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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 23, 2024


Of the $50 million the Virgin Islands is due to receive from the tobacco settlement 50 percent is earmarked for the Union Arbitration Fund and the other half is to go to the Hospital Revolving Fund.
Attorney General Iver Stridiron isn't happy about that.
Stridiron told a meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons on Thursday that he "strongly believe(s) that 100 percent of the settlement funding should go toward health care and related programs," according to the V.I. Independent.
The 22nd Legislature, during the Schneider administration, passed legislation establishing the payout.
At the time the bill was passed, it was thought that the settlement would be around $8 million. But due to the efforts of former Attorney General Julio Brady and members of the National Association of Attorneys General, the formula was revised, changing the settlement to $34 million.
An additional $15.5 million was wrested, through a letter-writing campaign by Stridiron and his staff, from the Strategic Fund that was established to compensate communities for the costs of the efforts of their attorneys general.
The settlement as it stands now will be paid out over 25 years.
But Gov. Charles W. Turnbull is trying to find a way to use the settlement to get cash now for the ailing V.I. government, the Independent said.
Stridiron hopes the Legislature will amend the bill so the money is not used to pay retroactive wages and salaries.
"I think they'll amend the legislation," he told the Independent because "senators have pet projects and with that kind of money available they'll want a piece of it."
It is not known when the payments will begin.

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