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U.S. Interior Gives $250,000 Technical Assistance Grant Funding to the Territory for New CPI

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has awarded the U.S. Virgin Islands a $250,000 grant for the development and implementation of a 2017 Consumer Price Index (CPI).

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presented the grant award to Gov. Kenneth Mapp during their meeting at Interior Headquarters on Monday.

Secretary Zinke met previously with Mapp during the USVI Centennial Commemoration in March.

“The new CPI will be based on a new 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Nikolao Pula. “The major focus of the project is to provide current data on consumer expenditures in the U.S. Virgin Islands, congruent with national standards. This is critical in order to better assess and evaluate price trends in various sectors of the economy and prospects for economic growth and development.”

The activities funded by the grant will focus on three objectives: 1) to establish a new market basket of goods and services and new item weights; 2) to provide training and technical support for field enumerators in the price collection process; and 3) to conduct data processing activities to achieve the goal of a current CPI that reflects changing consumer behaviors and trends.

Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs provides Technical Assistance Program (TAP) grants for short-term, non-capital projects and are not meant to supplant local funding of routine operating expenses of an island government. TAP priorities include but are not limited to projects that foster development of the insular areas in the following areas: accountability, financial management, economic development, education, energy, management control initiatives, disaster assistance, natural and cultural resources, capacity building, public safety/emergencies, health, and invasive species management.

Funding for the TAP program under CFDA# 15.875 at is available to any of the four U.S. territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as well as to the three freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

The funding is appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress.

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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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