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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, August 20, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSEN. BERRY MEETS WITH OFFICIALS OF DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR

SEN. BERRY MEETS WITH OFFICIALS OF DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR

In a meeting Saturday evening with officials from the Department of Interior, Senator Lorraine L. Berry chairman of the Finance Committee was cautioned to carefully scrutinize every aspect of the $32.4 million Y2K proposal to be considered by the legislature this coming Thursday. "One or two weeks delay will not jeopardize the process," she was told by Director of Insular Affairs, Allan Stayman, a view echoed by the secretary of the department, Bruce Babbitt, a key member of President Clinton's cabinet.
Berry queried Secretary Babbitt about Washington's financial aid and learned that only $1.4 million has been allocated to be split among territories. Berry, however, pointed to assistance offered the Virgin Islands in a letter to governor Schneider July 14, 1998 – – to which no response had been made – – and was informed that Washington has established a Y2K team composed of top experts to provide technical assistance to rectify a problem which, if not remedied, could cause wide-spread devastation. Berry was assured upon request – – which she promptly initiated but went on to note a formal request would undoubtedly be forthcoming from the administration – – that the Virgin Islands would receive such aid. This, said Berry, would be of valuable assistance in reducing the critical fiscal burden facing the Virgin Islands.
Berry also noted that small businesses, which must finance their own fixes, may well delay enacting remedial measures until too late or go under – – and further noted that Congress, in order to help businesses which lack programming and technical resources, has passed "the year 2000 information and readiness disclosure act." This, she said, provides limited liability to businesses that share information about their Y2K problems. Mr. Stayman said he would check into this aspect of remedial measures and report back by Tuesday.
In further discussions with Secretary Babbitt, the finance chair spoke of the possibility of forgiving the FEMA loan; increasing rum excises taxes to $13.50; the status issue and the acquisition of 200-plus acres, including beach front property on St. Thomas, for the government and the people of the Virgin Islands. Berry told Secretary Babbitt a previous comprehensive study concluded it could be ideally utilized for housing, recreation, conservation and other purposes.
Berry was accompanied by post audit's senior economic policy researcher, Florette Champaine, Chief of Staff James A.D. Francis and public relation assistant, Francesca Greve.

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In a meeting Saturday evening with officials from the Department of Interior, Senator Lorraine L. Berry chairman of the Finance Committee was cautioned to carefully scrutinize every aspect of the $32.4 million Y2K proposal to be considered by the legislature this coming Thursday. "One or two weeks delay will not jeopardize the process," she was told by Director of Insular Affairs, Allan Stayman, a view echoed by the secretary of the department, Bruce Babbitt, a key member of President Clinton's cabinet.
Berry queried Secretary Babbitt about Washington's financial aid and learned that only $1.4 million has been allocated to be split among territories. Berry, however, pointed to assistance offered the Virgin Islands in a letter to governor Schneider July 14, 1998 - - to which no response had been made - - and was informed that Washington has established a Y2K team composed of top experts to provide technical assistance to rectify a problem which, if not remedied, could cause wide-spread devastation. Berry was assured upon request - - which she promptly initiated but went on to note a formal request would undoubtedly be forthcoming from the administration - - that the Virgin Islands would receive such aid. This, said Berry, would be of valuable assistance in reducing the critical fiscal burden facing the Virgin Islands.
Berry also noted that small businesses, which must finance their own fixes, may well delay enacting remedial measures until too late or go under - - and further noted that Congress, in order to help businesses which lack programming and technical resources, has passed "the year 2000 information and readiness disclosure act." This, she said, provides limited liability to businesses that share information about their Y2K problems. Mr. Stayman said he would check into this aspect of remedial measures and report back by Tuesday.
In further discussions with Secretary Babbitt, the finance chair spoke of the possibility of forgiving the FEMA loan; increasing rum excises taxes to $13.50; the status issue and the acquisition of 200-plus acres, including beach front property on St. Thomas, for the government and the people of the Virgin Islands. Berry told Secretary Babbitt a previous comprehensive study concluded it could be ideally utilized for housing, recreation, conservation and other purposes.
Berry was accompanied by post audit's senior economic policy researcher, Florette Champaine, Chief of Staff James A.D. Francis and public relation assistant, Francesca Greve.