Pictured above: Former Senator Carlton Dowe was recently dismissed from his most recent position as head of the Port Authority. Dowe declined to speculate on the reasons why the VIPA board voted to release him on Dec. 21. But supporters took to social media to ask why someone who appeared to perform well as VIPA’s executive director would be dismissed.
Photo courtesy of Legislature of the Virgin Islands.
ST. THOMAS — A year end change by the Mapp administration brought controversy and speculation to the VI Port Authority. At the last meeting of the year, members of the VIPA Board dismissed Executive Director Carlton Dowe.
Dowe headed up the semi autonomous agency responsible for operations of the territory’s land and sea terminals since 2013. In a brief statement issued Dec. 21, the board announced the termination of his professional services contract.
With that action, Dowe became the fourth executive to leave or be removed from a semi autonomous agency since Gov. Kenneth Mapp took office in 2015. In a statement released upon his departure, Dowe listed his accomplishments and said he still has a future ahead.
Assistant VIPA Director David Mapp — a close relative to the governor — was named in Dowe’s place. David Mapp has served as second in command at VIPA for several years prior to Dowe’s appointment by former Gov. John de Jongh.
A source close to the VIPA board said all projects now in progress, including new construction at the Red Hook Parking Lot, will continue, uninterrupted. The lot outside the Urman Fredericks Ferry Terminal was recently closed to prepare for a new, double decker parking garage.
The newly released director said he was pleased to have served with the port authority. “I am extremely proud of what I have been able to do at the Port Authority working together with a fine team of people dedicated to working hard to improve things in our Territory,” Dowe said.
Since taking the helm in 2013, VIPA has improved its bond rating, signed a 10-year agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to berth at the Austin “Babe” Monsanto Marine Facility at Crown Bay, and won a $10.6 million dollar award from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Those funds, he said, are expected to be used to construct a shipping container facility on St. Croix.
At the time of his departure, Dowe was receiving an annual salary of $160,000. As he left his post, he extended holiday greetings to the people of the Virgin Islands and said he’d decline comment on the board’s decision to fire him.
Dowe now joins Hugo Hodge Jr. at the Water and Power Authority, May Adams Cornwall at the VI Waste Management Authority, Dr. Ken Oloko at the Gov. Juan Luis Hospital and Joseph Boschulte at the West Indian Co., Ltd., to resign, retire or be removed in the past two years.