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HomeNewsArchivesTURNBULL EXPLAINS RECENT TRIPS, ANNOUNCES BOND ISSUE

TURNBULL EXPLAINS RECENT TRIPS, ANNOUNCES BOND ISSUE

In only his second press conference since taking office in January, and the first where he answered questions, Gov. Charles Turnbull on Friday explained his whereabouts for the past month and a half.
While Turnbull said that a trip to Denmark — with visits to Germany and England — and travels to Texas, Missouri and New York were paid for by the V.I. government, he didn’t disclose costs.
For the last six weeks, Turnbull has been intermittently out of the territory. But during those trips, he said he was either promoting the territory or conducting business.
His trip to New York included meetings with representatives of bond rating agencies about a $100 million bond sale to help the government deal with massive financial problems.
"We’re determined that the government function," Turnbull said. "We’re not going to let the V.I. sink . . . sometimes it will be controversial."
When asked about details about the bond issuance, Turnbull deferred questions to Rudy Krigger, the governor’s advisor on financial affairs.
Krigger, however, didn’t disclose what the government would use to secure them.
"We’re looking at different revenue streams to repay the bonds to make sure the bond holder feels comfortable," Krigger said.
He added that V.I. bonds are popular because they are tax free on the federal, state and municipal levels.
On his trip to Texas where he spoke to members of his fraternity, Turnbull also met with Andrew Beal, owner of Beal Aerospace Technologies, which wants to build its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant on St. Croix. The plan, however, is opposed by environmental groups and others who don’t want to trade public land at Great Pond Bay the company needs for the project.
Opponents of Beal developing the Great Pond site want the company to move to an industrial area near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
"My mission to Beal was to convince them to relocate to St. Croix, but not at Great Pond," Turnbull said.
But after two hours of talks, Turnbull said Beal was adamant that the only viable site is at the Great Pond location, even if it means legal battles with those opposing the proposal. Because of Beal’s position, Turnbull said he will support the company’s efforts.
"They are determined that it’s either Great Pond or nowhere else in the territory," Turnbull said. "We have to make a decision: Great Pond or nowhere. It’s as clear as that."
Turnbull also spoke about the territory’s precarious financial state. According to a report done by CORE International, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting company, the V.I. has a cumulative budget deficit of more than $1 billion. Since 1993 to 1998 alone, the report said the government borrowed more than $500 million, on top of deficit of some $140 million.
And that wasn’t lost on Turnbull on Friday. As he cautioned Virgin Islanders that in order to recover financially he would have to cut the government payroll, he made it clear that the problem wasn’t created on his watch.
He said decades of "doing the wrong things financially" lead to the present situation. However, he said former Gov. Roy Schneider’s administration was the prime culprit.
"In the last four years, more damage was done than in the preceding years," Turnbull said. "That’s why we’re in the mess we’re in today."
While Schneider was often criticized for his travels abroad and questionable hiring practices, Turnbull brushed off queries about the hiring of his sister-in law and Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II’s wife in the Department of Tourism just before a government hiring freeze.
Turnbull said that Virgin Islands community is small and he has a large family, therefore it’s almost "impossible" not to hire relatives. He didn’t comment on the hiring of James’ wife.
"Everyone I’ve hired is qualified. And I’ll stand on that," he said.

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In only his second press conference since taking office in January, and the first where he answered questions, Gov. Charles Turnbull on Friday explained his whereabouts for the past month and a half.
While Turnbull said that a trip to Denmark -- with visits to Germany and England -- and travels to Texas, Missouri and New York were paid for by the V.I. government, he didn’t disclose costs.
For the last six weeks, Turnbull has been intermittently out of the territory. But during those trips, he said he was either promoting the territory or conducting business.
His trip to New York included meetings with representatives of bond rating agencies about a $100 million bond sale to help the government deal with massive financial problems.
"We’re determined that the government function," Turnbull said. "We’re not going to let the V.I. sink . . . sometimes it will be controversial."
When asked about details about the bond issuance, Turnbull deferred questions to Rudy Krigger, the governor’s advisor on financial affairs.
Krigger, however, didn’t disclose what the government would use to secure them.
"We’re looking at different revenue streams to repay the bonds to make sure the bond holder feels comfortable," Krigger said.
He added that V.I. bonds are popular because they are tax free on the federal, state and municipal levels.
On his trip to Texas where he spoke to members of his fraternity, Turnbull also met with Andrew Beal, owner of Beal Aerospace Technologies, which wants to build its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant on St. Croix. The plan, however, is opposed by environmental groups and others who don’t want to trade public land at Great Pond Bay the company needs for the project.
Opponents of Beal developing the Great Pond site want the company to move to an industrial area near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
"My mission to Beal was to convince them to relocate to St. Croix, but not at Great Pond," Turnbull said.
But after two hours of talks, Turnbull said Beal was adamant that the only viable site is at the Great Pond location, even if it means legal battles with those opposing the proposal. Because of Beal’s position, Turnbull said he will support the company’s efforts.
"They are determined that it’s either Great Pond or nowhere else in the territory," Turnbull said. "We have to make a decision: Great Pond or nowhere. It’s as clear as that."
Turnbull also spoke about the territory’s precarious financial state. According to a report done by CORE International, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting company, the V.I. has a cumulative budget deficit of more than $1 billion. Since 1993 to 1998 alone, the report said the government borrowed more than $500 million, on top of deficit of some $140 million.
And that wasn’t lost on Turnbull on Friday. As he cautioned Virgin Islanders that in order to recover financially he would have to cut the government payroll, he made it clear that the problem wasn’t created on his watch.
He said decades of "doing the wrong things financially" lead to the present situation. However, he said former Gov. Roy Schneider’s administration was the prime culprit.
"In the last four years, more damage was done than in the preceding years," Turnbull said. "That’s why we’re in the mess we’re in today."
While Schneider was often criticized for his travels abroad and questionable hiring practices, Turnbull brushed off queries about the hiring of his sister-in law and Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II’s wife in the Department of Tourism just before a government hiring freeze.
Turnbull said that Virgin Islands community is small and he has a large family, therefore it’s almost "impossible" not to hire relatives. He didn’t comment on the hiring of James’ wife.
"Everyone I’ve hired is qualified. And I’ll stand on that," he said.