June 9, 2009 — St. Croix's historic Government House was the scene of proper pomp and ceremony Monday morning as Claudette Watson-Anderson and Wayne L. Biggs were officially sworn in to their new high government posts.
Watson-Anderson, formerly Gov. John deJongh, Jr.'s commissioner of finance, is now director of the Internal Revenue Bureau and Biggs is now commissioner of the Division of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
The echoing murmurs of the well-dressed crowd in Government House set an expectant, celebratory tone as painted portraits of historical figures looked down from their gilt frames upon the full ballroom.
Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis said Watson-Anderson would raise standards of service at IRB.
"I'm certain she is committed to bringing a custome-directed and service-focused approach to IRB," he said. He also praised her for "the successful implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning System throughout the Virgin Islands and bringing the department into the 21st century."
That ERP system, once it is completely online, will make V.I. government finances much more transparent and organized, tracking essentially all expenses from payroll to purchase in all departments, in real time. It has suffered delays but is nearing full functionality. (See: "Senate Committee Approves New Finance Director.")
Biggs too would use his skills to "make DLCA more efficient and customer-friendly," Francis said. "Biggs is a son of the soil who is dedicated to cultivating economic development in these islands."
Francis jokingly gave the nominees one last chance to back out.
"You have one second to go whisper in the governor's ear you've changed your mind — too late," he said, inciting laughter from the audience.
Watson-Anderson joked this was her third swearing-in ceremony.
"I'm willing to fully cooperate while they find a position that suits me," she joked, saying she just needs a desk, a laptop "and maybe a chair if I need one."
She thanked her parents, who she said "gave me an impeccable work ethic, teaching me to try my best no matter what."
Biggs too thanked his family, choking up a little with emotion during his comments. Biggs left the Economic Development Authority to become acting commissioner when his predecessor, Kenrick Robertson, resigned in March. (See: "Robertson Resigns as Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner.")
Once V.I. Supreme Court Justice Maria M. Cabret administered the oath of office, deJongh handed each of them their senate confirmation testimony, to remind them of the goals they set themselves from the outset of their tenure.
Biggs was born and raised in Christiansted, and graduated from St. Dunstan's Episcopal School in 1979. After getting a bachelor's in operations management and information systems from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., he returned home to begin his professional career as an accountant in the Department of Education. A year later Biggs moved on to the U.S. Small Business Administration, rising through the ranks there until 2005. While working, he pursued his education at the University of the Virgin Islands, getting his master's in business administration in 1988.
In 2005, Biggs said, SBA reorganized and offered him a position on the mainland. Instead of leaving, Biggs took a position as director of lending with the V.I. Economic Development Authority. He also chairs the St. Croix Racing Commission and is active in an array of civic organizations.
Watson-Anderson holds a certified public accountant certificate from both the State of New York and the territory and holds a bachelor of science in accounting from the City University of New York. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Virgin Islands Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Starting during the 25th Legislature, she served as Legislative Post Auditor. She also previously coordinated with the Committee on Finance to assist in budget analyses and has often testified as an expert during legislative hearings regarding financial and budgetary matters.
Before her stint with the V.I. Legislature, Watson-Anderson held senior positions at an array of private corporations. A graduate of St. Croix Central High School, she is married to Vincent Anderson and has a teenage son, Jacob.
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