Oct. 4, 2003 – The territory will receive more than $1.5 million in federal funds for security-related equipment and enhancements at its ports, Delegate Donna M. Christensen announced this week.
The money is coming from the Urban Areas Security Initiative Port Security Grant Program, Christensen said in a release, noting that the territory has proven competitive for "this funding that is sought after by facilities across the country."
The Port Authority is to receive $1,493,996, and The West Indian Co. is to receive $23,688, according to the release. Funding in both cases is for the purchase of emergency responder, detection and "interoperable" communications equipment; physical security enhancements; and patrol vehicles including watercraft, it said.
As a member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, its Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and the House Port Security Caucus, Christensen has called for increased port and border security support for the territory, including the establishment of a Border Patrol unit.
"I think we have gotten the message across that the Virgin Islands is indeed an important point of entry into the country and a vulnerable part of its southern border," she said.
This weekend, Christensen and other Homeland Security Committee members are making a site visit at the Port of Seattle, Washington, to gather information on physical and cybersecurity issues. The committee made a similar visit to the Port of Los Angeles earlier this year. The release said Christensen has asked that such a visit be scheduled to the Virgin Islands.
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