St. Thomas

St. John



Published: Apr 16, 2024

ST. THOMAS – Members of the Committee on Budget, Appropriations, and Finance, chaired by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building. The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN) shared a financial update. Separately, lawmakers voted to take a measure off the agenda. 

One of the major challenges facing the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network is repaying its $36.8 million bond, according to Stephan Adams, President and CEO of viNGN, Inc. The Public Finance Authority’s (PFA) proposed resolution treats this bond as a loan, with the option to convert to equity at the PFA’s discretion. This issue has been the subject of multiple board discussions between the PFA and viNGN. Thus far, neither the interest rate nor the amortization plan have been decided upon yet. Furthermore, Adams expressed that viNGN neither has the financial resources nor anticipates loan repayment solely on their own. Although viNGN presented evidence of loan forgiveness, PFA instructed viNGN to apply for federal grant programs to resolve the debt. 

In response to a line of questioning by Senator Frett-Gregory regarding $36.8 million bond, Adams indicated that the bond was issued in 2011. Currently, the loan is directly under PFA, and viNGN does not have insight on it, although the unpaid loan is under the purview of viNGN. Senator Frett Gregory stated that the loan is a liability. It is important to have a clear understanding of this matter because the Senate previously contributed financially to viNGN. Separately, regarding the expenses of viNGN, the main components of operating expenses include utilities, salary, court costs, depreciation, and building rental income. Totaling an estimated $10.2 million in 2023. viNGN anticipates an increase in operating expenses in 2024, totaling $10.6 million. Meanwhile, operating revenue was $5.0 million in 2023 and is expected to reach $4.9 million in 2024. Net revenue decreased in 2023 because certain ISPs terminated their operations while others added new ones. 

Separately, senators voted to remove from the agenda: 

  • Bill No. 35-0204: An Act appropriating $3,000,000 from the General Fund of the Government of the Virgin Islands to the Virgin Islands Police Department for the purchase and installation of cameras throughout the Territory. Senator Javan E. James, Sr. is the sponsor of the bill. 

Senators present at the committee hearing included Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Carla J. Joseph, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Marvin A. Blyden, Dwayne M. DeGraff, Ray Fonseca, Javan E. James, Sr. and Samuel Carrión. 

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