U S Virgin Islands $400MM FEMA Community Disaster Loan

U S Virgin Islands $400MM FEMA Community Disaster Loan
Portrait of Governor Mapp

The United States Virgin Islands is to receive a loan of over $400 million from the Community Disaster Loan of the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA).

Speaking to reporters at Government House on St. Croix on November 10th, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp said the Government was in the process of executing the loan documents.

Loan allocation

The first drawdowns of the FEMA loan would provide $24 million for Schneider Regional Medical Center; $22 million to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center; up to $75 million for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA), with $31 million of that amount being released immediately; and up to $300 million for central government operations.

Reconstruction of top resorts

Governor Mapp recently met with representatives of Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas to continue the discussion about the future of the resort, which experienced extensive damage from the hurricanes. After a full assessment of the facility, the owners have determined reconstruction costs for the property will be in excess of $400 million. There are currently 140 people working on the reconstruction project.

The governor reported that Marriott Corporation is committed to maintaining the hotel’s brand and presence at the current location, adding that “the Government of the Virgin Islands will be a full partner to ensure their success in the reconstruction and rebuilding of the hotel.”

Special Legislative session

A special session of the Virgin Islands Legislature will be held on November 21, to address several proposed bills and two Coastal Zone Management permits for which immediate action is necessary.

One of the items to be reviewed during the Legislature’s special session is a proposed bill to authorize and appropriate $9 million to fund the completion of Phase Two of the Frederiksted Economic Revitalization Project. The Governor has proposed $6 million from the proceeds of the Limetree Bay Terminals bitumen project, $2 million from the Community Facilities Trust Account, and $1 million from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund.

Norwegian Dawn disappoints

Governor Mapp announced that the Norwegian Dawn wouldn’t dock on St. Croix on Saturday, November 11, as originally planned. He reported that Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President, Vessel Operations at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, extended apologies to the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands for the late notice of the cancellation. Lindsay told the Governor the decision was made by the onboard revenue side of the company, which claimed the cancellation was related to issues with on-ground excursions.

Governor Mapp said the island of St. Croix had been preparing for the ship’s arrival,

Frederiksted had been energized, the streets and the Port pier were cleaned, vendors and business people had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to be ready to welcome and serve cruise ship passengers. He assured the community: “We are going to get to the bottom of it and (will) try to turn that decision completely around.”

Power restoration

As power restoration continues across the Territory, 150 solar-powered lighting devices donated by the Virgin Islands Relief Fund will be distributed to assist with lighting homes. The device, which can also be used to charge mobile phones, will be distributed first to senior citizens living in communities that are yet to be energized.

Crucian Christmas Festival on

The Governor announced that the annual Crucian Christmas Festival is planned for December 22 through January 6, 2018. For the first time, the festivities will include Crucian Christmas Festival nights in St. Thomas as well as St. John, and will feature a diverse selection of music each night.

For more on FEMA, click the link: The Federal Emergency Management Authority cautions Irma survivors of suspicious activity

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