Governor Bryan Takes Action on 25 Bills

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Governor Albert Bryan Jr. took action on 25 bills sent up from the 35th Legislature, exercising his veto power on four of the measures, including a controversial zoning request for a concrete plant on St. Croix.

More than 900 residents signed a petition urging the Governor to follow the recommendations of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and veto Bill No. 35-0023, which is a request for a zoning use variance for a facility to manufacture concrete products in Estate Orange Grove.

“It is imperative that we consider the impact that our momentary decisions may have on future generations of Virgin Islanders. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources is actively developing a comprehensive land and water use plan to safeguard our home for the future,” Governor Bryan wrote in his transmittal letter to Senate President Novelle Francis Jr.

“We must give the professionals at DPNR the discretion to determine what is and is not appropriate use for the preservation of our land. They are the experts in the field tasked with the responsibility of guiding the protection of our Territory. We must allow them to complete the task we have set before them,” the Governor wrote.

The Governor also vetoed Bill No. 35-0052, a zoning change request for a parcel in Estate Carolina in Coral Bay, St. John, from a residential designation to a business designation. Governor Bryan again referenced the advisement by DPNR planners as his reason for exercising his veto power and said he looks forward to approving a revised bill that incorporates DPNR’s recommendations.

The Governor also vetoed Bill No. 35-0061, which directs the Office of the Inspector General to conduct an audit of the V.I. Water and Power Authority and appropriates $250,000 to fund the audit.

“Like its predecessor, this Bill would inappropriately infringe on the Inspector General’s independence to select how to best investigate the totality of government. Additionally, the measure is duplicative, as the Inspector

General has completed its review of the WAPA-VITOL Fuel Contracting Process and Transactions and submitted the report to the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands and the Office of the U.S. Attorney,” Governor Bryan wrote. “As you know, I have requested that the Inspector General review the Legislature’s proposed inquiries and provide a timeline and cost estimate for investigating the outstanding questions.”

Also vetoed was Bill No. 35-0055, which pertains to the school curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, saying the language of the section was revised January to ensure that VI and Caribbean history are integrated into school curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Bill No. 35-0055 is both unnecessary and cumbersome. Attempting to mandate specific courses for school children would result in altering graduation requirements and increasing the number of teachers needed in

an already strained school system, and it conflicts with existing policy set by the Board of

Education,” Governor Bryan wrote.

Although he approved Bill No. 35-0054, which relates to the Centennial Treasures Award, to provide for a single, lump-sum, and which also included non-germane amendments, Governor Bryan exercised his line-item veto to strike two sections of the measure.

The Governor said he struck a portion of Section 5 that states “Ninety days after the approval of the CZM permits for the Randall “Doc” James Racetrack,” because it seeks to interfere with and modify contractual rights and obligations, which is prohibited by the Contracts Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

“It perplexes me that the V.I. Legislature would seek to interfere with contractual obligations and safeguards negotiated to protect the Government’s investment,” Governor Bryan wrote in the transmittal letter. “I look forward to that day when this project has advanced sufficiently to cause the Government to disburse the funds agreed to in this Amended Franchise Agreement.

“Although I have approved Section 6 of the Bill, the section suspending the provisions of title 32 V.I.C. ch11, subch II, relating to Horse Racing Anti-Doping, I must remind the public that while the law is being suspended here, the Horse Racing Commission of the V.I. has made it clear that they will not sanction any races

that do not conform to the Anti-Doping rules for horse racing,” Governor Bryan also wrote.

Approved measures

Bills that Governor Bryan signed into law include:

  • Bill No. 35-0006, which honors and commends former Senator George E. Goodwin, awarding him the Virgin Islands Medal of Honor and naming the Cricket pitch in Estate Nazareth on St. Thomas in his honor.
  • Bill No. 35-0007, which honors and commends Boyd “Boyzie” Orlanzo Todman for his contributions to the people and the youth of the Virgin Islands.
  • Bill No. 35-0009, which enacts The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to declare June 19 a legal holiday in the Virgin Islands.
  • Bill No. 35-0010, which honors and commends Aloy “Wenty” Nielsen, names the Christiansted Bypass in his honor and appropriates $10,000 from the General Fund for signage at the Aloy Nielsen Bypass.
  • Bill No. 35-0011, which honors and commends former Senator Horace A. Callwood Sr. posthumously and names the north-south street immediately east of Windward Passage in his honor.
  • Bill No. 35-0026, which relates to insurers becoming members of a Federal Home Loan Bank and matters relating thereto.
  • Bill No. 35-0049, which establishes a Local Food and Farm Council in accordance with mandate five of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Plan.
  • Bill No. 35-0050, which establishes the Bureau of School Construction and Maintenance within the Virgin Islands Department of Education and changes the Education Maintenance Fund to the School Construction, Maintenance and Capital Fund and appropriates $2.5 million to that fund.
  • Bill No. 35-0063, which approves a land exchange between the Virgin Islands Port Authority and the University of the Virgin Islands in Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas.
  • Bill No. 35-0068, which authorizes the members of the Board of Medical Examiners to serve temporarily as de facto board members of boards established under title 3 Virgin Islands Code, section 415 if a board does not have enough members to establish a quorum
  • Bill No. 35-0072, which ratifies the Governor’s approval of a Major Coastal Zone Management Permit to Independent Boatyard and Marina.

Lease agreements

Lease agreements with the Government of the Virgin Islands that Governor Bryan approved include:

  • Bill No. 35-0017, which approves a Lease Agreement with St. Thomas Gas for Parcel
  • No. 4 Sub Base to be used for the purpose of operating a trucking, transportation, delivery, and retail business of bottled propane gas.
  • Bill No. 35-0018, which approves a Lease Agreement with A-9 Trucking Enterprises, Inc. and Sarnelli Bros., (V.I.) Inc. d/b/a V.I. Recycling Company.
  • Bill No. 35-0019, which approves a Lease Agreement with VIYA for a portion of a telecommunication tower and a bunker to establish wireless link connections and house in Recovery Hill, St. Croix.
  • Bill No. 35-0025, which approves a Lease Agreement with Ace Trucking and Trash Removal.

Zoning changes

Zoning requests Governor Bryan approved include:

  • Bill No. 35-0021, which changes the zoning designation from residential to public for three plots in Estate Hermon Hill on St. Croix.
  • Bill No. 35-0022, which grants a zoning use variance for a plot in Estate Sion Hill to allow for a beauty salon.
  • Bill No. 35-0024, which grants a zoning for a parcel in Estate Anna’s Retreat in St. Croix to allow for dwellings.
  • Bill No. 35-0040, which grants a zoning variance for parcels in Estate Thomas on St. Thomas to allow an office, two 1-bedroom, apartments, flex space, gym, 13 parking spaces, cistern and grey
  • water cistern and accessory building for generator and garage space.
  • Bill No. 35-0053, which grants a zoning use variance for a parcel in Estate Contant in St. Thomas to allow for offices.

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