(V. I. Consortium) As the Government of the Virgin Islands comes face to face with a financial crisis that threatens to interrupt a vast amount of its operations, Governor Kenneth Mapp has signed an executive order that Government House says limits the use of government-owned vehicles, puts a freeze on non-essential hiring, suspends wage negotiations, and freezes non-essential travel paid for by the GVI.
Government House deemed the order as a “major” step in reducing the cost of government operations, “given that cash revenues flowing into the treasury are insufficient to meet current expenses,” reads the release, issued late Tuesday.
The order comes just ahead of a Senate hearing in the Committee of Finance set to take place today at the Earl B. Ottley Legislative Hall in St. Thomas. And it comes even as pressure continues to mount on lawmakers; a coalition of St. Thomas businesses is set to protest the measure this morning in front of the Legislature.
The order, a copy of which was not attached to the Government House release, cites the need for “immediate and comprehensive action to reduce current spending”, while ensuring, to the extent possible, that essential services to protect public health, safety, and welfare are preserved. And it freezes all non-essential hiring in all executive branch department and agencies, with the following exceptions: