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HomeNewsArchivesKING NOW SAYS HE'LL BE AT COMMITTEE MEETING

KING NOW SAYS HE'LL BE AT COMMITTEE MEETING

Nov. 2, 2001 – V.I. National Park Supt. John King will attend the Senate Committee of the Whole meeting Monday on St. John after all. King, who earlier this week said he wasn't going, had a change of heart after Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd pressured top National Park Service brass.
"Director Mainella agreed it was appropriate for us to attend," King said Friday, referring to NPS director Fran Mainella.
He said both he and NPS deputy director Patricia Hooks will be at the meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the Legislature Building in Cruz Bay.
Liburd called his colleagues to St. John on the heels of a stormy Oct. 25 meeting with King and St. John and St. Thomas taxi drivers. He had called that meeting to discuss park plans to begin imposing annual tour permit fees on taxi associations, independent drivers who take visitors on tours and taxi association members moonlighting on their own tours.
The park's new Commercial Services Plan, approved by the NPS Southeast Region director last summer and now being implemented, specifies that beginning Jan. 1, 2002, all businesses and individuals providing tour services for hire within the park must obtain a permit.
Park officials held a dozen open meetings beginning in December 1999 to give the public opportunities to ask questions and air concerns as the plan was being developed. Additionally, King's predecessor, former Supt. Russ Berry, met several times with representatives of St. John Taxi Services and the V.I. Taxi Association in an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement.
At the Oct. 25 meeting, the taxi drivers vehemently opposed the $300 a year they will have to pay starting Jan. 1. Taxi associations and tour companies will pay $750. Currently, all other operators of tours, including daysailing, kayaking and hiking, pay fees.
The drivers spent much of the meeting shouting at King and citing real and imagined wrongs done to them and the community over the park's 45 years on St. John.
On Friday, King said that if the Monday meeting is productive, it will not be a waste of time. But if it is a repeat of the Oct. 25 meeting, nothing will be accomplished.
Liburd said he will not allow any "disrespect" at the Committee of the Whole session. "Each person will be heard but in a professional manner," he said Friday. He said people with concerns will be allowed to put them on the record, but the senators will ask the questions.
For a summary of the plan, see "An overview of the Commercial Services Plan".

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Nov. 2, 2001 - V.I. National Park Supt. John King will attend the Senate Committee of the Whole meeting Monday on St. John after all. King, who earlier this week said he wasn't going, had a change of heart after Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd pressured top National Park Service brass.
"Director Mainella agreed it was appropriate for us to attend," King said Friday, referring to NPS director Fran Mainella.
He said both he and NPS deputy director Patricia Hooks will be at the meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the Legislature Building in Cruz Bay.
Liburd called his colleagues to St. John on the heels of a stormy Oct. 25 meeting with King and St. John and St. Thomas taxi drivers. He had called that meeting to discuss park plans to begin imposing annual tour permit fees on taxi associations, independent drivers who take visitors on tours and taxi association members moonlighting on their own tours.
The park's new Commercial Services Plan, approved by the NPS Southeast Region director last summer and now being implemented, specifies that beginning Jan. 1, 2002, all businesses and individuals providing tour services for hire within the park must obtain a permit.
Park officials held a dozen open meetings beginning in December 1999 to give the public opportunities to ask questions and air concerns as the plan was being developed. Additionally, King's predecessor, former Supt. Russ Berry, met several times with representatives of St. John Taxi Services and the V.I. Taxi Association in an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement.
At the Oct. 25 meeting, the taxi drivers vehemently opposed the $300 a year they will have to pay starting Jan. 1. Taxi associations and tour companies will pay $750. Currently, all other operators of tours, including daysailing, kayaking and hiking, pay fees.
The drivers spent much of the meeting shouting at King and citing real and imagined wrongs done to them and the community over the park's 45 years on St. John.
On Friday, King said that if the Monday meeting is productive, it will not be a waste of time. But if it is a repeat of the Oct. 25 meeting, nothing will be accomplished.
Liburd said he will not allow any "disrespect" at the Committee of the Whole session. "Each person will be heard but in a professional manner," he said Friday. He said people with concerns will be allowed to put them on the record, but the senators will ask the questions.
For a summary of the plan, see "An overview of the Commercial Services Plan".