During his trip this week to Washington, D.C., Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed documents to execute the sale of reissued Rum Cover-Over Bonds, creating significant savings in debt-service and interest payments to provide long-term solvency to the Government Employees’ Retirement System (GERS).
“For the better part of 30 years, we have known of the imminent insolvency of the GERS, and without any viable solutions being proposed over the years, it grew worse. Because of the actions we have taken, this is no longer an issue,” Governor Bryan said.
“Three years ago, the Bryan-Roach Administration promised to find a solution, and I am proud to have kept that promise. Today we have taken a great leap forward to secure the pensions of our hard-working government employees, past, present and future, and the stabilization of GERS provides a foundation for the continued positive transformation of U.S. Virgin Islands,” the Governor said.
Governor Bryan’s bailout plan, which he first proposed in 2020 and submitted to the V.I. Legislature on four separate occasions, utilizes a special type of corporate entity called the Matching Fund Special Purpose Securitization Corporation. This entity is wholly separate from the Government of the Virgin Islands and was specifically authorized by the Legislature to issue bonds based on rum tax revenues. These bonds permit refinancing on more favorable terms at current interest rates.
While in Washington, the Governor also conferred with the Biden White House regarding multiple issues of importance to the Territory and met with the new ownership of the St. Croix oil refinery regarding their reopening strategy.