Twenty-one cabinet and judicial appointments were approved by the 33rd Legislature of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday.
An appointment to the Virgin Islands Port Authority Governing Board was also confirmed.
Governor Albert Bryan expressed gratitude for the Senate’s approval of his nominees, though the Senate is dominated with a super Majority of Democrats, and the approvals were all but certain. “Today was a good day for the Bryan-Roach Administration and the people of the Virgin Islands of the United States,” Mr. Bryan said. “We are grateful to the members of the 33rd Legislature for their vote of confidence and confirmation of each of the nominees, and look forward to the favorable consideration of the Cabinet members still awaiting action by the body. Our administration remains focused and will continue its work to restore the trust of our people in their government, grow our economy and improve the quality of life for Virgin Islands residents.”
Each nominee was vetted by the Legislature’s Committee on Rules & Judiciary before being voted on by the full body during Legislative session. Senator Gittens, president of the 33rd Legislature, said some of the nominees were veteran public servants, while others brought a great deal of private sector experience.
“We had a very diverse group of nominees before us today and most of them bring something truly great to the table,” Mr. Gittens said. “I would like to congratulate each of these individuals, but more importantly, wish them the wisdom, faith and diligence necessary to assume these critical roles in our community.”
“It was very important that we finalized this process so that these nominees can focus on doing the people’s business,” the president added.
Senators also unanimously supported a resolution calling on the United States Congress to provide subsidies to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the payment of earned income tax credits provided for under federal law. V.I. Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett introduced a measure in January that amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide reimbursement for possessions of the United States with respect to the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.
“The challenge in paying tax refunds locally is due in part to the earned income tax credit and I strongly support any plan that would bring some relief in this regard,” said Mr. Gittens.
A resolution offered by Mr. Gittens to honor the State Teacher of the Year, Kerra Samuel of Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School, was also approved by the body.
“Ms. Samuel’s dedication and hard work are evident,” he said. “We are aware that many of the State Teachers of the Year from throughout our nation serve in new roles after their selection primarily in terms of advocating for better educational practices across the board. They are also often given financial rewards and special assignments.”
Senators also approved four lease agreements – two agricultural leases, as well as lease agreements for Victor’s New Hideout and Paradise Trucking Service. A rezoning was also approved that will allow a beauty supply store destroyed by Hurricane Irma to reopen elsewhere on St. John.
Session was called to order at 10 a.m. at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas. Final consideration of the nominees was the focus of the day’s proceedings. A recess was called just before 9 p.m. and Senators plan to reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Nominations confirmed by the 33rd Legislature on Tuesday: