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DONASTORG: GOVERNOR HAS NEGLECTED DUTIES

In a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull released Monday, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg accused Turnbull of deliberately avoiding dealing with the controversial Public Services Commission issue.
Donastorg demanded that Turnbull immediately nominate new members to the PSC board.
Donastorg wrote, "You indicated during your campaign that restoring a sense of fairness and balance to the Public Services Commission was part of your 'grander vision.' Unfortunately, since assuming office, you have failed to appoint new citizens to the PSC. By allowing the sitting commissioners to retain their posts, you are giving your tacit approval to their unorthodox and likely illegal past actions."
The PSC has been steeped in controversy since Georgetown Consulting Inc. – an independent consulting firm – recommended a rate decrease for the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp. but the commission dismissed the recommendation. The ensuing controversy resulted in the PSC's legal counsel, Maria Tankenson Hodge, resigning.
Currently, there are four expired or vacant positions on the nine-member board, plus the seats of the two senatorial nominees, leaving only three current members. Members serve three-year terms but may continue to serve after their terms have expired until their successors are sworn in.
A spokesperson from Senate President Vargrave Richards' office said Richards on April 21 sent the names of Sens. Gregory Bennerson and Donald "Ducks" Cole to be the non-voting senatorial members.
"It's now up to the governor to send his nominations to the Legislature," the spokesperson said.
Donastorg further states in his letter to Turnbull, "You have failed to take a single step to remedy the PSC's past actions or to prevent future misdeeds. It is unconscionable that you would allow this issue to fester, and at this point I can only surmise that you are one of the many officials either 'afraid or being paid.' "
Donastorg pushed for months to obtain enough signatures on a petition to call a Senate Committee of the Whole meeting to investigate the circumstances of the Georgetown Consultants dismissal and other PSC matters.
He finally got the signatures required right after the Senate passed the so-called "Prosser bill" by a vote of 8-7.
The controversial bill would have permitted businessman Jeffrey Prosser, who owns Vitelco, to exchange 1,000 acres of land he proposed to purchase on St. Croix and $10 million in capital projects he pledged to build for 30 years of full tax breaks for 10 of his companies. The measure was vetoed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
The Senate PSC hearing was held in June. But despite Georgetown's report that a rate decrease was due to Vitelco customers, there has been no further action by the PSC.
The commission met in August, but sources said nothing significant was addressed.
For further information on the board, go to Boards and Commissions under the Data section of St. Thomas Source.

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In a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull released Monday, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg accused Turnbull of deliberately avoiding dealing with the controversial Public Services Commission issue.
Donastorg demanded that Turnbull immediately nominate new members to the PSC board.
Donastorg wrote, "You indicated during your campaign that restoring a sense of fairness and balance to the Public Services Commission was part of your 'grander vision.' Unfortunately, since assuming office, you have failed to appoint new citizens to the PSC. By allowing the sitting commissioners to retain their posts, you are giving your tacit approval to their unorthodox and likely illegal past actions."
The PSC has been steeped in controversy since Georgetown Consulting Inc. – an independent consulting firm – recommended a rate decrease for the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp. but the commission dismissed the recommendation. The ensuing controversy resulted in the PSC's legal counsel, Maria Tankenson Hodge, resigning.
Currently, there are four expired or vacant positions on the nine-member board, plus the seats of the two senatorial nominees, leaving only three current members. Members serve three-year terms but may continue to serve after their terms have expired until their successors are sworn in.
A spokesperson from Senate President Vargrave Richards' office said Richards on April 21 sent the names of Sens. Gregory Bennerson and Donald "Ducks" Cole to be the non-voting senatorial members.
"It's now up to the governor to send his nominations to the Legislature," the spokesperson said.
Donastorg further states in his letter to Turnbull, "You have failed to take a single step to remedy the PSC's past actions or to prevent future misdeeds. It is unconscionable that you would allow this issue to fester, and at this point I can only surmise that you are one of the many officials either 'afraid or being paid.' "
Donastorg pushed for months to obtain enough signatures on a petition to call a Senate Committee of the Whole meeting to investigate the circumstances of the Georgetown Consultants dismissal and other PSC matters.
He finally got the signatures required right after the Senate passed the so-called "Prosser bill" by a vote of 8-7.
The controversial bill would have permitted businessman Jeffrey Prosser, who owns Vitelco, to exchange 1,000 acres of land he proposed to purchase on St. Croix and $10 million in capital projects he pledged to build for 30 years of full tax breaks for 10 of his companies. The measure was vetoed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
The Senate PSC hearing was held in June. But despite Georgetown's report that a rate decrease was due to Vitelco customers, there has been no further action by the PSC.
The commission met in August, but sources said nothing significant was addressed.
For further information on the board, go to Boards and Commissions under the Data section of St. Thomas Source.