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Committee on Rules and Judiciary Gives the Nod of Approval to Several Nominees and Bills

Published: Oct 14, 2022

St. Thomas—the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, chaired by Senator Milton E. Potter, met Thursday to consider an agenda comprised of several nominations and various pieces of legislation.

First on the agenda were the nominations for Dr. Janis Valmond to serve on the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and Dr. Rick Warehime to served on the Virgin Islands Board of Pharmacy.

Dr. Warehime in his opening statement informed senators that he is aware of the issues affecting pharmacies because he too own and operate pharmacies in the territory. Dr. Warehime further indicated that due to his experiences in the pharmaceutical world, he desires to give back to the residents of the territory.

Dr. Valmond in her opening remark said she believes that her career and experience in public health, including her years in management and leadership within the Virgin Islands Department of Health, have provided her with the necessary experience and understanding of the important connection between healthy homes and the overall health of children and families in the community.

After a round of questions, the committee unanimously moved both nominations to the full Body for further consideration. Chairman Potter and other members of the committee described the nominees as being of good character and having the qualifications needed.

In the second block, the committee took up the nominations of Stephanie Hodge
and Christopher McDonald who both were nominated to serve on the Virgin Islands Real Estate Commission.

Nominee Hodge, who was nominated to a second term, told committee members in her opening statement that she is passionate about inclusion and diversity in the real estate industry and brings this philosophy to the Real Estate Commission. Hodge further indicated that during her previous tenure, she worked alongside fellow commissioners to reinstitute background checks for new applicants and ushered in scores of new applicants of which a large percentage hailed from the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region.

Nominee McDonald in his statement said his goal for the Commission is to bring awareness to the real estate industry, and the impacts that are affecting local Virgin Islanders. McDonald further indicated that he wants to see more local families owning a piece of property that they can use to achieve generational wealth.

Members questioned both nominees on their vision and goals for the commission and their responses were satisfactory. The committee then voted favorably for both Hodge and McDonald and their nominations were forwarded to the full Body for further consideration.

The next items on the agenda were: Bill No. 34-0295, which seeks to petition the Governor of the Virgin Islands to posthumously pardon Rothchild (Polly) Francis for unjust convictions. After discussions by senators, the Bill was approved with an amendment and sent to the full Body for further consideration.

Bill No. 34-0238 is an Act seeking to amend the Virgin Islands Code, chapter 5, section 41(c), relating to courses of study in public schools to require that Virgin Islands and Caribbean history to be integrated into the curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 and for other purposes.

Bill No. 34-0243- An Act amending title 27 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 4, section 193 to change the composition of the Board of Naturopathic Physicians.

Bill No. 34-0271- An act amending title 10 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 5, section 64 of the Civil Rights Act to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as an unlawful discriminatory practice.

Bill No. 34-0272- An Act amending title 3 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 16, section 274 to empower the Executive Director of the Taxicab Commission to hire the necessary staff to Procurement and On the Level d/b/a OTL MECHANICAL for the leasing of Parcel No. 69 Submarine Base, No. 4 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Bill No. 34-0236- An Act amending title 17 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 15, section 190dd extending the eligibility for the Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship Program to parttime students.

After discussions on the various measures, the committee then approved all of the items which were forwarded to the full Body for further consideration.

Senators in attendance for Thursday’s meeting were Milton E. Potter, Kenneth L. Gittens, Angel Bolques Jr., Novelle E. Francis Jr., Carla J. Joseph, Franklin D. Johnson, Genevieve R. Whitaker, Javan E. James Sr., Alma Francis Heyliger, Marvin A. Blyden and Samuel Carrión.

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