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Rocky Liburd Lambastes UVI For Not Providing Info On How Its Administration Uses Public Funds


        Sen. Almando “Rocky” Liburd

CHRISTIANSTED – Sen. Almando “Rocky” Liburd blasted the University of the Virgin Islands over the weekend for failing to reveal how much UVI administration and staff members are paid.

Despite a ruling by Attorney General Claude Walker, UVI President David Hall is flying in the face of the highest law enforcement official in the territory in refusing to identify how much public money is being spent on the lowly-ranked university’s employees.

Liburd said he is demanding that Atlanta native Hall and UVI become “transparent” and allow the taxpayers to know how their money is being spent at UVI.

“We are sending the message that we are a territory of no laws,” Liburd said about UVI. “It doesn’t build confidence in our community the way we are handling our affairs—especially when it is not our money.”

Senator Liburd is sending the message that various government agencies need to relinquish their feelings of ownership over public funds.

“We have no reason to withhold information when it is in the public’s interest and when we are utilizing the people’s money,” the veteran senator and former UVI professor said. “I can understand if this was a fully private institution but that is not the case here.”

Liburd said that “at a time when the financial security of the people of the Virgin Islands is so bleak” that UVI being secretive about how public money is spent there is likely to result in a distrust of the institution by the public.

“We want to make wrong right and that should be,” Liburd said. “There is always some issue with hiding information from the public and I can understand why the people are losing faith in government.”

Checks and balance measures like The Open Records Act are used in most universities that receive public funds, he said.

 According to Liburd, the UVI should be no different.

“We have laws for a reason,” he said. “We will all be better off when we collectively decide to start doing the right thing.”

Liburd urges all government entities to be responsible to the public for without them, the positions could not exist.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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