CHRISTIANSTED — U.S. Department of the Interior assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor has completed her first official visit to the USVI where she met with Governor Albert Bryan and other island leaders to emphasize the agency’s commitment to the people of the territory.
“My discussions with leaders in the Virgin Islands have been focused on efforts related to tourism and the revitalization of the economy post-COVID-19 as well as ongoing efforts to manage disaster recovery assistance,” Cantor said. “We at the Department of the Interior remain committed to supporting the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands and will continue to support them in all the ways that we can.”
Cantor met with Governor Bryan, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith, Federal Emergency Management Agency USVI director Kristen Hodge, and USVI Office of Disaster Recovery director Adrienne Williams.
Cantor also met with David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands, to learn more about the university’s efforts and the recent support provided by the Office of Insular Affairs for the university to conduct an oceanographic method and modeling project to monitor and document Sargassum accumulation and to assess water and environmental quality in key coastal locations.
The assistant secretary also met with Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association president Lisa Hamilton, National Park Service superintendent Nigel Fields, superintendent of the St. Croix National Parks Angelita Alvino, and the USVI director of Fish and Wildlife Service Michael Evans with visits to the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency Fusion Center and Limetree Bay.
In fiscal year 2022, OIA provided the USVI with nearly $3 million in Technical and Maintenance Assistance Program; $3.4 million under the Energizing Insular Communities program; $571,306 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding; and $378,339 under the Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative. OIA also provides support to the USVI through the Executive Leadership Development Program and the Island Government Finance Officers Association managed under the Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives. More information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs can be found at www.doi.gov/oia.
The assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the CoNMI, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA also administers a discretionary Technical Assistance Program for all the insular areas.