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Mapp’s ‘Focus’ Continues To Be Out Of The Territory … To The Benefit Of No One Here

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A TIME TO TALK … NOT BUILD: Ken Mapp

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands and will continue to strengthen bonds that were never shaky to begin with.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp and premier and minister of finance of the BVI, Orlando Smith will meet for the seventh time with no clear objectives to accomplish as part of the Inter Virgin Islands Council (IVIC).

Government officials are set to meet on Friday in St Thomas to pretend to be doing government business and try to fool their constituents into thinking that they are working on their collective behalfs.

“The IVIC is the formal side of the USVI-BVI relationship and brings together the governor of the USVI and the premier of the BVI as co-chairs of the Council. Government officials and policymakers will explore with their counterparts different ways to enhance the relations between the USVI and BVI by collaborating to monitor and introduce initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for the people of the two territories,” the promoters of the event said in a prepared statement.

“Both the British and US Virgin Islands not only share a common culture and history, but today, we face some of the same unique challenges,” Mapp said. “We must strive to work together to secure our borders, enhance visitor experiences and improve the quality of life for all of our people. Our relationship with our neighbors has been greatly improved through joint efforts with our law enforcement, tourism and emergency planning agencies. As a direct result of meetings such as IVIC we will continue to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual goals that will benefit future generations of Virgin Islanders.”

Smith said that it is important for us to continue to work together to address challenges and share resources for our mutual benefit.

He added, “There is no denying that even though we are two separate sovereign lands, the people of the USVI and the BVI are one. We must therefore continue to collaborate for it is the surest path to a stronger and brighter future for all of us. We have been able to achieve much in the past through mutual co-operation and we must continue to ensure our relationship evolves, by pursuing avenues to resolve our various issues.”

A number of initiatives have arisen from the council meetings. These include information exchange between law enforcement agencies, research development exchange between the University of the Virgin Islands and H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and information exchange on renewable sources of energy.

Smith will head the BVI delegation, which includes permanent secretaries and relevant senior officers. The council will receive updates on law enforcement, pleasure boating, tourism and education. Also to be discussed are initiatives to explore the scope of cooperation in BVI musician work permits.

The Inter-Virgin Islands Council was established on May 29, 2004, when former USVI governor, Dr Charles Turnbull, and chief minister Dr Orlando Smith signed a joint memorandum of understanding. The Council’s first meeting convened on St Croix in April 2005.

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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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