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HomeNewsArchivesGov. DeJongh Promises Master Plan for St. John

Gov. DeJongh Promises Master Plan for St. John

Jan. 3, 2007 — Stormy skies cleared Wednesday just as Gov. John deJongh, Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis, their wives, and their entourage arrived at Cruz Bay Park for the last of inaugural ceremonies held this week on all three islands.
"Gov. deJongh has saved the best for last," master of ceremonies Brion Morrisette said from the flower-and-flag bedecked bandstand.
It was a feel-good day as more than 100 residents gathered to listen to music by the Love City Pan Dragons and the Police Department's Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Band as well as hear what the new Government House team had to say.
Several people said they were impressed.
"I'm looking forward to a brighter future for St. John," retired St. John teacher Melville Samuel said.
Outgoing Sen. Roosevelt David, who spent his earliest years in the Virgin Islands on St. John, said deJongh was like a breath of fresh air.
"I'm tremendously impressed with what I'm hearing," he said as dignitaries left the bandstand.
David pointed out that deJongh is taking over as head of the territory's government at a time when it's on a good financial footing.
"All he has to do is manage," David said.
St. John businessman and former at-large Sen. Robert O'Connor introduced deJongh as the man who created the Public Finance Authority, an agency that helped improve the territory's financial picture.
"He had to come down to the Legislature to convince us," he said.
Laughing, deJongh noted that he had to call O'Connor many times to get him to respond to his calls concerning the PFA.
DeJongh promised to visit St. John often. He said he visited the Battery, which serves as the seat of government on St. John — not to see the office or any of the other amenities –but "to see the bedroom. I plan on spending many nights there," he said, continuing that he wants to make sure St. John moves forward.
DeJongh said that with the help of the private sector, he plans to initiate a master plan for St. John.
He said that St. John residents shouldn't fear that the ongoing property revaluation will force them off their land.
"Taxes can be adjusted," he said, as in true St. John fashion, a chicken and her hens wandered among the VIP cars parked along the waterfront.
DeJongh said he expects to address such issues as St. John's lack of a public high school, the need for St. John residents to go to St. Thomas for basic health care and the fact that residents also must visit St. Thomas to get some government services.
Francis' daughter, Genelle R. Francis, introduced her father.
"My dad works from the heart and speaks from the heart," she said. Francis vowed to remain a plainspoken man of the people.
Francis said that while he was born a Crucian, St. John will not be forgotten.
And he pledged to improve customer service at government offices.
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