Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
The Government of the Virgin Islands has pledged to focus on introducing different pieces of legislation to further strengthen the natural resources and tourism sectors of the economy.
His Excellency the Governor Mr. John J. Rankin, CMG made the announcement during the Speech from the Throne on January 18 under the theme: Positioning the Virgin Islands through Legislation to continue improving the standard of living of our people.
The theme is aligned with the direction and goals of the Government's 2022 Budget under the theme: “Strategically positioning New Industries with Sustainability and Innovation: Continuing to improve the standard of living with focus on Education, Small Business, Healthcare and Technology”.
Governor Rankin, while speaking about the preservation of the environment, stated that the Government was working towards publication of policies governing the administration of the marine estate and beaches to provide greater clarity regarding the importance of these resources and the care that will be exercised in decision making.
Governor Rankin said, “Towards this end, the Marine Estate Administration and Coastal Zone Management Bill and the Environmental Management and Climate Resilience Bill will be introduced to establish the limits of the exclusive economic zone and support the effective administration and management of the coastal resources for the conservation and enhancement of marine resources of the Virgin Islands.”
Governor Rankin added, “The Marine Estate Administration and Coastal Zone Management Bill and the Environmental Management and Climate Resilience Bill, once passed will provide the overarching framework to ensure the viability of the natural environment, which we depend on, as we increase our resilience to the impacts of climatic events. Ensuring and improving the health and safety of the people of the Virgin Islands is an extremely important priority of the Government of the Virgin Islands.”
Another important piece of legislation that will also contribute to the overall improvement of the environment and the tourism product in the Virgin Islands is the Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Policy, which will address the direct or indirect discharge of such wastewater or waste discharged into the sewer system. Currently, there are blockages and overflows of the sewer system that result from discharges of fats, oil, and grease into the sewer system. This policy will prohibit the disposal of oils, grease, and other harmful matter into the sewerage system.
The Speech from the Throne, a tradition in Commonwealth and Overseas Territories, signals the opening of a new session of the House of Assembly. It highlights the legislative agenda of the Government of the Virgin Islands in addressing the needs of the public during the upcoming session of the House of Assembly.