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July 11, 2008 – Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen said today that she was pleased at last night's passage of the deal between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Diageo which would move its primary manufacturing facility to St. Croix, with the anticipation of $100 million in cover-over rebate to the territory annually once the plant is up and running, many construction jobs and then approximately 40 permanent jobs once operational.
"I believe that last night the Legislature voted for the economic future of St. Croix and the entire territory," Congresswoman Christensen said on Thursday, "and I congratulate Governor John deJongh and his team for successfully obtaining the ratification of this package."
Congresswoman Christensen commended the Members of the Legislature, inclusive of those who voted for and against for their thorough vetting of the issue. "While this is not a perfect agreement, I believe that it is a good one and the perfect must never be the enemy of the good," she said. "Our territory competes for business in a global marketplace and we should be wise enough to seize upon an opportunity to provide revenue generating projects that can benefit our people into the future in a world that is far more competitive than it used to be," she said. "This is a good agreement because it will afford the people the opportunity to utilize the tool provided by the Congress for economic development which would provide approximately $100 million in revenues annually for the next 30 years," the Congresswoman said. "Whatever benefits Diageo will be getting from the agreement, the territory will be getting far more than what it is getting right now."
Congresswoman Christensen said that the backlash from Puerto Rico is unfortunate, but her support for the agreement was bolstered upon learning that the company planned to leave our Caribbean neighbor anyway. "I believe that the people of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands will be the winners with this agreement. All of us have the responsibility to make it work for the betterment of the entire community," she said.