Community Will Celebrate Second Territorial Day of Prayer on Tuesday
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — During the Government House weekly press briefing, Communications Director Richard Motta Jr. said that Governor Albert Bryan Jr. is asking Virgin Islanders to keep the residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in their thoughts and prayers as that community deals with the devastation of the volcanic eruptions of La Soufriere, which first erupted Friday.
Governor Bryan offered his prayers and support to the People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a letter on Friday to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and offered to assist any efforts being led by the White House or U.S. State Department.
“On behalf of the People of the US Virgin Islands, I want to express our concern and support to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as your islands face a tremendous challenge of seismic and volcanic fury,” Governor Bryan’s letter read in part. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you and our more than 110,000 brothers and sisters in the region. The United States Virgin Islands stands ready to assist the White House in its humanitarian efforts.”
The Governor’s Second Annual Territorial Day of Prayer is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, and can be viewed live at Facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI and on Government Access Channel 27.
The Bryan-Roach Administration is continuing its progress on the post-hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts and continues to make progress to improve and modernize our infrastructure and the quality of life for all Virgin Islands residents. In addition to the hurricane-related recovery road projects and the local road projects already underway, Governor Bryan on Thursday, submitted legislation proposing $20 million to pave, resurface and install proper drainage to more than two dozen roads throughout the territory.
Governor Bryan’s proposal provides $9.6 million to address 13 road projects on St. Croix, and $8.35 million to address 14 road projects in the St. Thomas-St. John District.
Governor Bryan is requesting an appropriation of $19.6 million of excess funds in the Debt Service Reserve Fund to be used for a list of urgently needed capital road projects, and he is asking the Senate to determine and earmark funds for the specific projects that have been prioritized by the Department of Public Works.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program to assist families who have fallen behind on rent payments as a result of the pandemic is currently open for residents to apply.
To qualify, residents must:
- Owe at least one month rent or utility payment or anticipate a need for future rental assistance
- Prove they have suffered loss of income because of COVID-19
- Have one or more household members at risk of homelessness because of nonpayment of rent
- Have an annual income at or below 80% of area median income.
For more information, go to www.vihfa.gov/erap or contact the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority at 340-772-4432 or 340-777-4432.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Department of Finance confirmed Monday that the Virgin Islands has received the funding from the U.S. Treasury for the $1,400 stimulus payments under President Biden’s American Recovery Plan.
The BIR and the Department of Finance are in the final days of completing the $600 CARES Act 2 stimulus payments for those individuals who have filed their 2019 income taxes after the tax deadline. Once those remaining $600 payments are complete this week, the BIR will configure its system to process the $1,400 American Rescue Plan stimulus payments and the bureau anticipates the distribution of those payments as early as next week.
Eligibility for the CARES Act 2 and American Rescue Plan stimulus payments are determined by the federal government and require a completed 2019 income tax return or form 1040 filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Residents who have not filed their 2019 taxes will not receive the $600 CARES Act 2 or the $1,400 American Recovery Act stimulus payments in any of these current check disbursements. However, residents who have not filed and meet the eligibility requirements can claim those stimulus payments on their next tax return.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue also has established a hotline – 340-714-9325 – to assist in responding to the high volume of calls be residents with questions about the stimulus checks.
To date, the Department of Health has given 31,305 vaccinations of the first dose and 20,004 individuals are fully vaccinated, and the Department of Health has the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen vaccines available in the Territory.
“I am so happy to report that our mobile vaccine strike team has successfully visited homes and senior living communities to vaccinate the elderly and those who are homebound and otherwise marginalized,” Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion said during Monday’s press briefing. “Everyone aged 16 and over is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines. There are no barriers to getting vaccinated. There are accommodations being made for seniors, individuals with disabilities and those that are undocumented. Nothing should stop you from seeking the vaccine.”
Persons who want the free vaccine can schedule an appointment by calling 340-777-8227 or go online at covid19usvi.com/vaccOVID-19 hotline remains open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for callers to report suspected cases of COVID-19. On St. Croix, call 340-712-6299 and in the St. Thomas-St. John District, call 340-776-1519.
As of April 12, the Department of Health has tested 92,289 people with 2,998 positives, with 6 new positives reported on March 27.
There currently are 63 active cases (38 on St. Croix; 22 on St. Thomas; and 3 on St. John), and 2,909 cases have recovered with 26 fatalities related to COVID-19.
- Four COVID-19 patients currently are hospitalized, with one patient on a ventilator, at Juan F. Luis Medical Center on St. Croix.
- One COVID-19 patient is currently hospitalized and on a ventilator at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
The Bryan/Roach Administration continues to be committed to transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in government and ensuring that the disaster recovery is completed as quickly as possible.