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Another Mapp Cabinet Official Calls It Quits: This Time It Is Public Works Commissioner Gustav James

BONEHEAD SOCIETY: Public Works Commissioner Gustav James stands to the right of Gov. Kenneth Mapp when Mapp-Potter Administration Cabinet officials were first announced.

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Another prominent Mapp-Potter administration appointee has called it quits.

This time it’s Public Works Commissioner Gustav James.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp said that he has named Nelson Petty, Jr. in his place.

Petty will be Acting Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works effective 5 p.m. today, Mapp said.

The appointment follows the resignation earlier today of James, who served as DPW commissioner for about two and a half years (31 months).

Mapp and Commissioner James met personally yesterday and today to discuss a number of issues within the Dept. of Public Works, according to Government House.

With the move, sources speaking on condition of anonymity said that the governor is seeking to put the blame for delays on the Main Street Enhancement Project squarely on the shoulders of James and Tip Top Construction — and not himself.

With bids about to go out on for a new contractor on the project, Mapp can award the bid to a construction firm that is more likely to be loyal to the Mapp-Potter Administration going into the election year of 2018.

“It’s all about baksheesh,” the well-placed source said. “Mapp wants to get his cut from the Main Street Enhancement Project. That was never going to happen with Tip Top Construction there. So James had to go and so did (Joey) Hollins (Tip Top Construction president).”

In a letter to the governor, Commissioner James advised the Chief Executive of his decision to resign.

James thanked the governor and the Lt. Governor for the opportunity to serve the people of the territory, and extended best wishes to the Mapp/Potter administration.

In accepting the resignation, Mapp thanked James for his service to the people of the Virgin Islands as DPW Commissioner as well as a member of the Governing Boards of WAPA, VIWMA and VIPA.

The governor asked and James has agreed to serve on the Governing Board of the Water & Power Authority as a private sector member.

Mapp said that he will forward his nomination to the Senate soon.

The chief executive said that he wished James the very best in his future endeavors.

Government House spokesman Samuel Topp released the information about the resignation to the news media at 2:42 p.m. today.

ON HOLD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Tip Top Construction owner Joey Hollins stands in front of the Main Street Enhancement Project in downtown Charlotte Amalie.

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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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