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Governor Expresses Condolences To People of Anguilla Over Emile Gumbs’ Death

Governor Expresses Condolences To People of Anguilla Over Emile Gumbs' Death

LADY JOSEPHINE GUMBS AND SIR EMILE GUMBS

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Governor Kenneth Mapp said that he expresses his sincere condolences to the people of Anguilla, and to the many Virgin Islanders with strong Anguillan ties, on the passing of former Chief Minister Sir Emile Gumbs.

Sir Emile died earlier this month and will be laid to rest at a state funeral on Friday. Lt. Governor Osbert Potter will represent the U.S. Virgin Islands at the ceremony, Mapp said.

“On behalf of the Government and people of the Territory, I extend profound condolences to the Government and people of Anguilla on the passing of Sir Emile Gumbs, former Chief Minister of Anguilla,” Mapp wrote in a condolence message. “He has departed this life leaving his beloved Anguilla in mourning. At this sad time, it is fitting for the nation to pause and recognize his life-long contributions and service.”

Sir Emile, the island’s second and longest serving Chief Minister, is the only person from Anguilla to have been knighted, having been made a Knight Bachelor in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II. He holds the distinction of serving two terms as Chief Minister and is considered a central figure in the Anguilla Revolution.

“Public Service is not an easy duty to perform and its rewards are often small,” Mapp wrote. “There are times, however, when gifted persons rise to the occasion as exemplary statesmen and leaders. Sir Emile touched the lives of many Anguillans through his dedicated and devoted service. May God comfort and bless those in bereavement and continue to bless the great people of Anguilla.”

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MAPP TO UVI GRADS: Territory Is Rife With Job Opportunities In USVI Government

MAPP TO UVI GRADS: Territory Is Rife With Job Opportunities In USVI Government

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Governor Kenneth Mapp congratulated the 2018 graduates of the University of the Virgin Islands at the 54th commencement ceremony on Thursday.

Families, friends and well-wishers packed the UVI Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas to witness the occasion.

Mapp encouraged the graduates to consider applying for government and private sector jobs within the territory to assist in the rebuild with billions of dollars dedicated to its recovery.

“A number of those dollars will be used for hiring and recruitment across the government,” Mapp said. “Seize the great opportunity to work for the Government of the Virgin Islands. Things are getting better and salaries are on the rise.”

UVI President David Hall said that the graduation represented the graduates’ perseverance despite academic and personal obstacles. “The students faced two Category 5 hurricanes that could have dramatically delayed the fulfillment of their dreams, yet they rose to the challenge,” Hall said.

Class speaker Che-Raina Warner shared her personal story of success navigating a new environment and cultural landscape during her trip to China last year.

“If there is any lesson I took from China, it’s that if we avoid difficult things, great things will avoid us,” Warner said. “Class of 2018, we have got to see beyond our limits, we have got to be fearless. We have to take that chance, take a leap of faith.”

The University was particularly honored to have Danny Glover, acclaimed actor, producer, political activist and humanitarian as this year’s keynote speaker. Glover urged the students to remember the indomitable will they displayed, as well as the strength of their community in the face of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Glover told the members of the Class of 2018 that they are a source of inspiration for him.

“No adversity can break you. No storm can wash you away,” Glover said. “The work you will do in the world should always reflect the best. It should heal, it should repair, it should restore and revitalize. Never forget the fortitude and courage it took to succeed. You have made UVI and the world proud.”

Glover was awarded an honorary degree, along with local radio personalities Athniel “Addie” Ottley of WSTA and former Senator Holland Redfield for their achievement at the highest level of their professional careers.

The UVI – Albert A. Sheen Campus ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018 on St. Croix. Over 300 degrees are being conferred on both campuses.

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Mapp Breaks Ground At ‘Historic’ Veterans Drive Improvement Project in St. Thomas

Mapp Breaks Ground At 'Historic' Veterans Drive Improvement Project in St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Accompanied by public and private partners, Governor Kenneth Mapp broke ground Tuesday on the much awaited Veterans Drive improvement project on St. Thomas.

Over $120 million, much from already appropriated federal aid, will be spent on what is described as the “single largest road project in United States Virgin Islands history.”

“There are some who say I like to build,” Governor Mapp said. “I agree: I am a builder. I also like to break down old things,” he added, as he emphasized that his Administration’s goal is not just to preserve the status quo, but to challenge existing conditions by offering solutions for age-old problems besetting the territory.

The project to modernize and revive the downtown Charlotte Amalie waterfront was first envisioned 34 years ago, receiving its first environmental approval in October 1984. After innumerable re-evaluations and delays, it was finally approved in Summer 2017 with Governor Mapp’s strong backing.

A $42 million loan funds the project’s first phase, beginning at the Lucinda Millin intersection and ending west of the Hospital Gade intersection at Fort Christian Parking Lot. The second phase invests $60 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding that Governor Mapp has been negotiating for.

The project adds two additional lanes and a new pedestrian promenade along the harbor, supported by a strong sea wall. An additional sidewalk along the north side will also ensure a safer walking and sightseeing experience for residents and visitors and the Department of Public Works foresees the project easing traffic congestion and improving safety for motorists and pedestrians.

Adding traffic signals and an improved storm drainage underpins the upgrade while bastion-like projections along the promenade, along with landscaping and improved lighting for pedestrians, will improve the look of the waterfront area and amplify the many cultural and historical features that downtown Charlotte Amalie has to offer.

“Nothing happens before its time,” said Lt. Governor Osbert E. Potter. “It’s time to get started and put people to work … this is a project for our veterans and this is the beginning of a lot of good things.”

Governor Mapp added that the Veterans Drive project is a part of the administration’s larger mission to reconstruct and improve the territory and to project the U.S. Virgin Islands as a premier destination across the Caribbean and the world.

“We are committed to rebuilding the infrastructure, improving the quality of life, increasing private sector activity, and elevating the experiences of visitors to our shores,” he concluded.

The project is a public-private collaboration whose partners include the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works, Public Finance Authority, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Department of Property and Procurement, Department of Justice, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Downtown Revitalization Inc., the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.

Businessman Richard Driehaus provided financial support to call upon the technical expertise of town planning specialists Dover, Kohl & Partners. The project’s design team includes WSP Global Inc., the Jaredian Design Group and Public Works’ project management team led by Design Program Manager Jomo McClean.

Mapp Breaks Ground At 'Historic' Veterans Drive Improvement Project in St. Thomas

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Governor Mapp Says Virgin Islands Police Will See New Raises in June Paychecks

Governor Mapp Says Virgin Islands Police Will See New Raises in June Paychecks

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Starting salaries for Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) officers will officially increase on May 21, 2018.

Governor Kenneth Mapp said that he has formally authorized Division of Personnel Director Milton Potter to adjust the base pay for police officers from $30,715 to $40,953. Police officers now making less than the new base salary will also receive an increase to be reflected in their June 7 paychecks.

“This is great news for the VIPD and the territory as we will attract a wider field of candidates for these important jobs,” said Director Potter. “The Mapp-Potter Administration has prioritized raising wages for public sector workers.”

More than 3,000 government workers have received salary increases since 2016.

Mapp said competitive salaries are increasingly imperative given the many new employees the Virgin Islands government must hire to assist in moving the recovery effort forward.

“If we do not recruit new employees and retain adequate staffing levels our reconstruction and access to federal resources will be hampered,” the governor said. “Adequate staff to procure, monitor and report on the use of federal dollars ensures a successful recovery.”

The plan to raise VIPD salaries was recently announced in conjunction with the news that the first class of recruits since last year’s hurricanes had begun training at the Police Academy.

Potter noted that Office of Management and Budget Director Julio Rhymer has certified the availability of funding for the VIPD increases.

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MAPP: U.S. Education Department Awards Territory $13.1 Million To Put Schools Back

MAPP: U.S. Education Department Awards Territory .1 Million To Put Schools Back

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) has received $13.1 million in new federal assistance from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) under the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations program.

Governor Kenneth Mapp learned of the grant award during a phone call this week with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“This program is especially important now as it also affords us the ability to provide assistance to our private and parochial schools,” Mapp said. “Many of these campuses suffered severe damage or near total destruction in last year’s hurricanes and I have been seeking resources to assist.”

Secretary DeVos said she understands that this is a challenging period in the Virgin Islands for both students and teachers.

“As the U.S. Virgin Islands continue to recover from Hurricane Irma and Maria, this additional funding will help them restore a safe and healthy learning environment,” said Secretary DeVos. “I look forward to the Department’s continued work with Commissioner McCollum and her team as well as Governor Mapp as we work together to ensure students and teachers have the resources they need now and in the future.”

Under the K-12 Restart program, VIDE will administer funds to public, private and parochial schools in the St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix Districts to help defray the costs of restarting school operations and restoring the normal learning environment for students and families.

Department of Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum is extremely grateful to the USDOE for its continued support and recognition of the educational needs of the territory. “This is an exciting award that will give the Department an opportunity to expand the recovery efforts for both our public and non-public schools and meet the needs of our faculty and staff members,” said Commissioner McCollum.

The award, announced by Secretary DeVos, is the first in a multi-phase award process designed to provide prompt, initial funding while offering subsequent opportunities for additional assistance through future applications. Award amounts were developed based on information provided by the State Education Agencies in their applications, including the number of schools affected as a result of a covered disaster or emergency and how long they were closed.

Congress appropriated a combined amount of approximately $2.5 billion for both the Restart and Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students programs to assist disaster-stricken areas in Texas, Puerto Rico, California and the Virgin Islands.

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Governor Mapp Praises Doctors Who Plan to Open Surgical Center on St. Croix

Governor Mapp Praises Doctors Who Plan to Open Surgical Center on St. Croix

CHRISTIANSTED ― Governor Kenneth Mapp offered his congratulations Wednesday to the physicians behind Liberty Medical Development, which recently announced that it has successfully secured financing for a state-of-the-art surgical center at Estate Diamond on St. Croix.

The surgical center will offer operating and surgical procedure rooms with clinic offices for several local medical practices. Due for completion in about eight months, the center will employ at least 14 full-time workers.

“I commend medical practitioner Dr. Brian Bacot and his team for leading this project to fruition,” Mapp said. “The overall quality of healthcare within this territory continues to improve thanks to the commitment of dedicated service providers. This is a most welcome project on St. Croix.”

The ambulatory surgical center will be fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and will house practices specializing in orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, oral surgery, and dentistry, according to information provided by Liberty.

Other participating physicians include Dr. Anne Treasure, Dr. Byron Biscoe, Dr. Duane Jones, Dr. Renee Georges, Dr. Jeffrey Chase, Dr. Horace Griffith and Dr. Alexander Lenard.

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Mapp Says It Is Just A Matter of Time Before St. John Can Generate Its Own Power

Mapp Says It Is Just A Matter of Time Before St. John Can Generate Its Own Power

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CRUZ BAY – The island of St. John will soon be able to generate its own electricity, Governor Kenneth Mapp assured residents on Tuesday.

Power generation units are now en route to St. John and a supplemental solar field system has already been approved.

“Ultimately, you are going to be disconnected from St. Thomas,” Mapp said. “Generators are on boats on the way here.”

Speaking at a town hall organized by the Governor’s Office to hear from the community in regard to recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Mapp said plans are well underway to replace the severely damaged Julius E. Sprauve School and the Myrah Keating Smith Clinic and to make St. John more self-sufficient in the event of future emergencies.

At least 200 people came out to hear the governor speak to a standing-room-only crowd at the town hall meeting.

“We take pride that St. John is ahead of the curve in terms of its recovery,” he said.

Residents asked questions and expressed their concerns, many related to plans to erect temporary classrooms and to identify land for a new school.

While the ballfield adjacent to the Sprauve campus likely affords the most suitable location for the modular classrooms set to begin arriving next month, the governor said the Department of Education remained open to other possibilities if the appropriate infrastructure was in place to host students. Modular classrooms are expected to be in use for at least three years while a new school is designed and constructed. Several properties are now being evaluated as possible locations for the new school.

Mapp said the new campus would double as St. John’s primary hurricane shelter and be properly outfitted to accommodate the needs of the community. Drinking water and other emergency supplies will be stored on the island so that they are immediately accessible.

Road redesign and repair will also be a major part of the overhaul of St. John’s infrastructure, the governor added.

Plans include reopening Lameshur Road on the south shore in order to provide an alternate route to the East End.

Mapp has told U.S. Department of Interior officials that reopening the road, which traverses National Park land, is a matter of public safety.

The St. John community’s input remains essential as plans are laid for building a smarter and stronger Virgin Islands and effectively allocating billions in recovery funds, the Chief Executive said.

“We have been able to successfully gain the support of the federal Government for our reconstruction,” Mapp said. “What I am describing to you tonight is not a dream, these are plans now underway.”

Mapp Says It Is Just A Matter of Time Before St. John Can Generate Its Own Power

2018 CANEEL BAY RESORT IN ST. JOHN AFTER HURRICANE IRMA ON SEPT. 6, 2017

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Mapp Says ‘No’ To Senate’s ‘Electioneering’ Bill on Regulating Signage … For Now

 

Mapp Says 'No' To Senate's 'Electioneering' Bill on Regulating Signage ... For Now

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Governor Kenneth Mapp has approved legislation calling for further regulation of billboards.

Mapp said on Tuesday that he agreed with the intent of the legislation, which includes provisions to increase restrictions for billboards on public highways.

However, the governor noted in his letter to Senate President Myron Jackson, additional improvements to the territory’s billboard laws were still required, including setting appropriate fees for electronic billboards and greater accounting for “aesthetic issues.”

Mapp has vetoed Bill No. 32-0210, which grants the Chairman of the Board of Elections the power to determine the distance which electioneering can take place relative to polling sites.

“I have vetoed this bill because I do not agree that the sole discretion to set distances for electioneering should be vested in the Chairman of the Board of Elections,” the governor wrote. “I’m also of two views: concern that voters are at times overwhelmed with electioneering activities when entering a polling station and permitting the free exercise of our democracy to try and sway the voter one last time when they are entering a polling station to cast their ballot. Out of an abundance of caution, I have vetoed this bill and ask that we revisit this issue after the general elections.”

Read the governor’s complete letter here.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Mosler Questions Mapp’s Sincerity in ‘Honoring’ Our Mothers

Gubernatorial Candidate Mosler Questions Mapp's Sincerity in 'Honoring' Our Mothers

CHRISTIANSTED — Timed to be heard on radio just before Mother’s Day arrived, gubernatorial candidate Warren Mosler is questioning how Gov. Kenneth Mapp can claim to honor our “mothers and fathers” while at the same time stealing “their retirement funds.”

In the radio spot No. 9 heard on WJKC Communications radio stations on St. Croix, Mosler in fact questions whether Mapp has a “conscience” at all.

“A governor with a conscience honors our mothers and fathers — he does not steal their retirement funds,” Mosler says.

The radio spot, part of a series of nine that first began running in December 2017, continues with the theme of Mapp being a man without “conscience.”

“A governor with a conscience doesn’t buy himself six new $100,000 cars, instead of buying desperately-needed school supplies for our children,” the hedge fund magnate says.

In the end, Mosler says in the radio spot that Mapp’s lack of “conscience” means that deep down, he does not “respect” the voting public.

“A governor who actually likes us, treats us with respect,” the Independent candidate concludes.

To hear the radio ad in its entirety, please click on the link below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hOLr7G1KpgcFfCXp0Ki4sfm2J0liB6h0/view

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Mapp: Moms Across The Territory Get A Very Special Happy Mother’s Day Wish Today

Mapp: Moms Across The Territory Get A Very Special Happy Mother's Day Wish Today

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CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Kenneth Mapp extended Mother’s Day greetings to the women of the territory, highlighting “the special place in all our hearts for the women who gave birth to us, and mothered us through childhood and beyond.”

Mapp said that even women who might not have had children themselves, have helped rear new generations as caring sisters, aunts, godparents, educators and more.

“As we reflect on the passage and aftermath of the September storms of 2017, we also recognize the vital services from countless mothers, in both public and private arenas, who despite suffering severe losses in their personal lives, responded to the territory’s need for service and assistance and performed their duties with devotion and distinction,” the governor said. “These persons are truly modern-day heroines and a major reason why our recovery is on track and why brighter days lie ahead for our beloved Virgin Islands.”

Mapp wanted to give a special Mother’s Day wish to his own mother.

“We have been through a lot of hardship together these past months and so there’s no better time to reflect with love, gratitude, nostalgia and fondness for mothers who are sadly departed, and with deep appreciation for the blessing of still having mothers in our lives. I still cherish Mrs. Vashti Mapp’s existence each and every day that I live,” he said. “May God bless every mother and all those who stand in for them across our beloved islands. It is my sincere wish that you have a wonderful and love-filled Mother’s Day.”