August 29, 2020 | 2:40 PM AST
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Governor Albert Bryan Jr., on Friday thanked the eight members of the 33rd Legislature who voted in favor of authorizing the administration to move forward with its plan to seek the securitization of the territory’s Internal Revenue Matching Fund bonds as a means of generating extra cash flow.
“I want to thank Senate President Novelle Francis for his continued leadership and Senators Alicia Barnes, Marvin Blyden, Allison Degazon, Donna Frett-Gregory, Stedman Hodge, Myron Jackson and Athniel “Bobby” Thomas for their support of this measure,” Governor Bryan said.
“Their vote allows the Government of the Virgin Islands to explore the market and realize savings that can fund critical government needs, and that can help reduce the unfunded pension liability of the Government Employees Retirement System,” the governor added. “The refinancing of our existing bond debt in this unprecedented low-interest-rate environment is too great an opportunity to not explore.”
The governor said the approval of the securitization measure Friday is an incremental step in the right direction. However, he stressed that there is still a lot of work ahead to resolve the territory’s fiscal issues.
“This is another step closer, but there is still a lot of work that has to be done. We have a long way to go, but this team has assured me that they are willing to work together to get things done for the people of the territory. This is an example of how Democrats can continue the party’s long legacy in shaping the Virgin Islands for the better when working together,” Governor Bryan said.
The Governor also stated that while his administration is in pursuit of this measure and others, he continues to be receptive to other proposed solutions brought forth by the Legislature and other community leaders.
“Our administration remains open to other solutions as we continue our work to stabilize the government and restore the people’s trust,” the governor said. “It will take a collective effort to right our financial ship and address the looming threat of insolvency confronting our public pension system.”
If finalized successfully, the administration’s securitization measure promises to add $255 million to the territory’s treasury over the next 3 years and produce additional cash flow savings until at least 2030.
Governor Bryan’s Cannabis Use Act, which proposes to add an estimated $20 million annually in new revenues, remains before the 33rd Legislature for further action.