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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesLAWMAKERS TO SEE WAPA VENTURE PLAN WEDNESDAY

LAWMAKERS TO SEE WAPA VENTURE PLAN WEDNESDAY

Gov. Charles Turnbull will brief members of the 23rd Legislature on his proposed joint venture agreement between the Water and Power Authority and Southern Energy at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. The administration proposal will require Senate approval to go forward.
Some lawmakers who have been made aware of the meeting say they will attend with an open mind to judge whether the proposal is good for the Virgin Islands.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole said Tuesday that he learned of the meeting in a letter from Sen. President Vargrave Richards. "The letter said we would meet with the governor at 2 p.m. Wednesday to be presented the WAPA deal," Cole said.
Sen. David Jones said he is optimistic that any WAPA joint venture approved by the Senate "will be in the best interest of the Virgin Islands."
But Sen. Lorraine Berry expressed surprise at the manner in which the administration is proceeding with its proposal. Responding to Turnbull's pledge last week to have a "full public airing" on the joint venture's provisions before he sends the proposal to the Senate, Berry said in her paid political broadcast on Monday that she was "astonished to hear that the administration will take in community input after the negotiations have been completed."
Berry, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, also questioned the need to have two sets of public hearings on the proposal — by the administration before it is introduced in the Senate, and in the Senate afterward. "Why not get on with this and let the process work its will? Leadership this is not," she said.
Consideration of the proposed joint-venture could be impacted by a lawsuit filed against the administration by St. Croix resident Gail Chiang charging that the government must seek competitive bids to determine a prospective buyer for the utility. On Monday, Chiang accused the governor and his negotiating team of continuing to deal with Southern Energy in "bad faith." She said its unlikely that "the territory will get the best deal as a result of its limiting negotiations to one company."

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Gov. Charles Turnbull will brief members of the 23rd Legislature on his proposed joint venture agreement between the Water and Power Authority and Southern Energy at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. The administration proposal will require Senate approval to go forward.
Some lawmakers who have been made aware of the meeting say they will attend with an open mind to judge whether the proposal is good for the Virgin Islands.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole said Tuesday that he learned of the meeting in a letter from Sen. President Vargrave Richards. "The letter said we would meet with the governor at 2 p.m. Wednesday to be presented the WAPA deal," Cole said.
Sen. David Jones said he is optimistic that any WAPA joint venture approved by the Senate "will be in the best interest of the Virgin Islands."
But Sen. Lorraine Berry expressed surprise at the manner in which the administration is proceeding with its proposal. Responding to Turnbull's pledge last week to have a "full public airing" on the joint venture's provisions before he sends the proposal to the Senate, Berry said in her paid political broadcast on Monday that she was "astonished to hear that the administration will take in community input after the negotiations have been completed."
Berry, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, also questioned the need to have two sets of public hearings on the proposal -- by the administration before it is introduced in the Senate, and in the Senate afterward. "Why not get on with this and let the process work its will? Leadership this is not," she said.
Consideration of the proposed joint-venture could be impacted by a lawsuit filed against the administration by St. Croix resident Gail Chiang charging that the government must seek competitive bids to determine a prospective buyer for the utility. On Monday, Chiang accused the governor and his negotiating team of continuing to deal with Southern Energy in "bad faith." She said its unlikely that "the territory will get the best deal as a result of its limiting negotiations to one company."