s Financial Team, the Government Health Insurance, Hospitals & Medical Centers and the V.I. Department of Labor shared their post-hurricane updates.

In comparison to FY 2017, annualized premium projections for the Government Health Insurance will increase by five percent for FY 2018. Beverly Joseph, Chairperson of the Government Employee Service Commission said, “All health insurance coverages combined will increase from $155.4 million in FY 2017 to $165 million in FY 2018. Comparatively, this is an increase of $9.6 million of which the employer share will be 65%/35% for all participants.” The Government Health Insurance coverage does not include Vision Care Insurance because members are wholly responsible for this.

Bernard Wheatley, Chief Executive Officer of Roy Lester Schneider Regional Medical Center (RLSH) stated that the RLSH, the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute, and Myrah Keating damaged as a result of the hurricanes. However, despite the structural challenges some of the services that are available are Emergency Services, Cardiology, Hemodialysis, Intensive Care Unit, Maternal Child Health Services, and Laboratory Services. Due to the steady decline of patients, SRMC needs a cash influx to keep the doors open, he stated.

Richard Evangelista, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Governor Juan Francisco Luis Hospital and Medical Center (JFL) shared similar sentiments. The roof and the infrastructure of the hospital were severely damaged. Over a hundred patients were evacuated and relocated to the United States. JFL is collaborating with Federal Agencies to assist with the disaster response and recovery efforts.

Lastly, updates from the Virgin Islands Department of Labor (VIDOL) include a report of severe damage to the St. Thomas office building, according to Catherine Hendry, Esq., Commissioner of VIDOL. As a result, some operations were moved to the St. Croix offices including processing of unemployment insurance for claimants, and printed and distributed unemployment Insurance Checks. VIDOL is also collaborating with the local and federal governments for recovery efforts.