During Monday’s weekly briefing, Government House Communications Director Richard Motta Jr. announced that Governor Albert Bryan Jr. will met with officials from Beam Suntory, which owns the Cruzan rum distillery on St. Croix, to formulate a cooperative approach toward establishing a permanent solution regarding rum cover-over payments to the USVI.
Director Motta noted that Governor Bryan also had similar discussions with representatives from Diageo about a coordinated approach to addressing the Congressional rum cover-process, which yields significant annual revenue to the Territory based on sales of rum in the U.S. mainland.
“These meetings follow other successful lobbying efforts by the Administration, like the 83 percent FMAP, or Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage, which has resulted in increased health care for Virgin Islanders who otherwise would go without health and income reimbursement,” Director Motta said.
While he was in Taiwan, Governor Bryan also celebrated the opening of the first Invest USVI Trade & Investments office in Taiwan to attract foreign direct investments into the USVI from Taiwan and the Asian Pacific Region.
Governor Bryan is due to return to the Territory this weekend.
Director Motta also noted that the Governor, last week, called the 35th Legislature into a Special Session to consider his proposed legislation allowing the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) to open a $150 million line of credit backed by existing GVI funds.
The line of credit would be used to supplement federal contributions for recovery projects in the Territory and initiate other specific recovery projects, as well as to assist with negotiated settlement obligations on behalf of WAPA and to provide funding for authorized governmental operations.
The line of credit would enable the Territory to meet federal matching funds requirements for recovery projects that amount to about $1 billion.
The funding Governor Bryan is seeking also would allow the GVI to assist smaller, local contractors to meet bonding requirements to initiate those recovery projects, Director Motta said.
In his letter to Senate President Novelle Francis Jr., Governor Bryan called for the Special Session to take place Wednesday, April 5.
Easter Camping Bonfires
Director Motta also informed residents that bonfires during the seasonal Easter Camping period will require specific permits from the V.I. Fire Service and Emergency Management Department this year.
“All bonfires must have a valid permit issued by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the Virgin Islands Fire Service and Emergency Management Services unit,” Director Motta said. “The permit must be available on-site, so if you have a permit, make sure you have that on your person if you plan to erect or light a bonfire anytime this weekend at your campsite.”
The bonfire permits are $20, and the application is available by going to the V.I. Fire Service and Medical Emergency Services website at https://vifems.org/ and clicking on “Forms.”
COVID-19 cases as of April 3
- Currently tracking 20 active cases (13 STX; 7 STT; 0 STJ)
- There is 1 COVID-19 patient hospitalized at Luis Hospital on St. Croix.
- There are 2 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
- There have been 130 COVID-related deaths.
For more information, visit covid19usvi.com.