LAWMAKERS FORWARDED NINE NOMINATIONS TO THE FULL BODY

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ST. THOMAS-Members of the Committee on Rules and Judiciary chaired by Sen. Janelle K. Sarauw, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building on Thursday, and voted favorably for the nominees recommended to serve on various boards. The nominations were sent to the Legislature by Governor Albert Bryan; set forth from Section (16) of the Revised Organic Act of 1954, and Title 3, Section 65a of the Virgin Islands Code. All items on the agenda will be forwarded to the full body for further consideration.

The nominees are Danson Nganga and Dr. Vernique Caswell, Pharm. D. to serve on the Virgin Islands Board of Pharmacy for the St. Thomas-St. John District, Laura Forbes for the Virgin Islands Board of Pharmacy St. Croix District, Dr. Ramona Moss, Ph.D., NCSP and Nicolette Cutright, Ph.D. for the V.I. Board of Psychology Examiners St. Thomas-St. John District, Curtis Callender, MS, LMHC, NCC as a Substance Abuse Counselor for the V.I. Board of Licensed Counselors and Examiners St. Thomas-St. John District, Dr. Lisa Adams-Mahepeth, O.D. for the V.I. Board of Optometrical Examiners St. Croix District, Dr. Laura Palminteri, VMD for the V.I. Board of Examiners for Practice of Veterinary Medicine St. Thomas-St. John District, and Jawanza Wallace-Hillare for the V.I. Coastal Zone Management Commission St. Thomas-St. John District.

Nominee Nganga noted that one of his top priorities for serving on the V.I. Board of Pharmacy is to ensure all rights, accesses, and privileges offered to retail pharmacies in the United States are also available to the U.S. Virgin Islands; comparatively, there is a disparity in services. Similarly, Nominee Caswell stated that her primary focus is to provide support for pharmacists in the Territory by gaining access to pertinent resources offered by the National Association of Board of Pharmacies. Moreover, Nominee Forbes defended her re-nomination to the Board citing achievements such as assisting with the development of the revised pharmacy inspection form/process, disseminating pharmacists administered vaccines, and establishing the non-resident pharmacy registration form/process. Forbes stated that providing support to the Board is her biggest priority. Challenges that Nominee Moss vows to tackle while serving on the V.I. Board of Psychology Examiners is to identify whether on-line schools affect the quality of education for students and to develop strategies to provide psychological services to people as needed. Additionally, Nominee Cutright indicated that updating the rules and regulations are some of her goals for improving the Board.

Nominee Callendar mentioned that as a Substance Abuse Counselor for the V.I. Board of Licensed Counselors and Examiners, his aims to shape the landscape of mental health in the Territory. “I pledge to uphold the duty of not only ensuring that clinicians meet the standards as laid out but also take action when harmful/unethical actions threaten the safety of the public and credibility of the field,” said Callendar. Nominee Adams-Mahepeth served on the V.I. Board of Optometrical Examiners for fifteen years. Progressively, Adams-Mahepath mentioned that she will continue to align the standards of Optometry practiced in the Virgin Islands with the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Similarly, defending her reappointment to the V.I. Board of Examiners for Practice of Veterinary Medicine, Nominee Palminteri noted that she wants to continue to be an asset to the Board. She has practiced veterinary medicine for twenty-eight years and served on the Board for fifteen years. Lastly, Nominee Wallace-Hillare mentioned that he will work towards obtaining funds from grants and to develop a partnership with Federal Programs while serving on the V.I. Coastal Zone Management Commission.

Separately, lawmakers voted and approved: Bill No. 33-0207- An Act amending Title 17, chapter 11, section 121 of the Virgin Islands Code by requiring persons teaching children in Kindergarten-4 through third grade to have specific early childhood education requirements outlined by the Board of Education, thereby ensuring that primary grade students are receiving a quality education; requiring the Board of Education to promulgate rules and regulations to support the criteria for the minimum requirements; and providing funding for early childhood educators to obtain the minimum requirements. Clarifying the intent of the measure, Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory indicated that the bill does not require teachers to be certified. However, it requires educators who are teaching pre-kindergarteners to meet requisite skills. Lastly, policymakers removed from the agenda at the call of the Chair: Bill No. 33-0152- regarding construction liens by exempting the government-owned property of homeowners under government-administered home repair and construction programs from construction liens and providing protection to certain homesteaders and for other related purposes.                                                                        ###