Working For Results: 3rd Quarter Report
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Message From the Senator
The past few months have been challenging to say the least. Our focus has been on keeping our community safe and passing on a conservative balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY'22). As the Vice-Chair of the Committee of Finance, I have been laser-focused on the budget process, identifying areas of critical need within departments and agencies, and ensuring that the needs are met. This quarter ends with the successful passage of the 2022 Executive Budget at approximately $924.2 million dollars.
Current events have shown us more now than ever life brings unexpected challenges; from natural disasters to the global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of members in our community and others throughout the world. This pandemic has forced us to change the way we do business; it is imperative we continue to follow the protocols and adjust, as necessary. The resilience of our community inspires me. It is my prayer we continue in our spirit of resilience, community support, and innovation. I am humbled to have your support and I continue to be committed to being your advocate.
Senator Donna Frett-Gregory has been steady in her commitment to work on your behalf to address issues and to find solutions to the territory's most pervasive problems. She continues to fight passionately for the issues that matter to you and her record of accomplishments reflects her dedication to our community.
Fuel Tax Remittance (Act 8458) - Requires that the tax imposed on fuel imported into the Virgin Islands must be paid upon entry into the territory. This provides an accurate accounting of the territory’s gasoline imports and ensures that taxes are properly collected. While this measure amends a single section in the V.I. Code, it is impactful, as it ensures the GVI does not leave this revenue stream uncollected.
Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Governing Board (Act 8471) - The amendment offered by the Senator authorizes that the V.I. Water and Power Authority contract a turnaround management company to assess the status of the authority and make recommendations for improving its efficiency.
Estate Nazareth Sports Complex (Act 8473) - Appropriated $2 million to the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee, which provides the local matching requirement to build a sports complex that will serve as a site for athletic training, sport competitions in soccer, cricket, and baseball, and will act as a shelter in emergencies.
Spay and Neuter Programs (Act 8473) - Recognizing the influx of stray animals in the territory and to reduce the numbers, $120,000 is appropriated in the FY’22 Budget for the spay and neuter program to support the animal rescue organizations on St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Of the total appropriation $50,000 is appropriated for St. Thomas, $50,000 for St. Croix and $20,000 for St. John.
St. John Multipurpose Use Facility (Act 8473) - $400,000 is appropriated in the FY’22 Budget to the Virgin Islands Port Authority from the St. John Capital Improvements Fund. These funds will be directed to the architectural and engineering design of a multipurpose-use-facility which will be used to support cultural events and other community purposes on the island of St. John.
Hospital Funding (Act 8473) - appropriated $1,390,000 to the Schneider Regional Medical Center for technology enhancement and capital equipment to improve patient and employee safety, meet regulatory reporting requirements, and improve staff working conditions.
Stenography Scholarship Funding (Act 8473) - Stenography is a dying profession. The sum of $10,000 was appropriated for the stenography scholarship which is a special legislative scholarship for individuals pursuing a certificate in stenography or completing a program of study in court reporting or a related field.
SEAT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (SEAT IEC) (Act 8473) - the sum of $50,000 appropriated for SEAT IEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, empower, advise, and train individuals who have traditionally been underrepresented in the small business arena. The organization is piloting the “Three Queens Ventures Women’s Business Accelerator,” an accelerator program for USVI women, in the creative arts, who are interested in growing or expanding their businesses.
LEGISLATION IN PROGRESS:
Maritime Industry Bill (Bill No. 34-0078) - This economic development bill transfers the former Addelita Cancryn Junior High School campus to the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) to grow and expand the maritime industry by expanding the marine transshipment and cargo storage facility. The children of the Virgin Islands will benefit as VIPA must direct 50% of the net income from the transshipment operations to the Education Maintenance Fund to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff attend school in a safe and secure environment.
Victims’ Notification (Bill No. 34-0141) - Requires the Department of Justice to notify victims of crimes of the release of their perpetrator.
Pride Act (BR21-0043) - The bill seeks to enact a variety of measures to protect our land and sea ecosystems, remove safety hazards, beautify our neighborhoods, and instill a better sense of community pride. Property owners will be responsible for maintaining the entire acreage of their property line. It also requires a certain percentage of the items sold in Vendors Plaza or other vendor markets throughout the territory be locally sourced. The Department of Public Works will be required to erect welcome signs in neighborhoods and the Department of Property and Procurement will be required to secure all unoccupied government buildings.
Fair Chance for Employment Act (Ban the Box) (BR21-0020) - Restricts employers from asking or using as a factor for the condition of employment information about a criminal record or history of conviction until the applicant has been given a conditional offer. This establishes protections and more paths for employment. It is viewed as a second chance and allows employers to consider new employees based on their ability and qualification.
DFG In The Community
The Legislature of the Virgin Islands represented at the Virgin Islands Police Department Recruit Training Class Graduation Ceremony. Senator Donna Frett-Gregory along with other members of the 34th Legislature were present to congratulate the men and women who made the courageous decision to serve and protect the people of the Virgin Islands. The Legislature is proud of Ms. Khalisha Clarke and Mr. Annias Jawahir, our recent Legislature Enforcement Officers who are recent Graduate Officers of the Peace Officer Recruit Training Class of 2021.
Attending the road naming ceremony of former Senator Judy Gomez was a proud moment. Ms. Gomez has served our territory well as a teacher, attorney, senator, Board of Education member, and a founding member of the SPARKS youth group. Senate President Frett-Gregory was delighted to present a plaque on behalf of the 34th Legislature for the well-deserved honor.
The DFG Community Foundation along with the Office of Senator Frett Gregory wrapped up its last “Kids Kitchen” Summer Saturdays Meal Program for this calendar year in Love City -St. John. Two hundred hot meals were served to the children of Bellevue Village and Calabash Boom Communities. Special thanks are extended to the student volunteers, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. -Sigma Theta Omega Chapter, Ms. Powell, Mr. Brian Zerhing, and the Beach Bar on St. John for sponsoring the meals.
During September Senator Frett-Gregory made appearances on talk radio shows throughout the community to remain connected with her constituents. She was heard on:
WSTA – “Pass It On” with Roosevelt David
WTJX – “Analyze This” with Neville James
WSTX - “Just Jamila” with Jamila Russell
Da Vybe- “In Da Morning” with Sheldon Turnbull
The Senator will continue to make visits to the local radio stations to ensure that she remains connected with the people and allows direct opportunities to be asked questions.
Zoning Map Amendments Tour – Senator Frett-Gregory organized the first zoning map amendments tour in both districts for Senators. The Legislature is responsible for making changes to the zoning map and it was important that Senators in both districts are aware of what is before them for consideration. Tours will continue in October in the St. Thomas-St. John District.
The Senator was invited by the Council on State Government (CSG) to attend the Robert J. Thompson Eastern Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this summer. There, she had an opportunity to meet legislators from across the United States and Canada. The discussion highlighted that the challenges we face are not only unique to us. It was good to share experiences about similar issues and discuss paths for solutions.
On Monday, October 4th, the Senator thankfully and joyously celebrated her birthday. It was a wonderful opportunity for fellowship with colleagues, friends and family and the Senator is truly appreciative of all the well wishes received on the day. It was also a time of reflection on the work ahead. Special thanks are extended to her DFG Team for making the day special!
Get in Touch
Our office is always open to the entire Virgin Islands community to share concerns, ask questions, or pitch ideas that will positively affect our Territory. You can reach us right here on the website via "Get Involved" or you can:
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us at (340) 693-3686