This is an open letter to the people of the Virgin Islands. On July 9, the Delegate to Congress held a Congressional hearing on the island of St. John to address Bill No. H.R.53, “Lease Act for a School.” I would like to thank her for this initiative.
We all heard the testimonies and I would like to give some clearer information. The National Park came to the government and the One Campus group over two years ago with the offer of the Bishop Property in Estate Catherineberg. This property was chosen because of how it was deeded to the Park without a reversionary clause and can be used for non-commercial usage.
Discussions took place for several months, because several key facts had to take place — one being that the owner had life tendency and was at that time still alive. Upon her death in 2006 at the ripe age of 105 this property became truly available.
The argument of precedent is an interesting one. If the Virgin Islands swaps land the proposal will fly, if we do not there is no “win win.” How do you explain that position?
Also, with a land lease the Secretary of Interior is still the land lord of their land and has the right to mandate what will or will not be constructed on the parcel. There seems to be a viable solution to this so called quandary. With the research done so far, the V.I. National Park is unlike any other and with that we are willing to work together.
The subject of monies, to do the required studies the National Park request is simple.
Senators Roosevelt David, Louis Hill and others supported bill number 6890 which provides the monies for the beginning of the project. We are requesting that the current Legislature and the governor not to redirect these funds because St. John needs them now for this project. The fund provides up to five million dollars for what we need done.
To the children, parents, teachers, community groups and overall residents of St. John, I ask you to take a position on the subject based on information that is available for your review and if it be pro or con, stand by your conviction and have open dialog. This subject is not going away!
As a member of One Campus, I do believe this can and will happen. As we continue to research and demonstrate with documentation that is correct we welcome the support of the entire Virgin Islands. “We must stand for something or die for nothing!” Again, I implore each one of us to ask questions, make phone calls and become part of the solution. Keep in mind we may all at times have differences of opinions, however, we must move forward to achieve the goal of a new, much needed campus on the island of St. John.
Resident of St. John & Member of One Campus