ST. THOMAS–The Committee on Rules and Judiciary, chaired by Senator Janelle K. Sarauw met on Tuesday in the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall St. Thomas.
Bill No. 33-0358 An Act authorizing the transfer of Government-owned real property located at #51 Hannah’s Rest, Frederiksted, St. Croix.
The property which is owned by the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority and is to be transferred to the Virgin Islands Police Department for the construction of a police station in Frederiksted, St. Croix. The Bill was sponsored by Senator Kenneth L. Gittens
According to Senator Gittens, it’s a general consciousness that this legislation is necessary to create a police command center in Frederiksted. He pointed out that the Chairman of the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) Board asked that the Bill be amended to reflect languages stipulating that WAPA is the entity transferring the land and that if the facility was not built within five (5) years then said land should return to WAPA.
He added that the project will move quickly at no cost to the government due to the fact the pertinent federal monies have been secured.
The Bill was voted out of the committee with a favorable recommendation and forwarded to Full Body for further consideration.
The second item on the agenda was Bill No. 33-0347, An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code to provide scholarship benefits for persons receiving home instruction. The proposal was sponsored by Senator Donna Frett-Gregory.
Senator Frett-Gregory said it was important to codify the language of the legislation to avoid any contradictions about individuals studying through homeschooling. She added that these individuals should be entitled to receive free scholarships once they graduate from any high school in the Virgin Islands.
The Bill was voted out of the committee with a favorable recommendation and forwarded to the Full Body for further consideration.
Bill No. 33-0300 An Act amending the Virgin Islands Code and seeks to establish a numerical limitation on the licenses issued for gasoline stations within the Districts of Christiansted and Frederiksted and St. Thomas/St. John. The measure is sponsored by Senators Janelle K. Sarauw and Kenneth L. Gittens.
Senator Gittens said we need a city plan in place to eliminate how many of these gas stations could be built in the territory. He added some of the gas stations can be hazardous and
dangerous to our citizens. He noted the number of the gas stations that are built on a one-mile strip, particularly on an island that is only 84 square miles.
Senator Myron Jackson said gas stations in our territory are out of control. He added that we are destroying our cultural landscape.
Chairwoman, Senator Sarauw asked the question as to what kind of landscape are we creating for our future generation by building so many gas stations. She pointed out the number of gas stations that have already been built in St. Croix (28) St. Thomas (32) and St. John (3).
According to the Senator, a moratorium is not unconstitutional. She added that we cannot continue to “spot zone.”
The Bill was amended by Senator Sarauw regarding the date when the Bill would be effective, and by the reference of the districts of Frederiksted and Christiansted and the name St. Thomas/St. John and instead insert the term, “The Virgin Islands.”
The Bill as amended was voted out of the committee and forwarded to the Full Body for further consideration.
Senators at Tuesday’s hearing were Chairwoman Senator Janelle Sarauw, Kenneth Gittens, Myron Jackson, Novelle Francis, Jr., Javan James, Sr., Donna Frett-Gregory, and Steven Payne.