ST. THOMAS – The 35th Legislature of the Virgin Islands’ Committee on Government Operations, Veterans Affairs, and Consumer Protection, led by Carla J. Joseph, convened at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. The Committee heard testimony concerning legislative measures relative to the renewal of trade names, and a measure honoring late Corporal Kendall Emanuel George.
In Block 1, the Committee received testimony concerning Bill No. 35-0084, an act amending Title 11, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 21, Section 1213 to allow businesses operating under a trade name to have the option of renewing the trade name every 2, 6, or 10 years. The measure was proposed by Senator Alma Francis Heyliger.
Denise Johannes, the Director of Corporations and Trademarks, Office of the Lieutenant Governor delivered testimony regarding the proposed measure. Johannes stated that the Lieutenant Governor, and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor took no position regarding the measure. However, Johannes was concerned that there would be a cost to implement the change if the bill was passed. Per requirements contained in existing statue, the Division’s online Catalyst system is currently coded to allow trade name owners to renew their registration every two years. The system contractor estimates that implementing this change would take two hundred hours, at a cost of $50,000.
Johannes requested that funding be appropriated to cover the cost of changes if the measure was to become law. Additionally, Johannes requested the effective date for implementation be delayed allowing the system contractor to make the necessary system changes to comply with the measure. The proposed change would affect 6,807 trade name registrations that are on file with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Trade name owners and filers currently receive and continue to receive electronic mail reminders of the upcoming renewal dates, which help the Office of the Lieutenant Governor with the collection of renewal fees.
In Block 2, the Committee received testimony concerning Bill No. 35-0109, an act honoring and commending the late Corporal Kendall Emanuel George posthumously for his service as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps in the Vietnam War and for making the ultimate sacrifice to preserve democracy and to keep America and his Virgin Islands homeland safe; naming Route 107 from Coral Bay to Lameshur Bay, St. John the “Kendall Emanual George Drive” South and appropriating $10,000 to the Department of Public Works for signage at Kendall Emanuel George Drive; and for other related purposes. The measure was proposed by Senator Dwayne M. DeGraff.
Patrick Farrell, Director of the Virgin Islands Office of Veterans Affairs delivered testimony in support of the proposed measure. Per Farrell’s testimony, Corporal George, a Marine made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War, exemplified courage, dedication, and a profound commitment to preserving the ideals of democracy. Farrell stated that by approving this proposal, we affirm our gratitude for those who have given their all-in service to our nation. Farrell implored the body to lend their support to the legislation, to ensure that Corporal Kendall Emanuel George’s name is forever etched into the landscape of the US Virgin Islands.
Family members of Corporal George spoke in support of the measure. Geneva Paris, George’s sister, called her brother the kindest, most respectful person, especially to elders and authorities. Paris stated that her brother’s passing is still etched in her heart. Henry Powell, George’s brother, spoke in support of the measure, stating that it was a long time coming. Powell called his brother a helpful man, always willing to help, honest, loyal, and dedicated to his duty or mission. Alvis Christian, Sr., a cousin of George gave additional testimony in support of the measure. Christian stated that he always spoke up in defense for the community of St. John. He called his cousin kind, considerate, and firm.
Harry Daniel, Commander of the American Legion Post 131 spoke in support of the proposed measure. Daniel stated that Corporal George was a St. John native who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America and the Virgin Islands free and safe. Testimonies from Derek Gabriel, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and Mrs. Barbara Dalmida-Thompson, were read into the record and gave additional support of the measure. Commissioner Gabriel stated that the Department had no objections to the renaming of the road in the name of Corporal George. He said that he believed that naming roads after prominent Virgin Islands served as a measure to teach current and future generations of Virgin Islanders about their contributions. Mrs. Dalmida-Thompson stated that Corporal George was patriotic and enlisted into the military to serve in whatever capacity his country needed him.
Both measures were approved and will be sent to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary for further consideration.
Senators present at today’s committee hearing included Senators Carla J. Joseph, Javan E. James, Sr., Samuel Carrion, Dwayne M. Degraff, Ray Fonseca, and Alma Francis Heyliger. Senators Kenneth L. Gittens and Milton E. Potter were excused.
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