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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 22, 2024


May 16, 2002 – Sen. Lorraine Berry said Thursday that the territory cannot afford to "play Russian Roulette with the tourism industry."
Decrying remarks made by Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen and supported verbally by two colleagues at a Senate committee meeting this week, Berry wrote Gov. Charles W. Turnbull on Thursday asking him to bring together key tourism players from the business sector and government to "stem the tide of dangerous propaganda and counterproductive measures now in the works."
At a Tuesday hearing of the Planning and Environmental Protection Committee on St. Croix, Hansen announced she that wants the V.I. government to sue Carnival Cruise Lines over the estimated $40 million St. Croix will lose as a result of Carnival's decision to discontinue calls to the port of Frederiksted.
Tuesday marked Carnival's final call on St. Croix, a chartered cruise. "Carnival is all over the world with their message that St. Croix has a high crime rate," Hansen said at the hearing. Sens. David Jones and Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg supported her position.
Berry said in a release that Hansen and her supporters also voiced threats to breech the Long Term Operating Agreement between the government and the cruise industry, a five-year plan signed by the governor last fall. Berry, as Finance Committee chair in the 23rd Legislature, was part of the public-private task force that created the agreement.
She called upon the governor to discuss any plans he may have to halt moves against the cruise ship industry that she said could well backfire against the Virgin Islands.
"Dangerous propaganda and counterproductive legislative activities may lead to the V.I. one day waking up to learn it is considered too unfriendly, a cruise ship destination to be avoided," Berry warned the governor. Such moves, she said, could create instability in the territory's cruise product, leading cruise lines to opt for other destinations. She noted Wednesday's news that Norwegian Cruise Line is dropping St. Croix for the next two seasons.
"This would be an infamous legacy to bequeath to your tenure, which can be avoided by your assuring the public that all measures are being taken to ensure that sound heads are taking control of a situation that gives every indication of going out of control," Berry told Turnbull.

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