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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, June 5, 2023
HomeNewsLocal governmentVirgin Islands Public Finance Board of Directors Convenes Regular Meeting

Virgin Islands Public Finance Board of Directors Convenes Regular Meeting

Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., chairman of The Board of Directors of the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority, convened a regular meeting and received annual reports from its subsidiaries, the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), the West Indian Company (WICO), and other operating entities and component units of the authority.

The VIIPFA Board ratified the approval of the executive director or the director of finance and administration to execute a grant agreement between the Virgin Islands Office of Management and Budget and the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority to accept and administer an award of funds of $6,000,000, under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These funds will establish reserve accounts at FirstBank and Banco Popular to provide enhanced security for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority credit facilities.

Similar ratification to execute reserve agreements and open bank accounts for $3,750,000 (FirstBank), and $2,2250,000 (Banco Popular) to establish reserves and enhance security for outstanding credit facilities owed to each bank by the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA).

Anthony Ottley, executive director of WICO, presented that the company is more financially stable today compared to last fiscal year when confronted with challenges from the impact of COVID-19 on the cruise industry. He highlighted the fiscal accountability measures that have been instituted, including refinancing the Banco Popular outstanding loan.

This loan refinancing enabled WICO to fund its debt service reserve and replenish its cash reserve. Gov. Bryan asked Ottley about the company’s financial plans for its stability and growth. He responded, “We expect the cruise ship capacity to continue to increase and remain steady above 95 percent. The one-dollar one dollar increase in the passenger service charge has helped. The WICO Board and management have also explored diversifying its revenue stream. We are looking at possibly creating a boutique hotel, a beach via the breakwater, installing a water park in collaboration with the cruise lines, and developing a marina.”

The Public Finance Authority received its annual report from Stephan Adams, president and CEO of viNGN, who shared financial and operational information and the company’s plans to continue improving and upgrading the territory’s communication infrastructure. He shared with the members of the board that, overall, the company is in good financial shape for the next five years. He attributed the change to improve the company’s aged accounts. Adams further highlighted that viNGN received two sub-grantee awards from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the CARES Act and ARPA funds for Wi-Fi upgrade and expansion.

Nathan Simmonds, VIPFA director of finance and administration, provided the board with an overview of the activities of Kings Alley Management Inc. (KAMI) and Lonesome Dove Petroleum Co. He stated that on March 22, 2022, KAMI sold the hotel along with Plots 58 and 58A King Street (Former Anchor Inn Property), to USVI Opportunity Fund LLC, d/b/a Neighborhood Establishment, for $3.65 million, which plans to develop the property along with the King Christian Hotel into a major enhancement to the Christiansted Boardwalk. Simmonds said, “KAMI is no longer an operating entity and may be dissolved at the direction of the VIPFA Board.” He also presented to the VIPFA Board the challenges of managing the Lonesome Dove Petroleum Company since there were many oil and gas leases to monitor.

Other areas reported on by Simmonds included the rum industry (Diageo and Cruzan Rum), Port Hamilton Refining refinery and Ocean Point Terminals and The Frederiksted Mall.

At the meeting, the other Public Finance Authority members were Finance Commissioner and PFA Executive Director Bosede Bruce, OMB Director Jenifer O’Neal, Attorney Dorothy Isaacs and Board Secretary Keith O’Neale Jr.

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