Site icon Virgin Islands Free Press

Government House tells what governor did on trip to Puerto Rico

Government House tells what governor did on trip to Puerto Rico

CHRISTIANSTED — Government House updated the public Monday on the governor’s trip to Puerto Rico to join White House officials and leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Governor Albert Bryan traveled to Puerto Rico to celebrate the launch of Task Force VIPR, a groundbreaking initiative focused on the Caribbean region, specifically the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This task force, the first in the area, is designed to streamline and speed up the permitting process for significant construction projects. 

“Task Force VIPR is a response to the urgent need for improved infrastructure in the wake of natural disasters that have severely impacted the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” Government House spokesman Richard Motta said.

It organizes and prioritizes construction projects backed by the largest federal funding ever allocated for such endeavors in the American Caribbean by the South Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The task force, led by a dedicated leadership structure, will oversee all civil projects in its operational area.

DOE Tablet Distribution Announcement 

Mr. Motta announced that thanks to a $15 billion initiative by the U.S. Congress, the VI. Department of Education is able to offer free tablets and internet services to eligible students as part of the U.S. Affordable Connectivity Program. The offer is being extended to K-12 students enrolled in US Virgin Islands public and private schools, who are part of the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

With the help of Heritage Wireless and the efforts of Senator Donna Frett-Gregory, VIDE is making sure students who need it the most get access to these essential tech tools. 

The offer isn’t just handed out automatically. Parents must apply to make sure their children are eligible. The application deadline is February 2, and interested individuals can apply by visiting the Department of Education’s website at or by contacting Dr. Maria Melendez-Tirado at (340) 642-6934.

Horse Racing

In light of the governor’s State of the Territory Address last week in which Gov. Bryan pronounced that live horse racing will resume at the Clinton Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas during St. Thomas Carnival, Mr. Motta said the governor wished he could make a similar pronouncement for live horse racing at the Randal Doc James Racetrack on St. Croix. 

Mr. Motta noted that Governor Bryan said, “While construction appears to have just begun, VIGL has still not made the necessary progress in returning horse racing to the island of St. Croix — this after the administration has made every concession, including making available a $5 million grant towards the completion of the racetrack.”

Some members of the community have been spreading misinformation and misclassifying the governor’s comments, saying that the administration is intentionally holding up horseracing on St. Croix by holding back the $5 million grant from VIGL.  

“This is false,” Motta said.

Bryan agreed to make the funding available to VIGL once substantial progress was made toward the construction effort. VIGL agreed.

“We can all agree that it is prudent to have such stipulations on the use of taxpayer dollars in this regard, especially when, to this point that progress has been less than satisfactory,” Mr. Motta said. “So, just to be clear, there is no truth to the notion that Governor Bryan is withholding grant funding from VIGL to slow the progress of horse racing on St. Croix. The individuals saying that are being disingenuous and intentionally misleading.” 

Icon of the Seas Maiden Voyage 

Motta said the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, will make its maiden voyage to Crown Bay, St. Thomas tomorrow. In addition to this event, four other cruise ships will also be docking on St. Thomas.  

He warned residents and parents in the St. Thomas school district to ensure they pick up their children on time, as there may be limited taxi services due to the influx of tourists.

Also on Thursday, February 1st, there will be another four cruise ships docking at both ports. Mr. Motta warned residents to anticipate similar traffic and plan accordingly.

Exit mobile version