June 2, 2001 – Darlan Brin, executive director of the V.I. Port Authority, sent a scorching statement to the press Friday afternoon castigating members of the administration for "failing" to stick to the schedule created for the development of the new Addelita Cancryn Junior High School at Estate Bournefield.
In the release, Brin said the schedule was drawn up by the government's Office of Capital Improvement Projects and specified the eviction date for Bournefield residents, along with a list of "things to do" for each agency involved in the process.
He said VIPA was assigned to, among other things, select a coordinator for the project, survey the Bournefield site, notify the tenants of the August eviction date and prepare a document for the Federal Aviation Administration requesting that the property be released to the V.I. government for the purpose of building a school.
According to Brin's statement, the schedule was developed in mid-February, and eviction notices to the Bournefield residents were sent out in early March.
"The Port Authority kept up its end of the bargain while the Government of the Virgin Islands did not," Brin wrote, explaining that until late last month, he was unaware that the government had not identified funding for the project or started on the design plans for the school.
"It was at a meeting which was held at Government House on May 22, 2006, that a representative from the Office of Capital Improvement Projects revealed that no design program had been prepared by the Department of Education, that no architectural firm to design the school had been selected, and that no funds were available for the school design and construction," Brin wrote.
These facts were made public two days later at a Senate hearing, where Keith Richards, the governor's capital projects coordinator, specifically stated there were no funds or design plans in place for the project.
Instead, Richards said the Education Department has "formed a task force" that will work with an architectural and engineering firm to develop the various construction documents (See "Bournefield Evictions Unlikely to Happen Any Time Soon").
Richards' testimony contrasted with statements made by Brin at a Senate hearing last month. At that time, Brin said he only sent the eviction notices after meeting twice with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and other public officials about selecting Bournefield as the preferred site for Cancryn.
He said that in those meetings, Turnbull indicated that funding for the project had been identified and authorized VIPA to proceed with developing a construction schedule.
In the statement released Friday, Brin also stated that the "Executive Director" of the Public Finance Authority had said during the meetings that funds were available for the project. While Brin did not cite a name in the statement, he did say at a previous Senate hearing that former PFA Executive Director Kenneth Mapp participated in the meetings, along with other government officials (See "Bournefield Move Out Date Questioned at Meeting").
"The V.I. Port Authority in good faith relied on the information provided by the Office of Capital Improvement Projects and other government agencies when it made the decision to proceed in such an expeditious manner," Brin wrote.
Brin did not specify whether VIPA would be sticking to the August eviction date or whether the project would be proceeding. Calls made to Brin's office Friday were not returned.
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