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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 30, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBRYAN'S BID TO DISMANTLE WICO SHOT DOWN

BRYAN'S BID TO DISMANTLE WICO SHOT DOWN

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously decided Tuesday to set aside a bill submitted by Sen. Adelbert Bryan to dismantle The West Indian Company, transfer ownershop of the Havensight dock from the Public Finance Authority to the Port Authority, and have the Port Authority acquire the Havensight Mall property, now owned by the Government Employees Retirement System and managed by WICO.
The senators voted 6-0 to table the measure indefinitely. The vote was taken while Bryan, who is not a member of the committee, was momentarily off the Legislature floor.
In announcing the results, committee chair Lorraine Berry commented quietly, "If it is not broke, don't fix it."
WICO president Edward Thomas and Public Finance Authority executive Amadeo Francis testified against the measure. GERS chair Corine King sent a letter stating that the GERS board was "diametrically opposed" to selling the lucrative dockside shopping center.
Thomas urged the committee to reject the bill. He said any change in the dock ownership would fly in the face of contractual relationships with cruise industry partners and would violate the terms of a 1993 loan made by Banco Popular to the Public Finance Authority to finance the government's purchase of WICO from longstanding Danish ownership.
A default on the loan would mean the government would have to pay the $14 million balance immediately, he said.
Francis said the dismantling of WICO would raise new concerns in the international business and financial marketplace about the direction of the V.I. government's policies.
Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch had stated in a letter to Senate post auditor Campbell Malone that his board was "interested" in the dock but not in the shopping mall and would not want to deal with taking on WICO employees in any change of ownership, as proposed in the bill.
Six of the seven committee members were present: Berry and Sens. Gregory Bennerson, Roosevelt David, Violet Anne Golden, George Goodwin and David Jones. Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen was absent but excused.

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The Senate Finance Committee unanimously decided Tuesday to set aside a bill submitted by Sen. Adelbert Bryan to dismantle The West Indian Company, transfer ownershop of the Havensight dock from the Public Finance Authority to the Port Authority, and have the Port Authority acquire the Havensight Mall property, now owned by the Government Employees Retirement System and managed by WICO.
The senators voted 6-0 to table the measure indefinitely. The vote was taken while Bryan, who is not a member of the committee, was momentarily off the Legislature floor.
In announcing the results, committee chair Lorraine Berry commented quietly, "If it is not broke, don't fix it."
WICO president Edward Thomas and Public Finance Authority executive Amadeo Francis testified against the measure. GERS chair Corine King sent a letter stating that the GERS board was "diametrically opposed" to selling the lucrative dockside shopping center.
Thomas urged the committee to reject the bill. He said any change in the dock ownership would fly in the face of contractual relationships with cruise industry partners and would violate the terms of a 1993 loan made by Banco Popular to the Public Finance Authority to finance the government's purchase of WICO from longstanding Danish ownership.
A default on the loan would mean the government would have to pay the $14 million balance immediately, he said.
Francis said the dismantling of WICO would raise new concerns in the international business and financial marketplace about the direction of the V.I. government's policies.
Port Authority executive director Gordon Finch had stated in a letter to Senate post auditor Campbell Malone that his board was "interested" in the dock but not in the shopping mall and would not want to deal with taking on WICO employees in any change of ownership, as proposed in the bill.
Six of the seven committee members were present: Berry and Sens. Gregory Bennerson, Roosevelt David, Violet Anne Golden, George Goodwin and David Jones. Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen was absent but excused.