ST. THOMAS- Members of the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, led by Senator Milton E. Potter
convened in a meeting at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Chambers.
In Block 1, the Committee considered the nomination of Dr. Bradley Keys to the Virgin Islands Chiropractic Board. Dr. Keys’ nomination was voted upon favorably.
In Block 2, the Committee considered the following resolutions, which were all voted upon favorably.
Bill No. 34-0201, a resolution honoring and commending Kemit-Amon Lewis for his outstanding service
and contributions to the Marine Science industry in the Virgin Islands. This measure was proposed by
Senators Kurt A Vialet, Genevieve R. Whitaker, Franklin D. Johnson, and Marvin A. Blyden.
Bill No. 34-0202, a resolution honoring and commending Eugene “Genix” Thomas posthumously for his
outstanding contributions to the Virgin Islands community as a baseball, softball, and life coach. This
measure was proposed by Senators Kurt A. Vialet and Franklin D. Johnson.
Bill No. 34-0203, a resolution honoring and commending Alvin Delano Burke, Sr. posthumously for his
service and contributions to the sport of basketball, horse racing and to the people of the Virgin Islands.
The measure was proposed by Senators Kurt A. Vialet, Carla J. Joseph, Franklin D. Johnson, and
Genevieve R. Whitaker.
Bill No. 34-0220, a resolution honoring and commending the Agriculture and Food Fair Board of
Directors, the University of the Virgin Islands, and the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture for 50
years of diligence in coordinating, promoting, and hosting the Virgin Islands Agriculture and Food Fair,
known as “Agrifest.” The measure was sponsored by Senator Javan E. James, Sr.
In Block 3, the following bills were all considered favorably.
Bill No. 34-0206, an act amending Title 23, chapter 5, section 460 of the Virgin Islands Code, repealing
reciprocal recognition of firearm licenses for persons that own firearms outside of the Virgin Islands. The
measure was proposed by Senator Alma Francis Heyliger.
Bill No. 34-0225, an act amending Title 5, Virgin Islands Code, subtitle 2, chapter 201, section 2539 to
increase the penalties for failure to report certain crimes. The measure was proposed by Senator Alma
Bill No. 34-0226, an act amending Act Nos. 8474, 8479, 8486, 8494, 8496, and 8498 to adjust the fiscal
year 2022 budget to appropriate funds to the Casino Control Commission for capital outlay, WTJX for
capital outlay and satellite uplink respectively, Elections System of the Virgin Islands for General
Election, Virgin Islands Cricket Board, Department of Tourism for personnel and fringe benefits, Virgin
Islands Board of Nurse Licensure for personnel and fringe benefits, and 8% salary restoration Social
Security and Medicare taxes reimbursement to the Economic Development Authority, Governor Juan F.
Luis Hospital and Medical Center and the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority. The measure
was proposed by Senators Kurt A Vialet, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, and Marvin A. Blyden.
Finally in Block 4, the Committee considered Bill No. 34-0207, an act repealing and re-enacting Title 14,
Virgin Islands Code, chapter 41, section 843 relating to fraudulent claims upon the Government of the
Virgin Islands, its officers, departments, boards, commissions, or agencies. The measure was sponsored by Senator Alma Francis Heyliger. The measure was voted upon favorably.
Testimony was read into the record from the Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands, Denise George.
As per Attorney General George’s delivered testimony, the purpose of Bill No. 34-0207 is to replace the
existing language contained in 14 V.I.C. § 843 and replace it with slightly different but stronger language
regarding fraudulent claims upon the Virgin Islands Government. The proposed measure would alter the
current statute’s subsection 3. This subsection currently states “whoever—. . . makes any false or
fraudulent statements or representations. . . shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.” This updated language which would be placed under subsection (a)(4)- would make it a crime for any “materially” false for fraudulent statements made.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “material” means “important, more or less necessary; having
influence or effect; going to the merits; having to do with matter, as distinguished from form.” A
materially false statement would be something that would cause someone to rely on the representation in error or to their detriment. The Office of the Attorney General voiced their support of the added language. The proposed measure would also add a new subsection, (a) (5), which would state that “whoever knowingly or willfully: submits or invites reliance on any forged, altered or fictitious writing, document, sample, specimen, map, boundary mark or other object; in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the Virgin Islands, or within the
jurisdiction of any officer, department, board, commission, or other agency of the Government shall be
fined not more than $2,500 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both”. This proposed new
subjection would create more specific circumstances in which someone may be convicted under 14 V.I.C. § 843, as well as increasing the fines and terms of imprisonment upon conviction. The Office of the Attorney General supports the language and the increase in penalty and supported the passage of Bill No.34-0207.
All approved nominees and bills will be sent to the full body and will be voted upon at the next
Senators present at today’s committee hearing included Milton E. Potter, Kenneth L. Gittens, Novelle E. Francis, Jr, Alma Francis Heyliger, Carla J. Joseph, Franklin D. Johnson and Genevieve R. Whitaker.