Senate President Asks Governor to Withdraw Three VIPA Board Nominations

In a letter released to the public Thursday, Senate President Neville James asked Gov. Kenneth Mapp to withdraw three nominees for the V.I. Port Authority Governing Board. James asked the governor to withdraw them not for any fault with the candidates’ personally, but saying they violated provisions governing who is to serve.

In the letter, James said Mapp nominated Shirlene Taylor to replace Manuel Guitierrez, whose term has expired.

James wrote, "However, the information I have obtained indicates that Mr. Gutierrez’ term does not expire until June 27.” As a result, there is no vacancy yet, and if Taylor were confirmed, it would have more St. Croix members than allowed, he said.

By law, the VIPA board must have two St. Croix members, two St. Thomas members and one St. John member.

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Hugh Pemberton’s nomination from St. Croix is similarly problematic, according to James.

Mapp nominated Pemberton to replace Hector Peguero. "While it is correct that Mr. Peguero’s term has expired," he said, confirming Pemberton would also mean too many St. Croix members.

Lastly James said Michael Watson cannot be the St. John resident because it "is my understanding that Mr. Michael Watson resides on St. Thomas."

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