Monday, April 13th 2009

(reprinted from Virgin Islands Daily News)

ST. JOHN – Gov. John deJongh Jr. met with more than 100 people on St. John on Wednesday to address questions from residents.

The meeting, one in a series of neighborhood meetings planned territory-wide, was held at the St. Ursula’s Multipurpose Center and focused on communities including: Estate Contant, Powerboyd Plantation, Pine Peace and Estate Enighed and The Valley, according to a Government House statement released over the weekend.

“These meetings are an opportunity for my Cabinet members and I to hear directly from residents on the little things that add aggravation to everyday life,” deJongh said as he opened the three-hour meeting.

Joining deJongh were St. John Administrator Leona Smith., V.I. Police Commissioner James McCall, Sgt. Mario Brooks, Waste Management Authority’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Aubin, and representatives from department’s of Public Works, Housing, Parks and Recreation, Housing Finance Authority.

Residents discussed a wide range of problems such as road conditions, downtown Cruz Bay parking, flooding, garbage pickup, property taxes and increased property valuations, speeding on the narrow roadways of St. John by heavy equipment and truck operators, the high cost of living on St. John, crime, police response and visibility as well as upgrades to the 911 emergency communications system.

Several residents also expressed frustration with increased ferry fares that are to take effect on May 1, others suggested that with increased fares should come an improvement in service by ferry operators.

“The neighborhood meetings are an ongoing initiative of my administration as we work to constantly improve not only communications between residents and their elected leaders but work together to bring about a better quality of life for those who call the Virgin Islands home,” deJongh said.