91.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTURNBULL'S STATEMENT ON PROSSER BILL VETO

TURNBULL'S STATEMENT ON PROSSER BILL VETO

A short while ago by letter, I advised Senate President Vargrave A. Richards that I have vetoed Bill No: 23-0060, in spite of the many laudable goals and objectives, because the proposed Agreement does not provide a viable plan which would provide substantial benefits to the people of the Virgin Islands.
As you are aware, on May 25, 1999, I received Bill No: 23-0060, more popularly known as the Prosser Proposal, passed by the 23rd Legislature on Saturday morning May 22, 1999 for my consideration. The bill is intended to authorize the Governor to execute a proposal between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Innovative Communication Corporation relating to the conveyance and improvement of certain lands to the Government; and to construct and maintain certain public projects in the Virgin Islands. In return, the agreement would provide tax benefits to ICC and affiliated entities.
At the time I received the bill, I made it clear that my actions would be guided by the constitutionality of the actions taken by the 23rd Legislature in considering and passing this Bill and if it were in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.
The bill authorizes and empowers me to execute an attached Appendix I, which is a document negotiated by certain members of the Legislature as opposed to the Executive Branch. Additionally, contained in the same (Appendix I) are several instances where the Legislature attempts to inject itself into Executive decision-making and administrative functions associated with the proposed Agreement. These are clear violations of the separation of Powers Doctrine of the United States Constitution and the Revised Organic Act of 1954, as amended.
Under the revised Organic Act, the executive powers are vested in the Governor of the Virgin Islands. As such, it is inherent that the only person who can negotiate on behalf of, bind the Government to any contract or agreement, and then execute the agreement is the Governor or his duly authorized designees. Bill No: 23-0060 is not an authorization to negotiate, rather it is a pre-negotiated agreement with many ambiguities and areas of concern. Hence, while the intent of the Legislature is notable, I cannot condone an unconstitutional act or approve a proposed agreement that is not in the best interest of the Territory.
I also said that I intended to conduct a comprehensive financial analysis of the Bill to insure that the Bill as passed is in the best long- term interest of the people and government of the Virgin Islands.
In considering the granting of benefits above and beyond what is available through the existing Industrial Development Program to so many entities, the overall-long term benefit and value to this community must be weighed against the potential loss of revenue and the negative impact resulting from the anti-competitive impact on other enterprises. The financial analysis of Bill No 23-0060 and the appended proposed Agreement, for varying reasons have concluded that in their present form are detrimental to the Territory. Additionally, it has been indicated that the bill and its Appendix could also adversely impact the current HOVENSA Agreement.
In sum, Bill NO 23-0060 and the appended proposed Agreement as passed by the Legislature are clearly not in the best interest of the people and the Territory, nor are they constitutionally sound. I had no choice but to veto Bill No 23-0060.
Finally, My fellow Virgin Islanders, the contributions of Mr. Jeffery Prosser and his companies, including Innovative Communication Corporation and the affiliated entities, to the Virgin Islands are well documented and are greatly appreciated. In vetoing this bill, I do not reject the Legislature's endorsement of the concept of joint public private partnerships or projects contained in the proposed agreement, nor is my recognition of the generosity of Mr. Prosser diminished. I remain committed to seeing some or all of these projects to fruition and will pursue all available options. Thank you.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
A short while ago by letter, I advised Senate President Vargrave A. Richards that I have vetoed Bill No: 23-0060, in spite of the many laudable goals and objectives, because the proposed Agreement does not provide a viable plan which would provide substantial benefits to the people of the Virgin Islands.
As you are aware, on May 25, 1999, I received Bill No: 23-0060, more popularly known as the Prosser Proposal, passed by the 23rd Legislature on Saturday morning May 22, 1999 for my consideration. The bill is intended to authorize the Governor to execute a proposal between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Innovative Communication Corporation relating to the conveyance and improvement of certain lands to the Government; and to construct and maintain certain public projects in the Virgin Islands. In return, the agreement would provide tax benefits to ICC and affiliated entities.
At the time I received the bill, I made it clear that my actions would be guided by the constitutionality of the actions taken by the 23rd Legislature in considering and passing this Bill and if it were in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands.
The bill authorizes and empowers me to execute an attached Appendix I, which is a document negotiated by certain members of the Legislature as opposed to the Executive Branch. Additionally, contained in the same (Appendix I) are several instances where the Legislature attempts to inject itself into Executive decision-making and administrative functions associated with the proposed Agreement. These are clear violations of the separation of Powers Doctrine of the United States Constitution and the Revised Organic Act of 1954, as amended.
Under the revised Organic Act, the executive powers are vested in the Governor of the Virgin Islands. As such, it is inherent that the only person who can negotiate on behalf of, bind the Government to any contract or agreement, and then execute the agreement is the Governor or his duly authorized designees. Bill No: 23-0060 is not an authorization to negotiate, rather it is a pre-negotiated agreement with many ambiguities and areas of concern. Hence, while the intent of the Legislature is notable, I cannot condone an unconstitutional act or approve a proposed agreement that is not in the best interest of the Territory.
I also said that I intended to conduct a comprehensive financial analysis of the Bill to insure that the Bill as passed is in the best long- term interest of the people and government of the Virgin Islands.
In considering the granting of benefits above and beyond what is available through the existing Industrial Development Program to so many entities, the overall-long term benefit and value to this community must be weighed against the potential loss of revenue and the negative impact resulting from the anti-competitive impact on other enterprises. The financial analysis of Bill No 23-0060 and the appended proposed Agreement, for varying reasons have concluded that in their present form are detrimental to the Territory. Additionally, it has been indicated that the bill and its Appendix could also adversely impact the current HOVENSA Agreement.
In sum, Bill NO 23-0060 and the appended proposed Agreement as passed by the Legislature are clearly not in the best interest of the people and the Territory, nor are they constitutionally sound. I had no choice but to veto Bill No 23-0060.
Finally, My fellow Virgin Islanders, the contributions of Mr. Jeffery Prosser and his companies, including Innovative Communication Corporation and the affiliated entities, to the Virgin Islands are well documented and are greatly appreciated. In vetoing this bill, I do not reject the Legislature's endorsement of the concept of joint public private partnerships or projects contained in the proposed agreement, nor is my recognition of the generosity of Mr. Prosser diminished. I remain committed to seeing some or all of these projects to fruition and will pursue all available options. Thank you.