St. Croix--Senator Nereida Rivera-O-Reilly chaired her first committee hearing on Friday when the Committee on Health, Hospitals and Human Services met in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room, St. Croix where testimonies were given by the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center (JFLHMC) officials regarding CMS certification.

Senate President Myron D. Jackson has responded to criticism that the 32 Legislature’s first act in office was to break the law, according to a headline and repeated articles in the Virgin Islands Daily News.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2017 Contact: 340-693-3519

Senate President Myron D. Jackson has responded to criticism that the 32 Legislature’s first act in office was to break the law, according to a headline and repeated articles in the Virgin Islands Daily News.

“While I respect the goal of the Daily News to inform the public, it should not extend to the publication of misguided news,” Jackson said. “The fact is that the gatherings were called by Governor Kenneth Mapp, and each Senator was individually invited to meet in an informal manner with business leaders and selected government officials. No Senator was compelled to attend, and as evidence of its inFormality, several Senators did not attend, left early, or at the conclusion of the discussions. No decision was made or contemplated to be made at the end of the discussion. The three Senators who remained afterwards did not commit to support or endorse any matter discussed by the Governor and the business leaders in the presence of the Legislature,” Senator Jackson said.

“The paper’s loose use of the term ‘quorum,’ was simply designed to portray the Senators as having met, participated in a roll call, established that a roll call was present, and began an illegal deliberative process,” Jackson said. “The fact is that it was a simple meeting and effort by the Governor to make the business community aware of a proposal which he intends to resubmit to the Legislature for their consideration in a formal session of the Legislature. As such, nothing can change the fact that neither Legislature not the Governor violated any law pertaining to the public’s right to know the workings of their government.”

Message from the President of the 32nd Legislature

                       A Message from Senate President Myron D. Jackson

I would first like to thank God, my family, my friends, and you the people of the Virgin Islands for giving me the opportunity to serve this community since 2012. You, the residents of this territory have placed your faith in me for three consecutive elections and I am eternally grateful for your vote of confidence.

There is an old saying that calls our attention to the precarious nature of our times: "We know what we had, but we don't know what we are going to get!"

I dare say that we have been living in interesting times over the last century. Today, we struggle to recover since the greedy bankers and financial brokers triggered the global recession in 2008. I am certain that Virgin Islanders desire our difficult times to come to an end and for prosperous, lucrative, and stable times for all the residents of the Territory, a sacred place and region endowed by God.

Although I am optimistic regarding the affairs of the 32nd Legislature and those you have selected to serve you, I am cognizant of the times in which we live. This legislative body has an awesome responsibility. It is our mandate to make sound policies and raise revenues to alleviate the hardships that our residents are experiencing. It is not enough that some of us prosper while others may suffer. It is our responsibility to serve all of our citizens. Let it be said that the neediest of us was not abandoned by our government, but that we created opportunities to inspire and educate, so they may also succeed within these shores.

Today, we face an aging population that needs housing, a failing retirement system, rising healthcare costs and facilities that are struggling to serve the needs of the community. Our young males are in crisis. There are imbalanced and increasing property taxes, bargaining for overdue wages, and a tourism product that requires rebranding and must be a unique destination in light of Cuba and the rest of the competition in our region. On top of that, the downgrading of our Bonds speaks to our critical financial condition in meeting the challenges of this century.

These are only some of the issues that demand our immediate attention. As president of this body, I assure that these issues will receive our utmost attention and proper action. Although we stand in a very precarious place and many are doubtful, with the grace of God we shall meet these challenges. We have the ability to correct these issues we have inherited. I think every elected official will agree that serious work must be done. I also pledge to keep this community informed of our efforts. The public should know what we are doing on their behalf. We are nothing without them.

As a member of this society, who grew up in the Up Street- Hospital Ground neighborhood, I know the power and importance of community and the extended family. Therefore, I will use these working tools to promote harmony and to encourage us to be more trusting of each other, and to be more loving to one another-United in Pride and Hope. I do not profess to have all the answers; however, my colleagues and I are willing, able, and committed. It is my prayer that we will work in one accord on behalf of you the people of these beautiful Virgin Islands.  God Bless the Virgin Islands of the United States.