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Governor Bryan Says Bars And Restaurants Must Close One Hour Earlier Now

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan. plans to deliver the 2022 State of the territory address at 7 p.m. January 24 from the Earl B. Ottley Legislative Chambers in St. Thomas.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference at Government House, Bryan said he will update the Legislature and the people of the Virgin Islands on the ongoing hurricane recovery and progress on the many capital improvement projects currently underway at that time.

Other news and notes from Monday’s Government House press conference:

  • Beginning eight days ago, all travelers to the USVI had to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours (three days prior to travel). This applies to all travelers, vaccinated or not, including people who were vaccinated in the USVI.
  • Starting last night:: bars, restaurants and nightclubs had to close at midnight and last call for alcohol will be at 11 p.m. The new rules will stay in place until further notice.

The new owners of Frenchman’s Reef Resort on St. Thomas will receive $244.94 million in benefits from the V.I. Economic Development Authority. The VIEDA board voted unanimously to grant Fortress Investment Group the benefits, which will be paid out over 30 years. The Fortress Investment Group runs the Reef Marriott Resort and Spa and Noni Beach, a St. Thomas Resort, Autograph Collection.

Bryan, in collaboration with Senate President Donna Frett Gregory, the 34th Legislature, the GERS Board, and its actuarial advisors are proposing legislation to restore solvency to the Government Employees’ Retirement System (GERS).

Similar to the two other proposals championed by Bryan in 2020, this current proposal calls for the Legislature to authorize the refinancing and restructuring of a significant portion of the Virgin Islands’ Internal Revenue Matching Fund Bonds at current market interest rates.

The transaction, if successful, can save the government of the Virgin Islands tens of millions of dollars per year. As in his previous two proposals, Governor Bryan’s plan remains to use the hundreds of millions in debt savings to issue a new bond to buy solvency for the GERS to at least 2052.

In his upcoming 2022 State of the Territory Address, Bryan will provide an update on the Government of the Virgin Islands’ “robust financial stability” and the administration’s continuing efforts to mitigate the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the speech live on Facebook or on the Government Access Channel.

By 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.