(V. I. Consortium) ST. CROIX — Governor Kenneth Mapp — flanked by Attorney General Claude Walker and Bureau of Internal Revenue Director Marvin Pickering — announced the creation of a task force to be helmed by Mr. Walker and Mr. Pickering, with the sole goal of collecting some $430 million that the government has determined is owed to it.
The announcement of the task force to collect owed taxes — made during a press conference at Government House here this morning — places on display the administration’s continuing challenge to maintain liquidity for the operations of government, while other sources of funding are either unavailable, or have yet to come into effect.
“I am here to report to the people of the Virgin Islands that within ten years prior to today’s date, the outstanding monies owed in income taxes, gross receipt taxes, hotel occupancy taxes to the people of the Virgin Islands is now at $324 million,” revealed the governor. “That means that we have approximately $430 million on the streets of the Virgin Islands that are owed to the people of the Virgin Islands.” The governor mentioned his prior announcements of potentially furloughing government employees and cutting short work weeks because of the lack of funds, in an apparent effort to remind residents that the government is still struggling to maintain operations. He also mentioned the inconsistencies in issuing tax refunds — again, pinning the uneven delivery of refunds on those who owe taxes, but have refused to make good on their obligations.