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OPINION: Delegate Stacey Plaskett Responds to National Review Article About USVI

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WASHINGTON –– Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy and Environment, released the following statement regarding a recent article in the National Review urging Congress not to trust the USVI with post-disaster funds:

“It has been my position that the use of post-disaster federal funds to the U.S. Virgin Islands must receive the necessary oversight from Congress and there must be compliance safeguards to ensure adequate expenditure of those funds,” Plaskett said. “I do, however, take exception to the notion that the Congress cannot trust the Virgin Islands of the United States to adequately utilize much-needed federal aid to assist in its recovery and rebuilding effort post hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“That the Congress should do anything other than own its constitutional obligation to the insular territories is to continue the years of benign neglect which are primarily responsible for the fiscal woes of the U.S. Virgin Islands and others.

“What the Virgin Islands of the United States needs now more than ever is a commitment from the Congress that the Virgin Islands will be treated equally concerning allocation of federal resources — especially in basic social services like education, support of veterans and access to healthcare. The job of this Congress is not to enthrall itself in domestic politics.”

 

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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