Tag: Sen. Janette Millin Young

COMMITTEE RECEIVES UPDATE ON CHARLOTTE AMALIE DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION

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ST. THOMAS- The Committee on Economic Development, Agriculture and Planning, chaired by Sen. Janette Millin Young received an update on Tuesday concerning the suspension of the Charlotte Amalie Downtown Revitalization Project.

Chairman Millin Young scheduled today’s Committee meeting because she requested and is still awaiting correspondence from the Departments of Public Works, Property & Procurement on the status of this project. “The delay of this project impacts the day-to-day business in the downtown area and directly affects the heart of the V.I. economy.”

On November 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) notified the Government of the Virgin Islands of its decision to suspend the contract awarded to Tip Top Construction. According to Federal regulation 23 CFR 635.125, all contracts exceeding the amount of $10,000 shall contain suitable provisions for termination by the State/Territory, including the manner by which the termination will be effected and the basis for settlement.

President of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, Sabastiano Paiewonski-Castinelli stated, “If Tip Top Construction cannot fulfill their contractual obligations in full compliance with federal regulations that it is in our best interest to secure another contract in order to complete this project.”

The Teaming Agreement and intent to subcontract between Tip Top Construction and Prestige Building Company, LLC, was not disclosed throughout the bidding process or after the contract was awarded by the Government of the Virgin Islands. Private sector entities such as the Chamber of Commerce (COC) and Downtown Revitalization Inc., (DRI) gave testimony on their challenges with maintaining communication with the Departments of Public Works (DPW) and Property & Procurement.

“As a private sector entity, we have attempted to work in total collaboration with the DPW to make the flow of information as smooth and easy as possible for Main Street businesses, residents and visitors,” said Gautam Daswani, President of DRI. “The DRI is concerned and willing to assist in all efforts to restore and reauthorize funding for this project.”

Wystan Benjamin, Former Highway Program Manager of the Department of Public Works, submitted his testimony seeking closure for his unexplained termination. While employed by the DPW led his team by assessing and awarding contracts based on the lowest, responsible bidder. Attorney General Claude O. Walker also informed the Committee that he discussed the letter received from the FHWA with the Commissioners of Public Works and Property & Procurement, but has no knowledge of a plan of action in light of the contract suspension.

The Committee took no action, as the meeting served as a status update on the project.

The Committee of the Whole will convene today at 6:00 p.m. at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall.

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R.CITY RECEIVES TERRITORY’S FIRST ‘KEY TO THE CITY’

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ST.THOMAS—Senate President Neville A. James and Vice President Janette Millin Young gathered with other lawmakers on the grounds of the Capitol Building, Tuesday, to present the members of R. City, Timothy and Theron Thomas, with the territory’s first “Key to the City”.

The ceremony was in commemoration of “R.City Day”, to be celebrated on September 27, 2016 as a result of Act. No. 7824, a measure sponsored by Sen. Janette Millin Young and unanimously approved by the body on December 15, 2015.

“It is a distinct pleasure for me to be here today to honor two young men, who have not only become a global example of greatness for the Virgin Islands and that the Virgin Islands could have produced, but who also represent their home with pride and stand as great role models for our young people,” said Sen. Millin Young.

During the R.City Day celebration, students from the Ivanna Eudora Kean and Charlotte Amalie High Schools and the Addelita Cancryn and Bertha C. Boschulte Junior High Schools performed renditions of the artists songs including ‘Locked Away’ and ‘Make Up’ and then sang along as the artists performed for them.

Senate President Neville A. James and Sen. Janette Millin Young as well as Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter, presented the Thomas brothers with the key to the city and commended them for their humility and commitment to bringing exposure to the Virgin Islands.

“You are deserving of this,” said Sen. James.

Timothy and Theron also spoke about their journey to success giving special commendation to their parents Miguel “Kiebo” Thomas and Jacqueline “Jackie” Thomas who relentlessly supported their dream.

“I just want to say thanks to everybody who come out. Thanks for giving us this gift and this blessing today,” said Theron.

Theron shared stories of their humble beginnings, “catching ride” to give performances in front of small audiences of 12 or 20  people for $50 or no money at all, to now producing music for other artists and performing in front of thousands and no longer having to explain where exactly in the Caribbean they come from.

“In the beginning it wasn’t even necessarily a dream. It was just something me and my brother found as something fun to do,” said Timothy. “We were disgusting kids,” he said. “Little did we know that something that we start just doing around the house could’ve blossomed into something so beautiful,” he said.

“We had so many obstacles, we had so many people telling my parents that they should quit lying to their kids, that this dream ain’t real, and I could understand why they would say that,” he said, “because what we had done, before us, it [was] never done before.”

The brothers encouraged parents to get involved in their children’s lives and to support their dreams.

“We always thought bigger than the Virgin Islands because our father raised us that way so we wanted the whole world, outside of the Virgin Islands to know about the Virgin Islands and to know about Oswald Harris Court Projects. That’s where we come from. That’s where we faced a lot of our hard times,” Timothy said.  “If you channel the right energy with them hard times, you could turn it into good times.”

Senators Marvin A. Blyden, Jean A. Forde, Clifford F. Graham, Myron D. Jackson, Neville A. James, Almando “Rocky” Liburd and Positive T. A. Nelson were present.

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