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Mapp and Wickrema Agree There Is A Conflict of Interest To Board Member Serving VIWMA and IGLA

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CRUZ BAY — As of March 16 Harith Wickrema will no longer serve on the V.I. Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) board and he said that he will actively pursue “sustainability initiatives” in the territory in his continued role as president of Island Green Living Association.

Efforts to solicit residents and businesses to accept free mulch has been viewed as a conflict between the two unpaid positions with Island Green Living Association and VIWMA.

Wickrema said that he agrees with the governor that if one is serving at the pleasure of the governor, one must follow his direction. In this case, coordinating free mulch distribution is a different stance than that of the governor. Wickrema will continue to serve on the board until March 16.

 Gov. Kenneth Mapp wrote a letter of dismissal to Wickrema.

“I commend you for your tireless efforts in serving the people of the territory through the VIWMA and through Island Green Living Association,” the governor said. “I look forward to working with you as we push to make source separation and redemption centers a permanent part of waste management policy in the territory. Thank you for your service to the Government and the people of the Virgin Islands.”

Wickrema wishes to relay that it has been a pleasure serving and initiating positive change at WMA and looks forward to continuing to work with the governor through Island Green.

Wickrema was honored with the EPA Environmental Champion Award last year and has been instrumental in the initiation of a number of sustainable measures in the territory. These include co-authoring the plastic bag ban, source separation and container deposit legislature, and most recently the ban on burning vegetative debris. He is  working on making composting a permanent fixture as part of mitigation, and banning Oxybenzone from sun screen to preserve our coral and marine life.

Island Green Living is poised to develop a Sustainable Living Center which will become an essential part of the fabric of St John in terms expanding sustainable practices, encouraging education and protecting human lives and property during future hurricanes.
He is appreciative for the blessings that enable him to give back and continues to pay it forward.
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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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