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U.S. Interior Department Gives $2.2 Million More To Virgin Islands Government

WASHINGTON — Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech presented a check to Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. for $2,228,901 this week.

The monies represent an adjustment to the actual certified rum excise tax amounts for FY 2018.

Certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, this amount represents the final rum excise tax payment owed to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the 2018 fiscal year, according to a Department of Interior release.

“These funds are critical to the USVI government,” Domenech said. “And the Interior team has been working to conclude the transfer of funds today.”

Adjustments are calculated based upon amounts advanced from rum excise taxes derived from the USVI and collected by the federal government under the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands (48 USC 1541).

Under current law, any excise tax collected on USVI-manufactured rum imported into the United States is transferred to or “covered-over” to the USVI.

Each year, the USVI Government submits an advance estimate of rum excise taxes to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs for a “cover-over” payment to be made in September of each fiscal year.

An initial advance payment of $223,925,000 for FY 2018 was paid in September 2017.

The total and actual amount certified for 2018 rum excise taxes collected for the U.S. Virgin Islands comes to $226,153,901 – this week’s payment of $2,228,901 makes up the difference.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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