St. Thomas, USVI Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Senate President Donna A. Frett-Gregory thanks her colleagues today for a successful
session and for their continued cooperation to ensuring the safety of members and staff of the institution.
Frett-Gregory explained that the start of session was delayed as the institution was awaiting COVID-19
test results from the V.I. Department of Health, which was not received when session was called to order.
The Legislature, however, had covid-19 rapid test kits, and members and staff were able to have the rapid
test administered to allow for entrance into the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Chambers.
During todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s session a number of legislations were considered and adopted. Of note, Bill No. 34-0004,
known as the fuel tax bill, which ensures that taxes due and owing to the Government of the Virgin Islands
are paid immediately upon entry was successfully adopted and will be forwarded to the Governor for
further consideration and action. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is necessary that every single penny that belongs to the people of the
Virgin Islands is collected,Ã¢â‚¬Â stated Frett-Gregory. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would like to thank my colleagues for recognizing
the magnitude of this legislation and for their immediate support, and I anticipate seeing an increase in the
fuel tax collected annually.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Frett-Gregory also thanked her colleagues for supporting Bill No. 34-0077 to repay the 8% salary
reduction that was taken from the employees of the Government of the Virgin Islands, while the nation
and the territory were in recession. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The courts have spoken on this matter; it is the right thing to do and
now is the right timeÃ¢â‚¬Â said Frett-Gregory. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Amendments were also offered to repay the employees of the
Bill No. 34-0060, the First Time Homebuyers Program Act, is a measure that I also was active in the
drafting of, will allow middle income Virgin Islanders to be able to purchase a home in our territory. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We
have numerous programs for low-income families and veterans. However, programs for working men
and women to be able to purchase a home are not readily available,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Frett-Gregory. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This measure
is timely as we continue to encourage professionals to return home.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory also noted that two overrides were successfully passed during
todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s session. These overrides address long-standing issues with the Water and Power Authority and
will bring redress to the people of the territory. Bill No. 34-0021 includes the amendment offered by
Frett-Gregory that mandates the Water and Power Authority hire a turnaround management company.
Senators also adopted Bill No. 34-0058 which creates the Virgin Islands Catalyst Fund to provide loans
to eligible entities to promote economic resiliency, and to support the retention and creation of jobs.
Senator Frett-Gregory noted that this measure which promotes economic growth and stability, is aligned
with additional measures working their way through the committee process, notably Bill No. 34-0078,
which transfers the former Cancryn property to the Virgin Islands Port Authority to expand its
transshipment and maritime activities. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need to continue to work collectively to promote economic
growth territorywide,Ã¢â‚¬Â concluded Frett-Gregory.
ST. THOMAS - The Committee on Education and Workforce Development, chaired by Senator Marise C. James convened in a meeting at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. Lawmakers received updates on the condition of school facilities throughout the territory, particularly...