Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Economic situation
 Social aspects
 Political aspects
 Summary of recommendations

Group Title: Annual report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands to the Secretary of the Interior.
Title: Annual report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00015459/00015
 Material Information
Title: Annual report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands.
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Virgin Islands of the United States. Governor.
Publisher: for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
Publication Date: 1939-1940
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00015459
Volume ID: VID00015
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aaa5018 - LTQF
01235215 - OCLC

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Economic situation
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Social aspects
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Political aspects
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Summary of recommendations
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
Full Text
















Harold L. Ickes, Secretary

Lawrence W. Cramer, Governor


For sale by the
Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Price 15 cents

Foreword- ------- --1------------------ ------- 1
Economic situation __--____ ----------- 4
Sugar---------------------------------------- 5
Homesteading ------------------------------------- 12
Virgin Islands Co --------------------------------- 15
Shipping and transportation-------------------------_ 22
Tourists -------------------------------------25
Cattle business -------------------------------28
Market produce_--------- --------------------- __ 32
Social aspects__--------------------------------_ --- 34
Education-----------------------------------_ 34
Public health and sanitation_ ------------------------- 37
Public welfare -------- --------------------------- 43
Political aspects --...----------------------__ 46
Administrative ------------ -----------------_ 56
Summary of recommendations----------------------....-. 59
Appendixes- ------------------------------------- ..-- 61


September 20, 1940
Washington, D. C.
SIR: Pursuant to section 20 of the Organic Act of the Virgin Islands
of the United States, approved June 22, 1936, I have the honor to
submit the following annual report of the transactions of the govern-
ment of the Virgin Islands for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1940.
In any sound appraisal of the state of development of a community
at any given time due emphasis must be given to its own history and
the mores of its people. Comparisons with other communities in a
wholly different historical, geographical, and climatic setting are not
necessarily conclusive and they may be confusing.
It is important to recall, therefore, that the Virgin Islands are
West Indian islands. They can best be understood by studying them
in the light of the limitations and problems which beset this larger
group. Their population is culturally and racially affiliated with the
British West Indies. In fact, a large proportion of their inhabitants
can trace their origin, one or more generations removed, to British
West Indian islands. The language, the mores, the political organiza-
tion, the plantation system of agriculture, all owe more to the British
West Indies than to the Danish State whose ownership of the island
of St. Thomas began in 1671 and continued until 1917 with only a
brief interlude from 1807 to 1815, during the Napoleonic wars, when
the islands were occupied by Great Britain. St. Croix came under
Danish control in 1732 and likewise remained under it until 1917.
The Virgin Islands have the physical beauty, the warm climate, the
charm and hospitality of the West Indies. But they also have suf-
fered the long, inexorable economic decline which has made one recent
commentator on the British West Indies declare that "the social and
economic study of the West Indies is * necessarily a study of
poverty." The casual visitor too often relates his experiences and


findings in the Virgin Islands to norms, or what he regards as norms,
in his own community in the North, leaving out of consideration local
history and geography, and the tough web of local culture which is
their expression. He frequently overlooks the attitudes of insularity,
exaggerated parochialism, excessive and suspicious individualism,
political and social conservatism, the heritages of an inadequate
educational system and of deficient public health services, the con-
ditions of undernourishment and malnutrition, and the problems
arising from economic and political re-orientation which are common
to West Indian islands and which cannot be extirpated forthwith or
even greatly mitigated except in course of time, whether it be by a
benevolent despot or by an administrator with considerably less than
dictatorial powers.
The present situation when considered in relation to former condi-
tions in the Virgin Islands and when compared with conditions in
other West Indian areas reveals much progress. A great advance
can be recorded in the fields of public health and education; a public
highway system worthy of that name has been created, if not com-
pleted; many important public works have been undertaken; and
some progress has been made in attacking stubborn economic dis-
abilities. Important steps have been taken to recast the form of
political organization into the mold of representative American democ-
racy. Fiscal improvement has, however, been seriously retarded by
prolonged droughts now entering their fourth year.
Purchased from Denmark in 1917, at the conclusion of negotiations
begun in 1867 and renewed during periods of national crisis after each
successive failure, the islands are now being rapidly developed for the
purpose for which they were originally acquired. Their strategic
value as a defense outpost was long neglected until President Roosevelt
personally intervened to establish a Marine Corps air base in St.
Thomas in 1935 and to establish an advanced submarine base there
in 1939. This value has in the past few months received growing
recognition. The inhabitants, living at the periphery of empire and
accustomed to experience only feebly even the most powerful impulses
emanating from the National Capital, have noted with enthusiasm
the rapidity of decision and execution which is tranforming the islands
into a formidable link in the national-defense chain. They have
given many tangible evidences of their patriotic desire to cooperate
fully in this undertaking. In the 23 years since the islands were
purchased, the inhabitants have become citizens and are rapidly
becoming familiar with and devoted to American traditions and
political concepts. They view with pleasure and pride the substantial


steps being taken in the islands to develop the means to defend those
concepts against alien, revolutionary attack.
They are aware of the great importance of these measures in trans-
forming the local economy. For the time being, the unemployment
problem does not exist. Even after the present defense construction
program has been completed, it will be greatly mitigated.
The present year marks the end of the first decade during which
the Department of the Interior has had administrative jurisdiction
over the islands. Likewise, it is the year in which the Sixteenth
Decennial Census of the United States was taken. A study of the
statistical data contained in that census leads naturally to compari-
sons with earlier decades and gives valuable information on the results
of the many-sided program of economic and social rehabilitation
undertaken in the Virgin Islands. Significant trends can readily
be traced in making comparisons between the 1940 census figures and
those of 1930. These trends are the more clearly discernible when
comparing the statistics for these years with those of the special
census taken in 1917 immediately after the transfer of sovereignty.
During the period from 1917 to 1931 the Virgin Islands were under
the administrative jurisdiction of the Navy Department which should
be credited with the inauguration of many policies which have since
been pursued with increasing refinements as experience has dictated
and as innovations have been proved acceptable. Unfortunately,
only preliminary and partial figures are as yet available from the
Bureau of the Census for the 1940 enumeration, but so far as statistics
are available they reveal the same trends as does a comparison be-
tween the 1917 and 1930 censuses.
For the first time since 1860, the census reveals an increase of
population in the Virgin Islands. The population decreased from
38,231 in 1860 in each census until 1930 when it had declined to 22,012.
The 1940 census records a population of 24,889 which is a 13.1 percent
increase from the low figure of 1930. The earlier decline in population
is a gross indication of the steady economic decline of the islands.
The increase in the last decade is an indication, in part at least, of
economic improvement. A number of specific factors have con-
tributed to this increase.
The most important of these is the reversal of the historical tend-
ency of emigration from the islands by large numbers who sought
economic opportunity elsewhere. Since 1930 there has been an
annual increase of population by reason of excess of immigration over
emigration, which in 1939 reached the relatively high figure of 2,475.
This immigration has brought with it certain new problems because
much of it is from neighboring Puerto Rican islands whose racial,


social, and language origins are different from those of the Virgin
The infant mortality rate has been reduced from the extraordinary
figure of 328.9 per thousand in 1917 to 101.7 in 1939. The death rate
has been reduced from 41.5 in 1917 to 20.9 in 1939. The annual
average death rate per thousand for the decade of the twenties was 23,
and for the decade of the thirties, 21.34. The birth rate in the Virgin
Islands in 1917 was 24.6 per thousand and 35.8 in 1939. The average
annual birth rate per thousand for the decade of the twenties was
24.57, and for the thirties, 29.05.
In addition to these factors, traceable in large measure to improved
economic and fiscal conditions, other factors such as the establishment
of military forces in the islands and the establishment of new indus-
trial enterprises have added to the number of residents as well as con-
tributing to the economic improvement of the community.
In the succeeding sections of this report consideration will be given
to the economic, political, social, fiscal, and administrative problems
of the Virgin Islands, giving comparative data where possible and
relating developments during the past fiscal year to the policies which
have characterized administration of the islands since their transfer
to United States sovereignty. In an appendix numerous tables are
given for convenient reference.
In the last 20 years the value of exports from the Virgin Islands has
in only one year been greater than the value of imports. In the past 10
years the adverse trade balance has been at an annual average figure
of $1,594,253. These trade statistics, set forth in a table in Appendix
1, reveal the slender natural resources of the islands and on the
surface lend credence to the contention that Virgin Islanders live by
their wits. The continued adverse balance is, however, offset by the
expenditure of Federal funds, by ship servicing charges, and by tourist
expenditures. The first of these is the most important.
Total trade figures in each of the past three years have been greater
than in any year since 1921, the year of fantastic sugar prices. Ex-
ports in these years have likewise been higher than in any year since
1921. This is a result chiefly of improvement in the shipping business,
the revival of the rum business and of the establishment of new
enterprises in the islands. The table in Appendix 2 sets forth the
annual exports of rum since the reestablishment of this industry.
Sugar, rum, bitters, and cattle are the chief articles produced for
export. Coal and oil are sold for export as ships' bunkers but this
constitutes a service activity, involving the resale of imported products.


In the Virgin Islands, as in other West Indian islands, the early
settlers turned to agriculture as their chief economic activity. To-
bacco and sugar were the principal crops. The former soon disap-
peared and left sugar as the basic industry. The large supply of labor
required for sugar cultivation was secured by the importation of
slaves. The ruins of substantial "estate" houses and slave villages
scattered over the islands on the characterististic estates or plantations
are mute evidence of the one-time prosperity of their former owners.
With the abolition of slavery in 1848 the islands of St. Thomas and
St. John rapidly went out of cultivation. Only St. Croix continued
to depend on sugar cultivation as its basic industry.
There the need for labor was met by the establishment of a so-called
immigration fund which was used to import under government
auspices contract laborers from neighboring British West Indian
islands. With the establishment of the beet sugar industry and the
opening of new and more favorable sugar producing areas throughout
the world, the price of sugar has tended to decline except in a short
period during and after the World War when abnormally high prices
prevailed. This decline put the sugar business in St. Croix in the
marginal production class because of low per acre yields, high freight
rates and high production costs. But though this industry has for
years teetered on the edge of collapse, it is still the largest single
employer of labor in the Virgin Islands, and for lack of any other suit-
able cash crop, the most important economic factor in St. Croix.
The United States immigration laws have been extended to the Virgin
Islands so that the immigration of foreign laborers is no longer possible.
This is not a detriment to production at the present time since the
local labor supply is considerably in excess of employment possibilities.
The chief present effect of the exclusion of alien laborers is the pro-
tection it affords local laborers against competition from lower-priced
foreign labor.
The estate system of sugar cane cultivation has practically dis-
appeared. This is of serious social and economic consequence. In
other West Indian islands the plantation system has considerable
value in communities where it still persists. Plantation owners are
often the most enlightened and scientific cultivators. They can
afford to introduce new methods, new machinery, and equipment
which increase yields and reduce costs. They constitute an economic
unit complementary to peasant farmers or small holders. The latter
are normally owners or operators of very small holdings and cannot
secure from them sufficient income to support themselves and their
270360-40- 2


families; they must, therefore, work on plantations as a means of
supplementing their income.
In St. Croix sugar plantations operated by owner-farmers no longer
exist. Those estates which are still operated as sugar cultivation
units are kept in cultivation by corporate owners who operate sugar
processing mills or factories. These corporate agencies fulfill in some
measure the function of the estate owner-operator in other West
Indian islands, chiefly in furnishing employment opportunities, but
their size and organization preclude the same direct relationship
between owner and workman characteristic of the plantation system.
These corporations have their own serious problems. In the Virgin
Islands for a variety of reasons their difficulties are becoming almost
insurmountable. Wise policy should thus seek to direct agricultural
activity into channels which will lead to the economic survival of the
farmer who is the basic unit in the industry.
It is clear that no solution of the problems of agriculture in the
Virgin Islands is possible which does not for the time being accept
dependence on sugar cane as the cash crop. It is clear, also, that the
production of sugar cane as a plantation or factory operation on a
labor-wage basis cannot give permanent employment to laborers at
rates of wages which are at or above the subsistence level. Whatever
solution is proposed should, therefore, proceed from the theory that
agriculture is not only a means of livelihood but also a way of liv-
ing-an economic as well as a social manifestation.
Experience in other West Indian islands has established beyond
doubt that small holdings, whether they be designated as homesteads,
tenant-farms, share-cropholdings or by any other name, offer at least
a partial solution to social and economic problems characteristic of
the entire West Indies. Experience there reveals that the basic
requirements for social and economic rehabilitation are that land be
made available whether on lease or in ownership; that a system of
financing be provided to make the working of the land possible; that
a system of agricultural and vocational education or supervision be
established to assure that it be economically and well worked; and
that marketing arrangements be provided which will yield the great-
est possible return to those who work it.
Administrative policy in the Virgin Islands has been directed
toward each of these objectives with more or less result. The home-
steading program inaugurated in 1931 has made some progress in
making land available. P. W.A. and W. P.A. allotments, and the muni-
cipal authorities of the Municipality of St. Croix have, even though
haltingly and discontinuously, made provisions for the financing of
small holders' operations. The Farm Security Administration is now
establishing on a firm, and it is hoped permanent, basis its program


of farm loans which should henceforth adequately meet the financial
requirements of small farmers. That agency and the staff of the
agricultural experiment station have carried on extension and super-
visory work among tenant farmers and small holders to demonstrate
and teach better farming practices which are essential for the sound
development of any agricultural program. Little progress beyond the
planning stage has been made in the development of properly protected
marketing facilities.
A study of the problems of sugar producers completed during the
year by the Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station reveals the
variety of steps that must be taken in order to meet immediate diffi-
culties. Certain of these steps are of a character which can be accom-
plished by the industry itself, others require the intervention of the
local governmental authorities and still others require the action of
the Government of the United States.
None of these, unfortunately, can provide the ample rainfall which
is essential for profitable sugar yields. The rainfall deficiency of the
past three years continues at the present time and has already ruined
the 1941 crop. How long farmers will continue to attempt to grow
sugar cane is problematical. If legal disabilities now operating against
them are not promptly removed, these discrimination together with
prolonged drought will soon deliver the coup de grace. Irrigation
possibilities are limited and under the best circumstances costly. Cer-
tainly, they are beyond the means of the industry and of the local
government at the present time.
Among the steps to improve the sugar business which can be under-
taken by the industry are the limitation of cane varieties planted in the
island to the smallest number possible of approved varieties conformable
with soil conditions; adjustment of the grinding season to conform with
the optimum sucrose content of millable cane; standardization of cane
cultivation practices to conform with recognized good tilth; the es-
tablishment of receiving and weighing stations in convenient locations
within the areas of maximum production; the improvement of the
system of receiving and discharging cane-carrying trucks at factory
receiving depots to eliminate congestion and the spoilage of cane;
the establishment of an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis of pay-
ment for small holders' cane according to the sucrose content and
purity of cane; the reduction of haulage, lighterage, and other trade-
handling costs included in the processing charges levied on the cane
producer; the payment in cash to producers of an appropriate pro-
portion of the value of residual molasses extracted from sugar cane;
the establishment of a system of bonus payments under which sugar
cane producers will share in additional profits from the sale of sugar


at prices in excess of the basic price paid to them when delivering their
The local governmental authorities will undoubtedly need to inter-
vene to accomplish any of the above improvements which the industry
itself does not put into effect. In addition, they can contribute very
substantially to the survival of sugar cultivation by independent
farmers by repealing the export tax of $6 per ton now levied on raw
sugar exported from the Virgin Islands regardless of its destination.
This tax, originally imposed by Congress at a rate of $8 per ton, has
become increasingly burdensome as other factors have eliminated the
profitableness of sugar production in the Virgin Islands. Even though
the local government has been given the power to repeal this tax, it is
obvious that it cannot forego the revenue now raised by it unless
it can find a substitute. Clearly, a tax falling upon the shrinking pro-
duction of a decreasing number of producers should be replaced by a
tax with a wider base at a less excessive rate. The elimination of this
tax is the more necessary because of its discriminatory character.
Nowhere else under the American flag is such a tax levied. It should
not be inflicted on the citizens of the United States who happen to
reside in the Virgin Islands and there engage in the business of pro-
ducing sugar cane. It is improbable that a local source of revenue
can be found which will permit the elimination of this tax. It is clear,
therefore, that congressional action is necessary to rectify a situation
which tends to transform farmers into relief clients. The enactment
of a bill which has been before Congress for the last two sessions under
which it is proposed to transfer to the Treasury of the Virgin Islands
excise taxes collected on products of the Virgin Islands when shipped
to the United States in a manner similar to that which has been in
effect for many years in the case of Puerto Rico and the Philippine
Islands would furnish the means to the local government to permit it
to repeal this burdensome, discriminatory, and un-American tax.
It is essential that the local government enact legislation similar to
that in effect in Puerto Rico and in other sugar-producing areas, under
which the price paid by sugar mills for sugar cane delivered to them
by independent growers is fixed by law and in accordance with the
sucrose content of cane rather than on its weight. Regulation and
supervision of sugar mill laboratories and the licensing of sugar mill
chemists, and of weighers and checkers are also requisite.
Sugar mills have a public utility character very similar to that of the
grist mills which dotted New England streams during our colonial era.
In St. Croix two grinding mills still operate. They are the only avail-
able market for approximately 1,000 cane growers. The operation of
these mills is as much affected with the public interest as is the opera-
tion of a small electric power plant in the island which serves a con-


siderably smaller number of consumers. The welfare of these sugar
growers, most of whom are tenants or small farmers operating farms
of less than 10 acres, demands that there be established a sugar board
with full power to regulate the price paid at mills for sugar cane, the
charges levied by sugar mills for processing it, the location of weighing
stations, the inspection of scales and laboratory equipment, and the
character and amount of charges made for services rendered to sugar
growers by the mills. Legislation is now in preparation to accomplish
these ends and will at an early date be submitted to the Municipal
Council of St. Croix for consideration.
A study of sugar companies which have operated in St. Croix during
recent years supports the oft-repeated assertion of experienced mana-
gers that under the present division of returns between the independent
sugar grower and the processing mill, the mill can make a profit from
its operations. A long established, rule-of-thumb, and unscientific
system returns to the grower the value of 6 pounds of sugar for each
100 pounds of cane delivered, based on current raw sugar prices in the
New York commodity market. In Puerto Rico, of 14 sugar mills re-
porting in 1936, the rates of mill payments to cane growers averaged
7.3 pounds of sugar per 100 pounds of cane. The highest rate paid by
any mill there was 8.37 and the lowest 6.42. From this value, however,
deductions are made in the Virgin Islands for export tax, lighterage,
freight, insurance, and all similar handling charges on the sugar pro-
duced by the mill from the cane sold to it by the grower. Under
Puerto Rican law similar charges there are limited to 25 cents per 100
pounds. No attention is paid in the Virgin Islands to the sucrose con-
tent of cane, which determines the amount of sugar which can be
extracted from it, except it be on occasion when the sucrose content has
gone so low as to impel the mill to pay a lower price than the value of 6
pounds of sugar.
The practice in St. Croix has been for sugar companies to carry on
"administration" cane cultivation, i. e., the growing of cane as a com-
pany operation. The financial statistics of these companies in recent
years reveal a definite correlation between the size of the area kept in
administration cane and the size of their annual losses prior to collapse.
Although they have made profits from the processing of independent
growers' cane, they have lost those profits and more in their sugar cul-
tivation operations. It is nevertheless argued that sugar factories
cannot operate without a substantial acreage of administration cane
because of the need for supplying the grinding mills with adequate
supplies of cane to permit uninterrupted operations for 24 hours a day
for 6 days in the week. This contention is not supported by the ex-
perience of at least one sugar factory which operated in recent years in
St. Croix which did not keep an acre of ground in cultivation. During


a 3-year period of operation this factory made more than a respectable
profit while at the same time retiring all outstanding indebtedness.
Whether or not the experience of the sugar companies which have
operated in the recent past in St. Croix is accepted as conclusive, it
should not be the objective of any legislation which might be enacted
to prevent them from carrying on large-scale administration cane cul-
tivation. The same pressure on the land by a rapidly growing popu-
lation which prompted the enactment of a law to limit land holdings
by corporations to not more than 500 acres in the island of Puerto
Rico does not exist in the Virgin Islands. The objective of any legis-
lation should be to safeguard the independent sugar grower so that
the mill charges him for its service in processing his cane only so
much as that processing operation costs plus a reasonable profit. If,
thereafter, a sugar company wishes to take this reasonable profit and
use it to carry on cane cultivation activities, there can be no valid
objection to this procedure.
The United States Government can make a substantial contribu-
tion toward keeping the sugar business alive and establishing it on
a basis which will permit farmers to continue in a state of independence
by enacting legislation which will return to the local treasury process-
ing taxes now collected under the provisions of the Sugar Act of 1937
on sugar produced in the Virgin Islands and shipped to the United
States. Although the quota and other restrictive provisions of this
act apply to the Virgin Islands, and though the processing tax applies
to Virgin Islands sugar, the sugar producer in the islands is singled
out for especially discriminatory treatment in that he alone of all
sugar producers under the American flag does not receive benefit pay-
ments. As a result of this discrimination and because of the imposi-
tion of the $6 per ton export tax on sugar, the local producer, who
must sell his sugar at current prices in the American market, receives
$16 to $18 less per ton of sugar than do producers elsewhere in the
United States. This represents from 25 percent to 30 percent of the
value of his crop.
Because of the smallness of the local sugar industry the Department
of Agriculture does not wish to take responsibility for the administra-
tion of sugar benefit payments in the Virgin Islands. It is held that
the administrative costs would be so great that such a plan would be
uneconomic. Recognizing the soundness of this position, the local
governing authorities and the Department of the Interior have pro-
posed legislation which calls for the transfer from the United States
Treasury to the Treasury of the Virgin Islands of sugar processing
taxes collected on Virgin Islands sugar shipped to the United States.
If this legislation were enacted, the local authorities could then es-
tablish by ordinance a system of benefit payments comparable to that


provided in Title III of the Sugar Act of 1937 to be administered by
local agencies at very small cost. This bill (H. R. 9214) has been
before Congress during the entire life of its present session but has
not as yet been acted on. The obvious justice of the bill and the
imperative necessity of its enactment have won the support of a great
majority of those who have considered it. The continuation of a
severe drought into its fourth year has created an emergency which
requires immediate action to relieve Virgin Islands cane producers.
It is clear that wise policy calls for the removal of singular and unjust
discrimination against farmers in the Virgin Islands which tend to
transform them into relief applicants. This is especially true since
the United States Government has expended large sums of money in
recent years to purchase land for subdivision and resale to these same
farmers. If they cannot meet their payments for their farms and
homes, the Government's investment will be jeopardized and probably
In St. Croix a rapid decline of cane cultivation between 1920 and
1933, from 13,000 acres to 4,505 acres, brought with it loss of work
opportunities for laborers, loss of effort and investment for farmers
and sugar companies, and loss of revenue to the island treasury.
The rise of cane cultivation acreage after 1933 from 4,505 acres to
6,500 acres in 1940 is almost entirely attributable to the expenditure
of Federal funds in the homesteading program and in the Virgin
Islands Company project, both of which depend almost entirely on
sugar. If the sugar industry is to be permitted to continue its decline
into final dissolution, these large investments will in greater part be
The vagaries of rainfall and their telling effect on sugar crops are
graphically reflected in data on the tonnage of St. Croix sugar ex-
ported (and all local production is exported). The table in Appendix
15 gives a tabulation of these exports. While cane acreage declined
steadily but only in small annual losses, crop yields fell off by 60
percent or increased by 100 percent or more. The investment in
labor and capital in succeeding years declined only slightly from each
previous year, and where crop yields fell 50 percent or more sub-
stantial losses were certain to be incurred. During this period the
price of raw sugar in the New York market has tended downward
with consequent loss and discouragement to the sugar industry.
Unless the remedial legislation outlined above is enacted in the near
future, there is little hope that the sugar business will survive in St.
Croix. Since there is no agricultural industry other than cattle raising
which can be established in its place, there is only the prospect of
widespread unemployment, poverty, and misery if the sugar business
is permitted to continue its steady march toward final collapse.

Preliminary figures of the 1940 Census record an increase in the
number of farms in the Virgin Islands from 329 in 1930 to 828 in 1940,
an increase of 152 percent. This change is attributable almost entirely
to the establishment of a so-called homestead program inaugurated
in 1931 and later considerably expanded.
The plantation system of agricultural economy, a heritage of the
Danish period, proved to be a serious obstacle to the establishment of
any considerable body of independent small farmers. Its deteriora-
tion prior to the transfer of sovereignty had already led to the develop-
ment of a system of unregulated farm tenantry. Very few tenants
were able to find the means or the opportunity to become landowners.
Most of them were unable to save or borrow funds to purchase land.
Estate owners did not wish to incur the expense of subdividing their
land merely to sell it on credit to individuals with a low or nonexistent
credit standing and with little or no training or capacity for operating
farms independently. As a consequence, tenants and other agri-
culturalists usually found it impossible to become landowners.
Tenants paid rentals which varied according to the nature and loca-
tion of land and the disposition of owners or of tenants, but which in
general were exceedingly high in comparison with the income which
the tenant could wring from the land. Rentals ranged from $5 per
acre per year to $12, sometimes $15. Meanwhile, land was closely
held by large estate owners and by sugar factories. In 1932 it was
reported that 273 individuals and corporations owned 90 percent of
the land in the Virgin Islands.
Thus, of 2,944 persons recorded in 1930 as gainfully employed in
agricultural pursuits, 2,440, or 83 percent, were classified as farm
laborers. These laborers formed a labor pool from which plantation
owners or sugar factories drew their labor when needed. Approxi-
mately twice as many laborers are required to harvest a sugar crop
as are needed to plant and cultivate it during its growing season of
18 months. Few laborers, therefore, could hope for employment for
more than 100 to 120 days in the year. In 1930 their pay, when they
could get employment, was at a rate of 40 cents a day during the
cultivation season and 60 cents during the harvesting season. Since
then these rates have slowly been raised to the figures of 80 cents and
$1 per day now being paid. Farm laborers were often tenant farmers
in their spare time, cultivating areas from one to three acres depend-
ing on their energy and the size of their families.
Some of them were permitted to occupy estate or factory village
houses without payment of rent. For the most part these houses
were dilapidated and devoid of all sanitary facilities. Less fortunate
laborers were required to pay rentals of 25 cents per room per week


at neighboring estates or in towns. When they had to find quarters
in the towns, it was necessary for them to walk distances of 2 to 5
miles to and from the scene of their labors. Those who occupied
village houses were given subsistence garden plots of from Y) to %4 of
an acre in which to raise food for themselves. They worked these
plots either before beginning the day's work as farm laborers or after
its completion. Also, they worked them on days when they could not
hire out their labor.
Farm laborers consequently were a landless, dispossessed class with
little hope of improving their lot. They constituted a serious social
problem. The Danish Government found it desirable to enlist in
Denmark a gendarmery corps of 123 officers and men who were per-
manently stationed in the islands to maintain the public peace.
Experience in other West Indian islands indicated that at least a
partial solution for the social and economic problems involved in this
situation could be found in the establishment of small farm holdings.
A number of efforts to establish such a program were made prior to the
transfer of jurisdiction over the islands to the Department of the
Interior. None of them were successful. In 1931, however, Con-
gress appropriated funds to purchase large estates for subdivision and
resale to small farmers or homesteaders. Subsequently, additional
allocations were made under NIRA and other emergency relief acts
which permitted the expansion and development of this program. To
date, a total of 3,552 acres have been purchased in the islands of St.
Croix and St. Thomas for subdivision which are now being sold under
rental-purchase contracts to 328 small holders. The sale price of this
land is being amortized in 20 annual payments. These payments are
lower than the annual rents previously paid by tenants. In addition,
77 families have been established on small holdings set up by the
Municipality of St. Croix. These municipal homesteaders have been
given substantial assistance by the agencies directing the Federal
homestead program.
Ninety-one houses have been constructed or reconstructed on these
areas which are likewise being sold under purchase contracts to their
occupants. These are modern two-, three-, or four-room houses
located on the homestead plots or near them. Many more houses
are required to supply all homesteaders with quarters on or near their
In any sound rural rehabilitation plan certain basic features must
be present. It is essential that sufficient land at a reasonable price
be made available to a small holder to bring in an income sufficient
to support him and his family as well as to cover amortizing payments.
The original subdivision in St. Croix provided plots which averaged


6.37 acres. This acreage has proved to be too small to provide ade-
quate family income as well as amortization. A policy has therefore
been adopted of dividing among adjacent homesteaders plots reverting
to the government in case of death or cancelation of contracts.
This procedure has resulted in increasing the average size of home-
steads to 7.75 acres. With the assistance furnished homesteaders
by the government they can successfully operate farms of even larger
Another fundamental requirement is that supervisory control be
exercised by the government to assure the adoption of improved farm
practices. To turn over raw land to erstwhile farm laborers or ten-
ants without making provision for this control would doom the project
to early failure. Not only is supervisory control necessary, but
financial assistance in the form of agricultural loans must also be given.
In the production of any cash crop which is to be sold in competition
with other producing areas, the benefits of large-scale operation must
be provided. The production of a cash crop is itself an essential
requirement. This must be coupled with a program of subsistence
farming in order to furnish to the small farmer as much of his living
as possible directly. from the farm. Provision must also be made for
raising a small number of cattle and fowl so that milk, meat, and eggs
can be produced for direct consumption on the farm.
The homestead program in the Virgin Islands is based on small-
scale ownership and large-scale operation. This is accomplished
through the assistance of the agricultural experiment station which
provides supervision and direction in cultivation practices and methods
and by making modern farm machinery available at cost and under
competent direction for use on homestead plots. Much emphasis
has been given the planting of approved cane varieties selected for
their suitability for different types of soil. These varieties are propa-
gated by the agricultural station for distribution to farmers willing
to cooperate in employing improved cultivation practices. The tim-
ing of planting and the preparation of soil are likewise given emphasis.
The Farm Security Administration has carried on its characteris-
tic program of farm loans, extension work, and home-demonstration
work. It is encouraging homesteaders to purchase cows or other
animals and giving instruction in their care. Special emphasis is
given by the home-demonstration agents to all phases of subsistence
gardening, preserving, and in the direct use of home-grown articles
wherever possible. The Soil Conservation Service has inaugurated
a demonstration project to train small farmers to use water-conserving
practices such as contour plowing, terracing, mulching, as well as
soil conserving practices.


Although the homestead program has been hampered by the dis-
continuity of allotments for its prosecution and by the statutory
discrimination operating against the sugar business in the Virgin
Islands, it had nevertheless become soundly established and gave
promise of rehabilitating a large number of families in rural independ-
ence and self-support. During normal years, in excess of 90 percent
of payments due under purchase contracts for land and homes were
paid on time. Prolonged drought, however, added to statutory
discrimination has placed this hopeful program in serious jeopardy.
Many homesteaders have found it impossible to secure an adequate
income from their farms and have had to seek work away from them
to supplement their incomes. If this necessity continues for too
long a period, their homesteads will be neglected and payments for
them will rapidly become too great a burden to be carried.
A beginning has been made in the construction of rural housing
which is an indispensable element in any sound program of rural
rehabilitation. A means has not yet been found to expand this pro-
gram to meet more than a fraction of the need. It is clear that
Federal aid in some form must be forthcoming if this problem is to
be met with any degree of adequacy.
The enactment of H. J. Res. 586, a bill "transferring the adminis-.
tration of the homestead projects established in the Virgin Islands
from the Government of the Virgin Islands to the Department of
Agriculture," now before Congress, is highly desirable. The Farm
Security Administration already has stationed in the Virgin Islands
a competent staff, trained to carry on rural resettlement work. Much
of its present work is carried on with homesteaders. The transfer of
the homestead program to its jurisdiction will unify control in quali-
fied hands over government activities in behalf of homesteaders.
It will also relieve the staff of the agricultural station of responsi-
bility in connection with it, thus permitting it to devote its full
attention to its normal activities.
In 1930 the West Indian Sugar Factory, Ltd. collapsed. This
Danish corporation had operated two sugar mills in the island of
St. Croix. It owned 13,000 acres, keeping approximately 4,500 in
administration sugar cane cultivation. It had employed about 1,000
laborers. Because of its relatively great size it dominated the island
economically and politically.
During the succeeding four years stark unemployment was mitigated
only by the expenditure of large allocations of Federal emergency
relief funds. It was clear, however, that an overwhelming burden
of unemployment would continue to exist so long as the major indus-


try of the island was prostrate. Many and prolonged efforts were
made to persuade private American capital to revive it. They were
uniformly unsuccessful. As a consequence, the decision was made
to use relief funds to perform this task directly.
The Colonial Council of the Municipality of St. Thomas and St.
John enacted on April 16, 1934, an ordinance creating a special
corporate charter to establish the Virgin Islands Co. This charter
authorized the company to engage in a wide variety of activities
including the sugar business in order to effect the economic rehabili-
tation of the Virgin Islands and to promote the general welfare of
their people. Three incorporators were designated: The Secretary
of the Interior, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and the
Governor of the Virgin Islands. They were authorized to appoint
directors to manage the company.
Under the charter the incorporators executed a trust agreement.
binding themselves to accept no emoluments or personal benefits
from the operations of the company. They appointed as directors a
number of officers of the Interior Department and local officials and
The company has been wholly financed with Federal emergency
relief funds. To date allocations totalling $3,409,404.50 'have been
made for its capital and operating expenses. The table in Appendix 3
sets forth the source and amount of these allocations.
With these funds the Government has acquired two sugar mills, a
distillery, 5,000 acres of land, villages, estate houses, farm and indus-
trial structures, equipment, cattle, and other animals. The land
acquired was overgrown with brush; the factories, village, and farm
structures were practically all in need of major reconstruction.
After two years of development work, the company was subjected
by special enactment of Congress to the requirement that it pay into
the local treasury sums equivalent to the taxes that would normally
be paid by a private company on similar real property and the like
business operations.
The Government has rehabilitated and improved the sugar mills,
distillery, and industrial buildings. It has procured industrial and
farm equipment. It has restored workers' homes in some of the
estate villages and constructed new villages, and many new homes
which provide quarters for the officers of the company, its super-
visory employees, and for a part of its laborers. It has cleared,
drained, and improved land and put it into cultivation or pasturage.
This reconstruction work has, of course, given substantial employ-
ment to local laborers.
The rehabilitated land and industrial property were then turned
over under an operating agreement to the Virgin Islands Co.,


without rental payment to carry on its agricultural and commercial
The principal activity of the company has been the production of
sugar cane and its processing. It has also produced rum and other
distillates either directly from cane juice or from byproducts. of raw
sugar manufacture. It has engaged in a variety of other agricultural
activities sudh as tomato raising, chicken and egg production, and
other farming activities.
The company has given permanent employment to its officers,
supervisory and technical staff, and to a large number of skilled and
unskilled laborers. It has given part-time employment to many
additional skilled and unskilled laborers during milling seasons and
to field laborers during cane harvesting seasons. Approximately
1,000 employees have thus had full-time or part-time employment as
a result of its operation.
The operating agreement under which the company uses the Gov-
ernment's real and personal property described above provides that
all income from its use be deposited in the company's treasury. If
and when the directors determine that it has made a profit, that profit
is to be deposited in the United States Treasury.
During the first 5 years of the life of the company it has operated
at a loss during 4 years and has recorded a small net profit in 1 year.
The total net loss during this 5-year period, ending June 30, 1939,
was $139,926.49. The table in Appendix 4 gives an analysis of its
financial position in this 5-year period.
In a society which tends to measure success in terms of financial
profit, this showing may be construed to indicate that the company
has a low survival potential. This is especially true where political
considerations must necessarily be involved because of the govern-
mental character of the venture. Against this result, however, there
must be put in balance the cost of providing relief employment or
direct relief to the large numbers who have been employed by the
company. The rehabilitation of the agricultural and industrial
property through the use of Federal funds constitutes an investment
of substantial financial value.
The soundest criteria for judging the results of this undertaking in
relation to its cost are those concerned with the number of persons
permanently rehabilitated by it and the degree of improvement in the
economic and social conditions of those affected by it. Here, it is clear
that the program has directly and permanently rehabilitated only a
very small number of persons. Nor is it organized to do more unless
it can survive indefinitely and give an increased number of persons
permanent employment at rates of pay which are considerably above
those now paid to its laborers. For only a fraction of the cost of this


venture, the homestead program has made substantial steps toward
the permanent rehabilitation of over 300 families. The annual cost
of supervising and assisting homesteaders is slight and is offset in part
by payments made by them for their land and house rental-purchase.
The operating losses of the company cannot indefinitely continue to
be offset by additional relief allocations. Since the history of sugar
company operation in the islands indicates clearly that large-scale
administration cane cultivation has so far led inevitably to financial
collapse, the Virgin Islands Co. cannot be expected to provide employ-
ment indefinitely to those now on its rolls.
The company enjoys many advantages which private companies do
not. At the same time its relative size and its governmental character
create problems which seriously affect its balance sheet. It produces
40 percent of the island crop of sugarcane, processes 60 percent to
70 percent of the raw sugar manufactured in the island, and produces
80 percent of the island's rum. Except for the cattle business these
are the only important commercial activities carried on in St. Croix.
The dominant position of the company astride island economy gives
to all of its operations and activities an importance and public interest
which they would not have if it were one of a number of large enter-
prises in the community. Its officers must exercise great restraint and
care to resist local political pressures. They must exercise great care
also in their negotiations with labor organizations whose members can
find few opportunities for employment other than those offered by
the company, so that those negotiations are conducted on a basis of
equality between the labor organizations and the company.
As a governmental undertaking, the company has been expected to
emphasize social objectives, to improve wages and working conditions,
to improve its laborers' living conditions, and to conduct its relation-
ships with farmers who supply it with raw materials with a view to
the farmers' economic improvement. These objectives are not always
compatible with financially profitable operation in a commercial
Although present labor wage rates at 80 cents and $1 per day are
not high, they are considerably higher than they were when the
company began to operate. Unfortunately, increases have had to be
brought about by strikes which have at times embittered relations and
cast doubt on the sincerity of the Government's purposes. An
insistence on the establishment of wage rates on a task system rather
than on the previously established day's wage basis is looked upon
with doubt and suspicion by labor. Some of the workers have the
security afforded by year-round employment but most of them are
still in the category of casual laborers, employed when they are needed
and dismissed when they are not. The previously established 8-hour


day has not been disturbed and other working conditions are practi-
cally unchanged.
The Fair Labor Standards Act has brought about an increase in
wage rates for certain classes of employees. This gain has been
jeopardized by the enactment of an amendment to that Act incor-
porated in the Relief Act of 1941 which provides that the minimum
wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act shall not apply to
the Virgin Islands but that instead minimum rates shall be established
by an industry committee. Since labor union activities elsewhere in
the United States have fixed wage scales in competitive businesses at
rates considerably higher than the minima prescribed by this Act,
there is basis for the expectation that rates not lower than those mini-
ma will be prescribed for the manufacture of sugar and rum in the
Virgin Islands.
Some company workers have been furnished well-constructed and
well-maintained homes with satisfactory sanitary facilities. These
are provided without payment of rent as are small subsistence garden
plots. Other workers are not furnished houses nor a cash equivalent
for their rental value. Company laborers' houses are a vast improve-
ment over similar houses furnished on other estates. They represent
a considerable outlay of funds, clearly beyond the means of com-
mercially operated estates or sugar companies. While they are
permitted to occupy them, the laborers enjoy a substantial improve-
ment in their living standards. They car, of course, be dispossessed
at the will of the management for reasons which it deems sufficient.
Independent cane producers, of whom 600 or more sell their crop
to the company, have secured no appreciable benefit from its opera-
tion. They are paid for their crop in precisely the same way as they
always have been. If there has been any saving in processing costs
as a consequence of the large investment made by the Government in
mill rehabilitation and in industrial equipment, no part of that saving
has been passed on to them. So far as is known, the company has no
plan to rationalize the method of paying for sugarcane delivered to it
or to reduce the high charges levied on cane producers for processing
their product. Rationalization in these matters is essential in the
interest of the independent farmer. It is entirely within the power
of the company to undertake it, as it has been since 1934.
Whether or not the large investment in machinery and equipment
has led to lower costs in the fields is difficult of determination. Three
years of drought have removed crop yield and cost figures from the
realm of useful comparability. Certainly, over many years, average
per acre crop yields in the Virgin Islands are much below those of
Puerto Rico or of nearby British West Indian islands. In periods of
high rainfall, which have in recent years been infrequent, cane ton-


nage per acre may rise to an average of 20 or 25 tons. Normally it is
below 10 tons per acre. In Puerto Rico, with the aid of extensive
irrigation systems, average yields range from 40 to 70 tons of cane per
acre. In British West Indian islands 30, 40, and 50 tons per acre
are normal. In 1937 with unusually good rainfall the company
reported an average per acre yield of 35 tons. In this same year
independent farmers, for whom there are no complete and comparable
figures, probably secured a yield of less than 20 tons per acre. In
the succeeding years of deficient rainfall, averages have fallen to 10
tons, 8 tons, and lower. The cost per acre of planting and cultivating
is practically as great for a crop which is doomed to failure because of
drought as it is for one which prospers under heavy rainfall. The
costs are as great, likewise, for a crop which is sold at a high sugar
price as at a low price. In the case of administration cane where all
labor is hired at a money wage, production cost outlays are necessarily
higher than in the case of independent farmers where much labor is
provided directly by the farmer and his family. The small farmer in
his present state of training and development is less efficient than the
large-scale operator with ample funds to purchase modern agricultural
equipment. This is not necessarily an immutable condition. With
the help of existing agencies for the direction, supervision, and educa,
tion of small farmers, with the help of those which are authorized to
provide loans, and with the help of those which can give them
the benefit of large-scale farming operations by making available
modern farm equipment at cost and supplying managerial direction
they will become more efficient. Certainly, the cultivation of ad-
ministration cane at wages at or above the subsistence level can be
carried on only with a heavy annual subsidy.
It is not possible to determine as yet if the large expenditures in-
curred in the rehabilitation of sugar mills has brought about an
improvement in the wretchedly low sugar extraction figures which
have long characterized St. Croix factory operations. The Bethlehem
factory, the largest in the island, was to be rehabilitated for use in
1937, but the contractor failed to complete his work on time. Since
then the mill has stood idle because succeeding crops have been too
small to justify its operation. The Central factory which has also
been reconditioned at considerable expense has continued, neverthe-
less, to report extraction at less than 11 percent. The average
extraction in 1940 was only 9.7 at this factory. In Puerto Rico the
average extraction for all sugar mills approximates 12.5 percent. In
neighboring British West Indian islands the rate rarely falls below 13
percent and sometimes approaches 14 percent. Thus a 25 percent
increase in efficiency in company milling operations seems possible.
An examination of the results of 6 years of its operation reveals


the desirability of reorganizing the Virgin Islands Co. This can best
be achieved by discontinuing the operating agreement under which it
has the rent-free use of 5,000 acres of land owned by the Government.
This land should be subidvided into small farms ranging from 10 to
50 acres or into larger areas of pasture land for cattle raisers and sold
to homesteaders under 20-year purchase contracts similar to those
already in use in the homestead program. This subdivision should be
effected in such a manner as to permit ready access from the separate
plots to what are now laborers' houses. These should likewise be
sold under rental-purchase contracts. The administration of this
extension of the homestead program should be carried on by the
Farm Security Administration as a rural resettlement program. Farm
equipment should be transferred to the Farm Security Administration
or to the agricultural station for use on these and other homestead
areas in the same way as similar equipment is used on existing home-
stead areas. Cattle and other animals should be sold to small holders
with the aid of Farm Security Administration loans. The rum dis-
tillery and sugar mills should be operated by the Virgin Islands Co.
or leased to competent private operators. If leased to private in-
terests their operation would not constitute a political hazard nor an
obstacle to securing sympathetic congressional consideration for
many items of legislation needed for the economic welfare of the
islands. Under whatever arrangement there may be made for the
operation of the sugar mills, legislation by the municipality is requisite
to regulate the relationship between sugar growers and sugar mills so
that growers may receive a greater proportion of the value of their
crop than at present.
* It will be argued that legal discrimination against the sugar
business in the Virgin Islands, drought, distance from markets, and
other natural disadvantages will make it impossible for small farmers
to make a comfortable living from their farms. This may be true
but it is probable that legal discrimination will be more quickly
removed by Congress if they affect only farmers rather than a large
corporation some of whose activities are not universally approved.
Those laborers who secure homesteads will be better off even in pe-
riods of severe drought and low farm income than they are as company
laborers during similar periods when retrenchment is necessary and
they are dismissed from the company's rolls. As homesteaders they
can secure a large part of their subsistence from their farms. At
worst, the Farm Security Administration can assist them directly by
making loans or even by giving cash grants. The direct nature of
Farm Security Administration assistance will make such a program
less costly to the Government than is any involving the continuation
of large-scale entrepreneurial sugar cultivation in the face of high


cost of production, low price of sugar, and recurring drought. The
90-percent repayment record in normal years of present homesteaders
promises well for the eventual recovery by the Government of its
investment in land and houses if this plan is adopted.
Shipping and the servicing of ships have historically been the prin-
cipal business of St. Thomas. The harbor is the chief economic asset
of the island. The well-being of most of the population depends
directly on the rise and fall of world shipping using it.
This business has undergone many changes as a result of transforma-
tion in the character of world shipping. Generations ago the harbor
was filled with sailing ships engaged in the transshipment business
which used St. Thomas as a center for distributing American and
European goods throughout the Caribbean area. Later, coal-burning
steamships frequented the harbor for fueling and as a rendezvous while
awaiting sailing orders. With the introduction of the radio and the
change from coal- to oil-burning ships, and with the virtual disappear-
ance of the transshipment business, the harbor fell upon evil days.
Shortly before the transfer of the islands to American sovereignty, a
Danish corporation established an excellent dock and the necessary
facilities for bunkering coal and oil. The substantial investment of
funds and the excellence of these facilities have in succeeding years
gradually restored the shipping business. During the decade from
1921 to 1930 there was an annual average of 514 ships of an annual
average tonnage of 1,927,676 calling at St. Thomas. In the following
decade this number was increased to 659 ships with a tonnage of
Other factors have also contributed to this revival of shipping. The
use of the port of St. Thomas by tourist cruise ships has very greatly
increased in recent years. The strategic position of St. Thomas for
national defense has led to the considerable use of the port by ships of
the United States Navy. The table in Appendix 5 discloses a very
sharp increase during the last 3 years of United States warships calling
at the port. During that period an annual average of 94 Navy ships
visited St. Thomas as compared with an average of 30 such ships call-
ing annually in the previous 17 years. Both of these developments
have contributed substantially to the improvement of the economic
position of the island.
Prior to the outbreak of the European war in September, the pros-
pect was bright for a substantial increase in the tourist trade and other
shipping during the fiscal year 1940. The outbreak of hostilities had
an immediately disturbing effect since large numbers of ships calling at
St. Thomas for oil bunkers and especially for coal bunkers flew the


flags of nations which became belligerents. The coal-bunkering busi-
ness has fallen off very considerably and the tourist cruise-ship busi-
ness has been greatly affected. Fortunately for the community, how-
ever, the loss of one type of shipping occasioned by the war has been
made up by an abnormal increase of the recently established bauxite
transshipment business.
The uninterrupted increase, begun in the fiscal year 1933, indicated
in the table in Appendix 5,in the number and total tonnage of ocean-
going ships calling at the port, was continued in the past fiscal year
during which a total of 985 ships with a total tonnage of 3,844,289 tons
was recorded. This is the highest peak attained by shipping in the
port of St. Thomas in any year on record.
Transportation facilities to and from the Virgin Islands were con-
siderably disturbed by the outbreak of the war. The Furness-Withy
Line ships are no longer available for travel by American citizens. The
direct service between St. Thomas and Denmark furnished by the
East Asiatic Line is no longer in operation. The Pan American Air-
ways, however, continues to furnish a weekly north- and south-bound
service to St. Thomas. The American Caribbean Airways provides a
triweekly service between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The S. S. Catherine of the Bull Insular Line likewise continues to
provide biweekly sailings between the Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico. The service of this ship is essential to the Virgin Islands because
of its excellent passenger and freight, including cold-storage, facilities.
Moreover, in cases of severe drought the Catherine is available to
transport water from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands. Its operators
are the contractors for the carriage of United States mails. Their con-
tract expired at the close of the fiscal year. The Post Office Depart-
ment advertised for bids and received one bid in addition to that sub-
mitted by the Bull Line. Because of the functional compartmentation
of government activities, there was grave danger that the needs of the
Virgin Islands for adequate passenger and freight transportation fa-
cilities would be disregarded because, under the law, the Post Office
Department may consider only the requirements for the safe and
continuous carriage of the mails when awarding a mail contract. The
inherent conflict between the functional and the geographic distribu-
tion of government powers was in this case happily resolved, and the
recommendations of the local authorities were given due consideration
with the result that the contract for the carriage of mails was renewed
for a period of years with the existing operator.
Congress has recognized the need for more adequate shipping and
for direct passenger and freight facilities between the islands and the
Continent by exempting the Virgin Islands from the application of
the Coastwise Shipping Act. This exemption has made possible the


operation of vessels of the Furness-Withy Line, flying the British flag,
between New York and the islands. This line provided a regular, if
infrequent, service prior to the outbreak of war, but is now no longer
available. Innumerable efforts to prevail on operators of American
ship lines to enter this service have been productive of little result.
As a temporary measure and until world shipping returns to its normal
channels, foreign or American cruise ships operating out of New York
and touching at the islands should be persuaded by the Maritime Com-
mission to sell tickets with stop-over privileges or one-way tickets to
the islands.
A basic necessity for the development of adequate transportation
facilities for the island of St. Croix is the erection of a dock for ocean-
going vessels. Ocean freight rates which are already high are aug-
mented by lighterage charges at the ports of the island which are
generally deemed to be excessive. Although these latter might be
subjected to regulation by local governmental authorities, they could
not be eliminated except by the construction of a dock. This project
has been under consideration for a number of years but has not been
executed because funds have been lacking. It is demonstrably a self-
liquidating project and its execution would eliminate uneconomic costs
now borne by the community and acting as a sharp deterrent to the
establishment of new business undertakings in the island. It could
be undertaken by the local government if Congress were to enact
legislation now before it to transfer to the local treasury internal-reve-
nue tax collections on Virgin Islands products.
The enactment of an amendment to section 4 of the Organic Act
clarifying the language of that Act so that it could not be construed to
make every provision of the United States Navigation laws and con-
comitant taxes apply to the Virgin Islands has removed a deterrent
uncertainty. The Legislative Assembly of the Virgin Islands has
meanwhile enacted an elementary and inadequate law to regulate
navigation in the Virgin Islands. This law does not take the place
of the United States navigation laws in insuring the safety of life
and property at sea. The authority granted to the President in the
amended section 4 of the Organic Act to extend such portions of
these laws to the Virgin Islands as he declares to be necessary in the
public interest should be exercised in the near future with a view
to making applicable all their provisions relating to the safety of
passengers and property at sea.
The steady increase of shipping in the harbor and the increased use
of this port by ships of the United States Navy make it increasingly
imperative that the harbor improvement work authorized by Act of
Congress of August 30, 1935, for the harbor of St. Thomas be under-
taken at the earliest practicable date. The deepening of the entrance


channel and the removal of dangerous rocks near it, the construction
of a breakwater to protect the inner harbor from high seas accom-
panying hurricanes, and the enlargement of the turning basin and
anchorage basin, are of first importance for the protection and develop-
ment of shipping. Accomplishment of this work is of increasing
importance for national defense.
Since 1924 when a commercially operated floating dock sank and
was abandoned, many efforts have been made to establish either a
floating dock or a graving dock in St. Thomas. Efforts both private
and official failed. The competing harbor of San Juan, Puerto Rico,
is being given substantial assistance by the United States Government
to establish a graving dock which cannot fail to take shipping away
from St. Thomas. The damage would in some measure be repaired
if the harbor improvement project was executed in the near future.
At the beginning of the fiscal year it was anticipated that the high
record of calls by cruise ships at St. Thomas in 1939, when 24 ships
brought 11,715 cruise passengers to the island, would be exceeded in
the new fiscal year. At that time 43 cruise ship calls were scheduled
for the fiscal year 1940. Eleven of these were made prior to the out-
break of the war. Of the 14 ships scheduled to make 32 visits be-
tween September 7 and April 9, 6 were British, 3 Dutch, 1 American,
1 German, 1 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, and 1 French. Only 2 of these
calls were made and the balance of the schedule was abandoned.
The S. S. Nieuw Amsterdam of the Holland-America Line, entered into
the cruise service in January making 8 trips before the Netherlands
were overrun. Thus, only 21 cruise ships, bringing a total of 8,369
passengers, visited the port. This reduction affected many businesses
and individuals catering to the tourist trade which is an increasingly
important economic factor in St. Thomas.
The construction of Bluebeard Castle Hotel beginning in 1932 has
assisted materially in the development of the tourist and winter resi-
dent trade. The Grand Hotel, under the energetic direction of a new
management and with some promotional activity, has likewise aided
in this development. During the year, Hotel 1829 has been recon-
structed and now offers comfortable accommodations for travelers
and temporary residents. The attractive cottage development at
Caneel Bay on St. John adjacent to a number of superb bathing
beaches is drawing an increasing number of temporary residents.
Although the tourist and winter resident business and the promo-
tional activities which are necessary to its success are peculiarly suita-
ble for development by private capital, government activities can
make and have made a substantial contribution to it. The develop-


meant of roads and the improvement of sanitation have added to the
comfort and pleasure of visitors. The development of a handcraft
cooperative market through the use of government funds and with
government support, has created an exceedingly popular source from
which tourists can secure characteristic goods of native handwork.
This cooperative, begun in 1932 with the aid of a loan made by the
local government, had increased its sales from $5,712 in 1932 to
$45,394 in 1939. This high figure was reduced during the past fiscal
year to $39,189 because of the decrease in the tourist trade. The
cooperative is operated by a board of directors some of whom are
officers of the government. Because it has proved to be a means of
bringing in a small additional cash income to the families of approxi-
mately 700 workers, allotments of relief funds have been made to pro-
vide for instruction in the production of handcraft articles and to pay
supervisory personnel. Such profits as accrue to the cooperative have
been distributed among workers in annual bonuses which have ranged
from 2 percent to 7 percent of the value of goods produced. Since
its establishment, the cooperative has consistently followed the policy
of expanding the market for goods produced by workers who sell
them to the cooperative, and of paying for them at the highest rate
that the market permits. During the fiscal year the directors of the
cooperative established a ratio of 75 percent of the retail price as the
amount to be paid by the cooperative for goods sold to it by workers.
A number of shops have been established in recent years which,
like the cooperative, cater especially to the tourist trade. The Virgin
Islands are in a favored position because the United States tariff
laws do not apply to them. Instead, a tariff law enacted by the
Danish Government in 1914, which levies an ad valorem tax of 6
percent on foreign goods, has been continued in force and effect by
various enactments of Congress. This exemption from the United
States tariff permits the importation into the Virgin Islands of foreign
goods at a low rate of duty, and makes possible the development of a
small but locally important business in selling these goods to American
tourists who may take them into the United States under the $100
exemption clause in the United States tariff law. The small trickle
of goods entering the United States in this way does not seriously
affect any business there. The sale of these goods in the Virgin
Islands, however, is a factor of considerable economic importance
because their availability attracts many cruise ships to the island.
Until 1936, the privilege of returning United States travelers to bring
with them, under the $100 exemption clause, foreign liquors purchased
in the Virgin Islands constituted an additional attraction.
Although the sales of foreign liquor to American tourists were unim-
portant in relation to domestic liquor sales in the United States, the


$100 exemption clause was amended to exclude alcoholic beverages.
Now a returning traveler is permitted to bring with him not more
than one gallon of such goods. There is sound reason why the
exemption should not apply to foreign liquors purchased by Ameri-
can travelers in the Bahamas or in other foreign possessions, but
there seems little reason why the Virgin Islands should be denied the
increased trade that would accrue to them if returning United States
visitors were permitted to import, for their personal use and without
payment of duty, $100 worth of foreign alcoholic beverages pur-
chased in the Virgin Islands.
The tourist business includes both temporary visitors who come
to the Virgin Islands on cruise ships and stay in port for a few hours
during which they make sightseeing and shopping tours, and visitors
who stay for longer periods. The latter demand comfortable accom-
modations with modern sanitary facilities in a community where the
sewer system, water supply, and food stuffs are above reproach, and
with recreational facilities which are adequate and accessible.
Although much remains to be done in the field of public sanitation,
considerable advance can be recorded. In recent years the sewer
and salt water flushing systems of Charlotte Amalie have been re-
newed and extended to all parts of the town. Eight miles of streets
have been surfaced and street drains, of the open gutter type which
almost everywhere in the West Indies in their neglect or decay are an
offense and a menace, have been installed or reconstructed. Much
remains to be done in regulating the production, processing, and dis-
tribution of foodstuffs of local origin. The local sanitation and health
laws leave much to be desired in this field. The legislators have not
yet learned that prevention in public health is better than cure, nor
that the community has an economic interest in giving additional
basis for the reputation it already has among travelers for cleanliness
and healthfulness. This situation is being met by the construction,
as P. W. A. projects, of an abattoir and a market both of which will
have adequate cold-storage facilities. In the absence of satisfactory
sanitation laws in the community in general, these units will be
operated under executive control in full compliance with Federal
sanitation laws and modern sanitary practices.
Although existing hotels and cottage developments represent an
advance over earlier accommodations, there is much room for expan-
sion in this field. The outstanding need of the islands is a substantial
cottage-hotel development at a beach accessible by good road to the
center of the town. This is a project which, if undertaken by private
capital with good management and energetic promotion, would
undoubtedly succeed.


A bill, H. R. 9621, "to provide for the establishment of the St.
John Island National Recreational Area in the Virgin Islands of the
United States, and for other purposes," introduced in the 76th
Congress, should be enacted in order to make possible the develop-
ment of a National Park recreational area in a tropical setting. The
attractions of the island of St. John are so outstanding that their
appropriate development would contribute much to draw American
travelers to an American possession which has all of the romantic
interest of any of the Caribbean islands.
The tourist and winter resident trade can make a substantial con-
tribution to the economic revival of the Virgin Islands. It should be
promoted to assist in establishing them on a basis of fiscal self-
sufficiency and for the pleasure and gratification of American travelers.
H. R. 6884, a bill "to encourage travel in the United States, and for
other purposes," should be enacted in order to create a Government
agency to serve as a clearing house for travel information and as a
means of promoting travel to American possessions.
The effects of governmental and private efforts to develop the tour-
ist trade in the Virgin Islands are especially evident in the period from
1935 to 1940. The table in Appendix 5 reveals that in this 6-year
period there were an annual average of 17 cruise ship calls at St.
Thomas, whereas in the previous 14 years the annual average was
slightly less than 6 calls. The dislocations of war have impeded the
normal development of this trade which has always been carried on
chiefly by foreign shipping. There is opportunity for American ship-
ping now barred from the transatlantic trade to enter the increasingly
popular Caribbean cruise business. Government policy and authority
should be directed toward making ships available and toward divert-
ing as much travel as possible to American possessions as a means of
improving the economic position of those possessions and of binding
them more closely to the continental United States.
Ever since the European settlement of the West Indies, cattle rais-
ing has been an important industry. This was especially true during
the days of sailing ships when supplies of meat had to be secured at
various ports of call. In the early years of the sixteenth century,
bands of freebooters known among themselves as Brethren of the
Coast joined together, particularly in Santo Domingo and nearby
islands where there were large herds of cattle, and sold hides and meat
to passing ships. Since they cured the meat by smoking it, these
freebooters began to be termed "buccaneers" from the Carib Indian
word "boucan" meaning a storage place for smoke-dried meat. The


Spaniards were probably the first to introduce European cattle in the
Caribbean area.
They and their successors have found that cattle raising in the
tropics presents many difficulties. The chief of these center in secur-
ing adequate food and water throughout the year, and finding types
of cattle adaptable to both climate and food supply.
In the West Indies cattle are kept and bred for three purposes, i. e.,
beef, draught, and milk. With some sacrifice of efficiency in each
direction, it is possible to combine two and, perhaps in part, all three
of these objectives. At the same time it is axiomatic that specializa-
tion is necessary to obtain the best results in any one of them. The
lack of specialization and the indiscriminate blending of various breeds
without due regard for their efficiency for any one of these purposes
has been a great evil in this area.
The original Spanish settlers introduced Spanish cattle, red or dun
in color, of large size, long horns, slow growth, inferior beef quality,
but serviceable under the yoke. Subsequently, importations of cattle
from Africa, Asia, and Europe were made with varying results. In
some of the islands a cross of the Red Devon with native stock has
shown itself most adaptable to local conditions. In Jamaica, the
Hereford has developed well where there were good Guinea grass
pastures. In the lowlands of Jamaica the Black Angus has proved
itself a good beef breed. The Shorthorn has been less adaptable and
has made a considerably poorer showing than the Devon, Hereford,
Black Angus or Senegal cattle. The finest breeds of beef cattle are
the most susceptible to tick infestation, which is generally prevalent
in the West Indies, and the least resistant to the fever parasite. It
has been found also that the intensification of nontropical blood in
herds increases the hair and the tenderness of the skin of the animals
which seriously increase the ravages of the tick pest.
Experience indicates that an element of the Zebu or Indian strain
is essential to harden cattle to Caribbean tropical conditions. The
influence of this strain is remarkable. It has been stated on good
authority that one-eighth of Zebu blood is sufficient to give a short
hair character and darkening of the skin to a composite animal, and,
at the same time, preserve to a marked degree the qualities of the re-
maining seven-eighths blood.
To a considerable extent Virgin Islands cattle herds are the descend-
ants of Spanish cattle with Zebu and African strains imported from
Mysore, India, and Senegal, on the west coast of Africa. Mysore
cattle are regarded as thoroughbreds among Indian cattle. For
draught and endurance in the yoke they are outstanding, well com-
bining hardness of hoof and spirit. The cross between this strain and
270360-40-- 5


native stock gives large calves, which take flesh rapidly and develop
into splendid work animals. The Senegal and Spanish breeds also
give excellent results. They are hardy and well able to take care of
The table in Appendix 6 sets forth the number and value of cattle
exported from the Virgin Islands, practically all of which are sold in
Puerto Rico. It will be noted that there has been a considerable
numerical increase in the annual average of cattle shipped from the
Virgin Islands in the twenties as compared with the thirties. The
annual average of exports for the latter decade is 517 animals higher
than the average for the previous period. It should be noted also
that the value of cattle exported from the Virgin Islands has in the
latter period, in spite of this numerical increase, decreased consider-
ably below the average value in the earlier period. Thus, although
the annual average of cattle shipped in the decade of the thirties was
517 greater than in the previous decade, the average value of these
larger shipments was $14,567 below the value of the lesser shipments
in the twenties. This is accounted for by two factors, (1) the decrease
in the price of meat, and (2) the change in the character of exporta-
tions from work animals to slaughter animals.
Puerto Rican sugar companies have practically ceased to import
Virgin Islands work oxen for which there was normally a good market
at a relatively high price. St. Croix cattle especially were sought for
work purposes. The local Zebu strain proved especially hardy and
useful in this connection.
While this change in the market demand was taking place, the
Puerto Rican authorities put into effect a number of laws for the
improvement of the cattle business in Puerto Rico. With the assist-
ance of Federal funds an island-wide tick-eradication program was
inaugurated there. Restrictions were necessarily imposed on the
importation of animals from the Virgin Islands which were a tick-
infested area. Until steps could be taken to inaugurate a similar
program in the Virgin Islands temporary arrangements were made to
permit the importation into Puerto Rico from the Virgin Islands of
animals intended only for immediate slaughter. This occasioned an
immediate cessation of the exportation of work animals. Likewise it
prevented the exportation of dairy animals of which a small number
were annually imported into Puerto Rico from the Virgin Islands.
To meet this situation the local legislators enacted ordinances
establishing a tick-eradication program, appropriating some part of the
funds to carry it into execution, and sponsoring a request to the Works
Progress Administration for an allocation of funds to assist in its
execution. The program has been carried forward successfully since
its inception. Since January, 1940, the islands of St. Thomas and St.


John have been reported to be free of cattle ticks. Importations into
Puerto Rico of animals for other than slaughter purposes has been
authorized since April 1 from these two islands. The program has
also been carried on in the island of St. Croix, but because of the exist-
ence of deer, wild donkeys, and other tick-infested wild animals which
must be eliminated, that island must continue dipping for an additional
12 months. The completion of tick-eradication work will remove a
serious obstacle to the sound development and extension of the cattle
business. Because of the disappearance of the market for work oxen,
it will be necessary to develop beef and dairy types of cattle. The
introduction of new strains, if that proves necessary, can now be
accomplished without danger of substantial loss because of tick fever.
In order adequately to safeguard the gains made in the Virgin
Islands, it is essential t6 have animal quarantine regulations enforced
by the United States Department of Agriculture in the islands. Local
quarantine regulations are now being enforced by the local staff.
The importance of the cattle industry justifies the assignment of
Federal quarantine officers to perform this work.
In addition to developing satisfactory animals for beef purposes,
cattle growers will need to introduce sound methods of animal hus-
bandry. Present conditions are exceedingly unsatisfactory. A
major problem to be solved is that of providing food for animals
during recurring dry seasons. This is a problem over and above that
of finding sufficient water to supply cattle during periods of severe
and prolonged drought such as have been characteristic during the
past three years. Excellent pasture grasses have been introduced
which are widely grown on cattle estates. Guinea grass, the principal
food of cattle, grows freely on the hills and in the valleys of all the
Virgin Islands. This is a splendid grass, responding quickly to rain
with a rapid growth. It is much relished by all kinds of stock.
Cattle will thrive and fatten on pastures of this grass alone. Experi-
mental plantings of Napier or Elephant grass have been made which
give promise of meeting the problem of providing cattle fodder during
dry seasons. It is drought resistant and gives large yields. If
methods can be found of storing it or other fodders in silos for use in
the dry season, a seriously limiting factor to the development of the
cattle business can be removed. Dr. Longfield Smith, the director
of the agricultural station during the Danish regime, declared that
"until the cattle and dairy farmers realize the necessity of erecting
silos, this industry will not be placed on the footing it deserves.
Elephant grass, corn, sorghum, and velvetbeans could readily be
raised during the wet period for use as silage." Unfortunately,
experiments have not been vigorously prosecuted in this direction and


the problem of finding fodder for animals recurs almost annually
during the dry season.
It is clear that possibilities exist for the expansion of the local dairy
industry since there are substantial quantities of milk, condensed and
dried, and of butter and cheese, imported into the Virgin Islands
each year. Drastic changes in local production methods must be
effected if the local market is to be supplied by local producers.
Sanitation laws will also need to be greatly strengthened if this
desirable objective is to be achieved.
Although a large percentage of local cattle are exported and sold
in the Puerto Rican market, considerable numbers of cattle are
imported into the American Virgin Islands from the British Virgin
Islands. This condition is a result of the fact that higher prices for
meat prevail in Puerto Rico where the United States tariff laws are
in effect than do in the Virgin Islands. Thus, the local consumer has
the benefit of low-priced meat and the local producer has the benefit
of a higher price market.
Because of the unsatisfactory and uneconomic conditions surround-
ing the slaughter and processing of meat, an allocation of P. W. A.
funds has been made to construct a modern abattoir on the island of
St. Croix. The construction of this plant is now nearing completion.
It is planned to operate it during a demonstration and training period
of 8 months in the new fiscal year in order to assure its operation in
accordance with all the requirements of the Bureau of Animal Industry
of the Department of Agriculture. Because it is planned to supply
the increasingly large number of military forces stationed in the Carib-
bean area from this abattoir, a request will be made to the Department
of Agriculture to assign a meat inspection officer to the Virgin Islands.
Efficient and sanitary slaughter and processing of animals in the
Virgin Islands will remove much of the inhumanity, insanitation, and
uneconomy that now attend the business. The successful operation
of the abattoir is expected to yield an increased return to cattle growers
who may then be in a financial position to improve their herds and
their cattle-raising methods.
The islands have historically been a one-crop area, exporting that
crop and importing the principal items of foodstuffs for local con-
sumption. The economics of the plantation system are still reflected
in the diet of salt fish, salt pork, and corn meal preferred by the rank
and file of the inhabitants.
Vigorous and persistent efforts by various government agencies to
encourage the production and consumption of a great variety of vege-
tables have begun visibly to bear fruit. The distribution of Surplus


Commodities foodstuffs has made a considerable contribution to this
result in spite of occasional mystification over the uses of grapefruit
discovered too late not to be intended by nature to be boiled.
Homesteaders and other small farmers have grown increasing
quantities and varieties of ground provisions. Their marketing has,
however, been difficult and unprofitable. Marketing arrangements are
primitive. Marketing facilities practically do not exist. Many
perishable products which can readily be produced locally are imported
for lack of refrigerated storage facilities. A considerable potential
market for these products is neglected for the same reason and because
local sanitary regulations relating to. the processing of foodstuffs are
not of a character to breed only confidence. The many ships calling
at the port of St. Thomas represent a market for perishable foodstuffs
of substantial proportions. The military forces stationed here and
in neighboring islands are likewise a potential market for many local
products if their quantity is adequate and their quality satisfactory.
Production capacity exists only in small, scattered units. Storage,
processing, and distributing facilities are lacking. To bridge the gap
between farm and market and to expand the market demand, a modern
market with adequate cold-storage units is being constructed with
P. W. A. funds. Facilities for the storage, processing, and distribution
under careful sanitary regulation of meat, poultry, eggs, fish, vege-
tables, fruit, and other perishables will be provided. They will
permit the wholesale and retail distribution of local products, thus
providing an outlet for greater quantities of these products than has
been possible in the past.
The St. Thomas Agricultural Station, recently established in new
and well-planned structures, is completely fitted out with chicken and
egg production equipment. A cooperative agreement has been entered
into with a progressive poultry raiser to use this equipment for experi-
mental and demonstration purposes to determine the most satis-
factory and economic methods of poultry raising under local condi-
tions. Large quantities of eggs and chickens are annually imported
into the islands. They can undoubtedly be produced here, possibly
at lesser cost than the imported articles if corn, bone meal and lime,
the bulky ingredients of chicken feed, can be locally produced at low
Many miles of farm-to-market roads have been opened and im-
proved as W. P. A. and C. C. C. projects to aid farm economy. A
small farmers' cooperative in St. Thomas has continued limited
operations and a cooperative marketing venture has been inaugurated
in St. Croix. The experience of these agencies is valuable in deter-
mining the character and limitations of the local market and in
solving some of the problems of supply and distribution.

Rear Admiral James H. Oliver, the first American Governor of
the Virgin Islands, was one of the ablest and most effective administra-
tors sent to the Virgin Islands by the United States Government.
His annual reports give a penetrating analysis of conditions prevailing
at the time of the transfer of the islands to the United States and out-
line the basic policies necessary to mitigate or solve them. Unfor-
tunately, these reports have not been published. The policies out-
lined by him have been pursued with more or less vigor and success
by him and by succeeding administrations.
His analysis of social conditions in the islands is heavily drawn
upon for comparative data in the following sections of this report.
In his annual report for 1917, Governor Oliver declared: "The
existing system of public instruction in these islands leaves about
everything in the way of an adequate system to be desired." He
pointed out that the inhabitants of the islands needed above every-
thing else instruction in the use of their hands and that the existing
school system supplied such instruction not at all. There were no
normal schools in the islands so that natives could not look forward
to seeing their children as school instructors even if they displayed
natural abilities for entering that profession. Practically all natives
were too poor to send their children to the United States for advanced
instruction. No school existed in the islands where children might
obtain technical schooling in the trades, nor was there an agricultural
training school nor any competent teachers to give instruction in
agricultural subjects.
A small amount of money was appropriated by the local govern-
ments to subsidize various church schools because even the meager
public instruction then given halted at the borders of the towns.
Education in the country districts was left to the churches. The
church schools did not attempt to train the children practically, con-
fining their secular instruction chiefly to reading, writing, and arith-
metic. They were no better equipped than were the public schools
to carry on any of the practical instruction required to fit the chil-
dren for life in their communities.
"If we are to supply the children with textbooks-there is not one
in the schools at present, even the teachers have never possessed
them-if we are to afford the children an opportunity to improve
their lot, if we are to attempt to develop an agricultural community
and make use of the waste lands-the money that will be required for
this purpose must come from the United States by means of a con-
gressional appropriation. There is not sufficient money available in


the local treasuries to support properly even the present school sys-
tem, leaving aside any attempts to introduce any improvements
therein. In other words, if these people are to receive public instruc-
tion from their government, it must be given them, for they cannot
afford to pay for it," he stated. A substantial sum of money was
necessary, he declared, to erect school buildings, to provide furniture
and other equipment, and to employ qualified teachers.
"A large proportion of the children have grown up without hope of
improving their lot in life, and this, incidentally, makes toward a lax
view of the family relations. Where there is no ambition
and hope of betterment there is bound to be an indifferent attitude
toward the family. Improved conditions of civilization largely flow
from the hope that a man generally has of giving his children better
opportunities than he has himself possessed. But in these islands
few of the natives can see any better opportunities for their children
than they themselves have had-the same, in general, amounting to
barely more than an opportunity to exist," Governor Oliver further
Vigorous steps were taken by him and by his successors to bring
about improvements in the public school system. The table in Ap-
pendix 7 reveals the gradual expansion and improvement of the pub-
lic school system. Between 1917, the nearest comparable census year,
and 1940, the population of the islands declined 4 percent. Between
1921 and 1940 enrollment in all schools increased by 24 percent,
almost entirely in the public schools. In the same period the num-
ber of teachers in the public schools increased by 53 percent and the
appropriations for maintaining them increased by 54 percent.
The school system has been reorganized and follows familiar Ameri-
can lines. The curriculum has been extended to include many sub-
jects of a practical nature. Educational facilities have been extended
to include age groups previously entirely excluded. Much progress
has been made in improving the quality of instruction, the housing
and equipment of schools, and in their administration. Since 1933
six new school buildings have been erected in St. Thomas and other
school buildings have been improved; four have been constructed in
St. Croix and others there have likewise been improved. This has
been accomplished with relief allocations which have permitted a
greater development in this field than has been possible previously in
any like period of years.
Junior and senior high schools have been established in both munici-
palities. Demonstration nursery schools, introduced in 1934 and
reestablished in 1938, have increased in number and have been oper-
ated continuously during the past 2 school years. A vocational school
has been established in St. Croix in which agricultural instruction is


emphasized. A vocational division has been established in the Char-
lotte Amalie High School.
Health instruction has been continuously carried on in the school
system, and a physical training and athletic program has been intro-
duced. To meet the serious problem of undernourishment and mal-
nutrition amongschool children, a school lunch program has been estab-
lished in all schools in the country districts.
Practical arts, including sewing and home economics instruction,
have been introduced in nearly all elementary schools and throughout
all years of high school. A differentiated curriculum has been estab-
lished in the Charlotte Amalie High School which now offers a 3-year
commercial course. Art instruction under specially trained teachers
has also been introduced. Improved textbooks in adequate numbers
are now furnished in all schools.
Much emphasis has been placed on improving the educational status
of teachers in the service. With only a few exceptions all teachers in
the municipal school system are natives of the islands. The improve-
ment in the educational status of teachers has been accomplished in
part by the establishment of municipal scholarship funds created by
ordinance in each municipality under which cash grants or loans are
made to teachers or students who desire to go to the continental United
States for higher education. A number of tuition scholarships have
generously been made available by the authorities of Howard Uni-
versity, Atlanta University, Talledaga College, Swarthmore Univer-
sity, St. Augustin College, University of Puerto Rico, Hampton Insti-
tute, Fisk University, Tuskegee Institute, Polytechnic Institute of
San Germain, Puerto Rico, and Dillard University. These are made
available to selected Virgin Islands students who are also given finan-
cial assistance through the municipal scholarship funds. Twenty
college-trained Virgin Islanders are now teaching in the school system.
Scholarship grants have also been made available for teachers in service
who desire to attend summer sessions at the University of Puerto Rico.
A teachers' institute has been established and conducted for a num-
ber of years serving as a summer school at which teachers who cannot
leave the islands may improve their educational status.
Parent education and instruction in home training and child care
have been carried on with the assistance of parent-teacher organiza-
tions and in connection with the nursery school project. An adult
education program was established and conducted for a short period
as a work relief project. Unfortunately, inadequate funds have
necessitated the discontinuance of this very desirable program.
The literacy rate which increased from 75.1 percent in 1917 to 83.9
percent in 1930 has nevertheless continued its improvement. Final


figures for the 1940 census are not as yet available, but it can be
anticipated that they will reveal a further increase.
The character of the progress made in public instruction can be
gaged by the relative standing of high school students in the Virgin
Islands in standard scholarship achievement tests. For several years
the median of scholarship achievement for these students has equalled
or been higher than the standard of high schools in the United States.
The results of similar tests in lower grades have been less satisfactory.
During the year a new school law was enacted by the Legislative
Assembly of the Virgin Islands which superseded some portions of the
Education Law of 1921. Although some benefits were accomplished
by the enactment of this law, there are still serious problems which
have not been faced. One of the chief of these is the lack of any
automatic provision for increasing salaries of teachers based on
length of service and satisfactory performance, and the lack of any
provision for pensioning superannuated teachers whose usefulness is
in the descendant.
The Virgin Islands are not eligible to receive benefits under the
various vocational education grant-in-aids acts in effect in the United
States. There is special need for the continuation and development
of this type of educational activity in the islands. This need is now
definitely recognized by local legislators, and it is appropriate to
request that these acts be extended to th'e Virgin Islands as they have
been to Puerto Rico and Alaska. A bill, H. R. 10257, is now before
Congress to give to the Virgin Islands the same benefits in this con-
nection as are accorded other territories. It should promptly be
Governor Oliver in 1917 characterized the public health and
medical services in the islands as deplorable. "The most important
of the many needs of the Virgin Islands are a complete installation of
a sanitary system, which necessarily calls for a system of water supply,
which is now entirely lacking, and a comprehensive arrangement for
the medical education of the general population of the islands. The
death rate is very high, infant mortality being particularly disgraceful
to a civilized community. This is largely due to a
* lack of sense of responsibility for the care of children, of
whom great numbers die during the first and second years. As the
cause of this condition is so fundamental, it cannot be hoped to cure
it except after many years of patient effort along educational lines.
The immediate task seems to be limited to the alleviating of conditions
which are intolerable in the extreme, and it must be met by medical
treatment and improvement in sanitation and general living condi-


tions. In addition to the moral education necessary, to obtain per-
manent results in the improvement of the physical condition of the
people, comprehensive measures toward the sanitation of the islands
are requisite, but as this work is one of years, it is essential that
immediate steps be taken to mitigate as much as possible the present
evils," he observed.
His survey of existing conditions revealed that most of the popula-
tion was dependent upon the government for medical attention.
This attention was provided by public physicians and by three
hospitals located in the three towns of the islands. In addition there
was a medical institution in St. Croix for the care of lepers, insane
patients, and people suffering from leg ulcers. All of these were
cared for in the same institution.
He characterized the hospitals as inefficient because they lacked
proper buildings, proper equipment, and trained personnel. The
hospital at St. Thomas was practically without means for proper
diagnosis, without medical and surgical equipment and personnel to
treat patients. No laboratory facilities existed and surgical facilities
were extremely limited.
No provision was made for the systematic education of native women
and men in nursing the sick and in laboratory and hospital techniques.
The hospital in Christiansted had been destroyed by hurricane in
October, 1916, and patients were temporarily being cared for in an
old church devoid of sanitary facilities, water supply, and other im-
peratively necessary facilities. The conditions at the Frederiksted
hospital he described by quoting a brief description given by the
doctor in charge at that institution: "My activities during the past
week have been confined exclusively to the hospital. I found it to
be the most dangerous place in the community, an ideal place for
distribution and propagation of the diseases of men. Typhoid,
dysentery, pellagra, filariasis, tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea
thrown together; food, drinks, feces, and urine mixed in all possible
ways. There are 6 attendants to nurse the 90 patients, to keep them
clean and dressed, to feed them and give the medication, to keep the
wards clean, and to do everything else. Besides, it is the attendants'
duty to treat all the ambulatory cases, eyes, ears, nose, throat, ulcers
and cuts, pains, and no pains, pellagra, and the 'big foot'."
He described sanitation as being imperatively in need of improve-
ment, especially with respect to the care and disposition of night soil
and the storage of water. The effect of primitive sanitary arrange-
ments on a population weakened by malnutrition was evidenced by
the excessive adult mortality rate and the fantastic infant mortality
rate. Approximately 1,300 wells and cisterns furnished such water
supply as was available. All of these served as breeding places for


mosquitoes since none of them were adequately mosquitoproofed.
Similarily, in the matter of night soil removal, unprotected pits and
privies, poorly constructed and in most cases not flyproof, added
to the public health hazards.
To meet these problems he proposed an increase in personnel of the
hospitals and its reorganization; the establishment of a means of
training nurses and of dispensing medicines in the -hospitals; the
rebuilding and repairing of the three hospitals then in use; and insti-
tution of an adequate and properly inspected night soil disposal
system. This program was intended to render the existing system as
sanitary and satisfactory as possible and proposed the undertaking,
as a government responsibility, the establishment of modern sewer
systems and water-supply systems.
The immediate problems of the medical department were com-
plicated at the time of the transfer because of the departure without
notice of the two physicians in charge of the hospitals at Frederiksted
and Christiansted and of medical work in the country districts. Their
many patients were left entirely uncared for. This condition was met
by the assignment of United States Navy medical officers, which
Governor Oliver contemplated would be a temporary measure to
provide for the emergency. It was his plan to secure the services of
civilian physicians to replace the Danish physicians who had departed.
Fortunately, his plan was not immediately carried out and, instead,
an adequate staff of Navy doctors and, subsequently, a staff of Navy
nurses was detailed to duty in the Virgin Islands. Their work was
Not until 1931, when the administration of the Virgin Islands was
transferred from the Navy Department to the Interior Department,
was Governor Oliver's plan for appointing civilian doctors carried out.
By that time the educational character of the work carried on by the
Navy medical staff had had significant effects. The government
medical authorities had the confidence of the population which sub-
mitted to inoculations, vaccinations, school medical examinations,
and reported with alacrity to the clinics conducted at each of the
three hospitals and in the country districts of St. Croix. The King's
Hill gendarmerie station in St. Croix was converted into an old people's
home, which in effect was operated as a medical institution for the care
of ulcer and elephantiasis cases and other cases of chronic disability.
A nurses training program was established and operated in conjunction
with the hospital service.
The excellent record of the Navy Department in the medical field
has been maintained under the civil administration. The table in
Appendix 8 reveals that the death rate has been levelled off at an annual
average figure in the last 10 years of 21.34 per thousand. This


decline and the increase in the birth rate revealed in the table in
Appendix 9 are the result of prenatal and child care as well as of
improved economic and social conditions.
This has been accomplished even though there has been a tendency
to decrease the funds available for the employment of physicians,
nurses, and technical personnel, partly provided in congressional
appropriations. This result is due in large part to the fact that relief
allocations have been made available to accomplish a great variety of
sanitation work. All mosquito-breeding swamps near concentrations
of population have been filled or drained with permanent drainage
works. Fourteen miles of street drains, a prolific source of mosquito
and fly breeding, have been installed or permanently repaired; and
8.7 miles of salt water lines have been laid which are available for
sanitary flushing. Of these, 6.7 miles have been laid since 1933.
A total of 8.9 miles of sewer line have been laid of which 5.4'miles have
been laid since 1933. All public wells have been sealed and protected
against surface pollution. All public buildings in the towns and
especially the public schools have been provided with sanitary flushing
Preliminary steps, as recommended by Governor Oliver, to make
provision for a public water supply for each of the towns of the Virgin
Islands were undertaken in 1924 when a series of water storage cis-
terns and catchment areas were built in Charlotte Amalie and reser-
voirs for the impoundment of water for Christiansted and Frederik-
sted were constructed. Numerous studies by experts since that time
have differed in their conclusions as to the possibility of providing
wholly adequate common water supplies for the towns. It is clear,
however, that any such plan would involve expenditure of funds
greatly beyond the means of the local governments, and substantial
even for the Federal Government. The water supply problem has in
part been met, for sanitary flushing and fire protection purposes, by
the installation of salt water lines. Existing public storage facili-
ties and rain water catchments have been maintained and recon-
structed and have, in some measure, been augmented by the construc-
tion of large cisterns at various public buildings. Rain water storage
has the merit of economy and has at least the advantage that it limits
the spread of water borne diseases which never reach epidemic propor-
tions in the Virgin Islands.
It also has its serious inconveniences. The cleanliness of the in-
habitants of the Virgin Islands in their clothing and persons is all the
more remarkable because of the absence of adequate and convenient
water supplies. Also, the lack of an adequate public water supply
has acted as a deterrent to certain business enterprises des ring to
establish themselves in the Virgin Islands. This is a matter of grave


importance. Until it is possible to secure funds to provide a satis-
factory public water supply it is requisite that householders and land-
lords make adequate provision for the storage of water falling on the
roofs of their structures so that the small public supply can be utilized
as a reserve supply for emergencies. Legislation to compel house
owners to provide adequate water storage facilities has been before
the Municipal Council of St. Thomas for some time but has not as yet
been acted upon.
A very important sanitation problem which has similarly been
neglected, chiefly because of the unwillingness of the local legislatures
to enact satisfactory laws, is that relating to the processing and dis-
tribution of perishable foodstuffs. Many unsuccessful efforts have
been made to regulate food processors and handlers in the interest
of the public health. The importance of preventive action in the
field of public health has not as yet been fully realized. It is hoped
that the construction of a modern abattoir and a market with ade-
quate cold storage facilities, both of which will be subjected to strict
sanitary regulation, will point the way to a. general improvement in
this condition.
A survey of the incidence of leprosy and of the venereal diseases
has been conducted in the Virgin Islands under the auspices of the
Leonard Wood Memorial Foundation with the assistance of W. P. A.
funds. This survey, which it is hoped will contribute something to
the removal of obscurities now surrounding the epidemiology of
leprosy, has already proved to be a highly beneficial undertaking. As
a result of it there has been a pronounced increase in the number of
persons reporting to the hospital clinics for antiluetic treatment.
Also a number of hitherto undiscovered cases of leprosy have been
found which are now under treatment or segregated.
It is essential that additional funds be made available from Federal
sources to carry on specialized work in the field of leprosy in the Virgin
Islands where the incidence of this dread disease is relatively high.
'Efforts to secure the assistance of the United States Public Health
Service on a basis similar to that given the Government of Hawaii,
have not up to the present time been successful. Instead, a request
has been made for a direct appropriation for the Government of the
Virgin Islands to make possible the employment of a leprosy specialist,
nurses, technologists and other necessary personnel as well as lab-
oratory equipment, drugs, and medical supplies. This appropriation
should be made at the earliest practicable date in order to permit the
continuation of the excellent work now being carried on by the Leonard
Wood Memorial Foundation. The local government is not able to
provide the necessary funds to give the lepers confined in the asylum
adequate professional care. In fact, it is not able to provide sufficient


funds properly to feed, clothe, and house the inmates. Additions to
the leper asylum buildings have been constructed through the use of
relief funds and reconstruction and repair work at this institution
continues to be given attention in all relief allocations.
On July 18, 1940, the President approved an Act-Public, No. 752,
76th Congress-relating to the admission to Saint Elizabeths Hospital
of persons resident or domiciled in the Virgin Islands of the United
States. This enactment is of great importance to the Virgin Islands
and especially to the insane patients who are now incarcerated in cell
blocks, without therapeutic facilities, without sanitary facilities except
those of the most primitive character, without adequate professional
care and with barely enough provision for their subsistence and
clothing. They are without hope of release except that accorded by
death. None of them has been released in any other way in the
memory of man. Arrangements are now being made for the transfer
of these patients to St. Elizabeths Hospital where they will receive the
best professional care and the benefit of the best therapeutic facilities
available in the country.
It is important to the local governments to be relieved of the burden
of maintaining an insane asylum. However inadequate the funds
made available for its maintenance, they nevertheless constituted a
serious drain on their slender financial resources. In a population of
25,000 persons with very meager natural resources it is impossible for
the local authorities to maintain adequately three hospitals, an insane
asylum, a leper asylum, and a home for chronic invalids. Such
savings as will be effected by the elimination of the insane asylum as
a local responsibility can serve to improve the maintenance and care
of other medical institutions.
The imperative necessity of replacing at least two hospital struc-
tures and of greatly improving the third continues to present a problem
for which there is no local solution. It would be of dubious value to
request Congressional appropriations to provide the funds for this
construction work if no additional means can be found by the local
governments to provide for the proper care of the persons to be sent
to these institutions. It is quite clear that a tuberculosis sanatorium
should be established in the Virgin Islands, but in addition to procuring
funds for the construction of such an institution there must also be
means available to pay annual maintenance costs for the care of
patients that might be committed to it. Undoubtedly, the most
effective solution for the problem of securing adequate medical insti-
tution structures and the additional funds which are imperatively
necessary to maintain them properly, and especially to provide
adequate care for their inmates, is that of securing the enactment of
legislation now before Congress, which would transfer to the Virgin


Islands Treasury all Internal Revenue taxes collected on Virgin
Island products exported to the United States. This procedure would
make available annually sufficient funds to provide for the proper
maintenance of patients in institutions and at the same time would,
over a period of years, permit the construction of well-planned,
well-equipped, and suitable buildings.
The social problem in the Virgin Islands is that of a community in
economic decline, with slender natural resources and with inadequate
governmental revenues. The economic decline is not a condition of
recent origin but has been characteristic for several generations.
Underemployment or unemployment, malnutrition, wretched housing,
and low wages have all contributed to the development of social
problems which are now chronic. These conditions have been ac-
centuated by the fact that there has been until very recently a con-
stant emigration of persons in the age group from 15 years to 45 years
which has tended to throw out of balance the proportions between
the age groups in the remaining population. Thus, between the
censuses of 1917 and 1930, there was a total loss of population in the
Virgin Islands of 4,039. This loss was made up of a decrease of
3,749 in the age group between 15 to 45 years, 287 in the age group
from birth to 15 years and 3 in the age group from 45 years upward.
A large proportion of the emigration was of able-bodied males in their
most productive earning period. The community has been left with a
disproportionately large number of old people, infants, and children.
In his annual report for 1917, Governor Oliver stated: "Among the
great majority of the population, social conditions are extremely bad.
With these there is no proper family life, and any permanent improve-
ment must begin in the home. *. Infantile mortality reaches
shocking proportions as the so-called family relations are constantly
changing and in too many cases the children are considered a burden
for which there is no fixed responsibility, and the home training, or
rather the entire lack of it, burdens the survivors of the new generation
with a handicap almost impossible to overcome. These conditions
encourage and disseminate disease to an alarming extent. The bad
social conditions are undoubtedly due to some extent to the miserable
living accommodations of many, which preclude the comforts and
even the necessities of life and render impossible the observance of
the dictates of ordinary decency." He emphasized the need for
making unused land available to the unemployed population to solve
some part of the unemployment problem and to attack undernourish-
ment and malnutrition at their source. His efforts were not im-


mediately successful but have finally borne fruit in the establishment
of the homestead program discussed in an earlier section of this report.
It is obvious that the great variety and complexity of the social
problem in the Virgin Islands cannot be relieved by any single means.
At the same time, it is clear that the opportunity for employment in
industrial occupations or self-employment in farming operations is
a basic necessity before much progress can be made in other direc-
tions. The relief program carried on since 1933 has greatly mitigated
the unemployment problem but it cannot be expected to continue
indefinitely. It is therefore wise to extend rural resettlement activi-
ties promptly to care for as great a number as possible. It is
essential also to encourage all industries, large or small, which hold
promise of success here, and to provide occupational training for
men and women to fit them for employment therein. The accom-
plishments of the handicraft cooperative in St. Thomas in furnishing
training and employment for women points the way for other indus-
trial activities for both sexes in all the islands.
Measures taken to improve sanitation and public health have
contributed substantially to the relief of persistent social evils.
They should be extended, with increasing emphasis upon measures
designed to advance the general health of the population through
improvements in housing, diet, child care, and family health concepts
in general.
A beginning has been made through the establishment of three
low-rent urban housing developments, through homestead housing,
and through the Virgin Islands Co. housing program, to meet at
least a portion of the housing problem. The Municipality of St.
Thomas and St. John has recently enacted an ordinance creating a
local housing authority, and the Municipality of St. Croix is now
considering similar legislation which may make a further contribu-
tion to its solution.
The local authorities in each municipality make provision in their
annual budgets for "pensions" which are distributed to 735 persons.
These doles average $2.32 each per month in St. Thomas and St.
John and $1.29 each per month in St. Croix. Even at these distress-
ingly low rates, the slender resources of the municipalities prevent
the grant of pensions to more than one-half of those who deserve
them. In addition, institutional care is provided at King's Hill
Poor Farm for 150 persons. The Social Security Act does not apply
to the Virgin Islands and, as a result, the excessive burden of provid-
ing for the aged, the infirm, the disabled and all other indigents,
falls entirely on the local governments which cannot make adequate
provisions for them. Some of the benefits of that Act should be
extended to the Virgin Islands so that the accumulation of problems


resulting from generations of neglect can be met with some degree
of adequacy.
The great variety of work done by the public-welfare department in
each municipality reveals clearly the complexity of the problems that
must be dealt with. These departments administer the distribution
of monthly pensions, they provide medicine and nursing service for
the poor and the sick who are not hospitalized, and administer the
institutionalization of those who cannot be provided for in their homes.
They likewise administer emergency and noncontinuing aid to persons,
whether employable or unemployable, through the grant of funds to
procure food and clothing or to meet rental payments; by making
grants of food, clothing, mattresses, sheets, etc., available through
Federal emergency relief sources; and, finally, by providing free graves
for deceased indigents. In addition, they act as employment agen-
cies, administering employment activities in connection with Federal
and emergency relief projects, C. C. C. projects, and, on occasion,
finding employment for workers in private industry. They conduct
recreational activities and are active in promoting local Community
Chest and other charitable undertakings. They also administer the
rental of Federal low-rent housing projects and exercise general
supervision over their conduct.
For many years, all of the agencies concerned with the problem of
juvenile delinquency have urged the necessity of providing an insti-
tution for the social rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. The number
of offenders is increasing but as yet no means has been found of
providing correctional care for them. The municipal authorities are
convinced of the necessity of establishing a correction institution, but
have not been able to find the funds to do so. Coupled with this
there would be required an enlightened system of parole of juvenile
delinquents under supervision of trained probation officers. Eventu-
ally, an effective long-range program should be developed to meet this
challenge of increasing juvenile delinquency and other related problems.
Of prime importance would be extension to the widest extent possible
of the nursery school program, provision of adequate recreational
facilities and of community and neighborhood centers under organized
direction, and of other positive social influences for youth and their
parents. Needed also are passage and enforcement of legislation
imposing suitable controls upon influences adversely affecting youth
The C. C. C. camps in each municipality have continued to provide
work opportunities, training and discipline for 300 youths. These
camps are especially valuable in the Virgin Islands where loose family


ties are often accompanied by the complete absence of parental disci-
pline. The regular living habits, cleanliness, medical and dental care,
the training in trades, and the well-balanced diet at the C. C. C. camps
have done much to orient the youths who pass through them to make
them sounder, healthier, and more self-reliant citizens of the com-
munity. Statistics for one enrollment period reveal that they are
undoubtedly heavier, their weight having increased an average of 14
pounds. Many boys, former enrollees, have found employment in
trades which they learned while in camp. Meanwhile, during their
periods of enrollment, they have contributed to the support of their
relatives and have been engaged in the prosecution of many useful
public projects. Among other important projects, the C. C. C. has
undertaken the development of a number of recreational facilities,
hitherto almost nonexistent. Because of the importance of organized
play and of recreation in the development of well-rounded individuals,
this program is of special importance in a community in which coopera-
tive activities by small or large groups are exceptional.
The 3 inhabited islands and the 50 uninhabited cays, rocks, and
islands of the Virgin Islands are divided into 2 municipalities, the
Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John and the Municipality of St.
Croix. These governmental units are not municipalities in the Ameri-
cans sense but constitute miniature states, almost completely inde-
pendent of each other, bound together by a common executive and,
since 1936, by a common legislature which meets briefly once a year
and which has not as yet enacted any legislation of importance.
The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of these municipal
governments operate equally in the towns, which have no separate
political organization, and in the rural areas. The Governor, ap-
pointed by the President, is the executive officer of each of the munic-
ipal governments as well as of the insular possession.
The political organization of the islands is a heritage of the system
developed by the Danes as modified by the Organic Act enacted by
Congress in 1936. Under the Danes, executive control responding
immediately to direction from the mother country, was tempered
only slightly by the limited legislative powers given local "colonial
councils," the chosen or appointed representatives of a minuscule,
propertied oligarchy in each municipality. The executive partici-
pated in the meetings of the legislatures and exercised direct control
over the judiciary. Danish laws were paramount but the local legis-
lative authorities had power to enact annual budgets and local laws
not in contravention to Danish laws or on matters not covered by


those laws. Before enacting tax laws or other important laws dealing
specifically with the islands, it was customary for the mother country
to give the local legislatures an opportunity to express their views
on these measures. The administration of the various departments
of the local governments was complicated by the activities of com-
missions composed partly of members of the legislature and partly
of executive appointees. These commissions, when they functioned,
exercised the power of visitation and investigation and sometimes
influenced the administration of government departments when their
membership was vigorous and determined.
The franchise was vested in "every man of unblemished character"
who was born in the islands or had resided there for five years, who
owned property in the islands with an annual rental value of $60
(St. Croix) or $140 (St. Thomas) or who had a clear annual income
of $300.
These qualifications excluded all but a handful of the population
both because of the difficulty of acquiring land and because of low
wage rates. Thus, in 1916, a total of only 701 voters were registered
in a population of 26,051. In the Act of Congress of March 3, 1917,
creating a temporary government for the Virgin Islands the existing
electoral laws and the laws regulating the franchise were specifically
continued in force and effect.
The treaty of cession left the citizenship status of Virgin Islanders in
doubt. Subsequent administrative rulings held that they were not
made citizens of the United States by the treaty, but that they were
instead inhabitants of the Virgin Islands entitled to the protection of
the United States. This situation was partly rectified in 1927 when
Congress enacted a law declaring that natives of the Virgin Islands
who resided there on January 17, 1917, and on February 25, 1927,
were citizens of the United States. This law has subsequently been
amended to include natives who on June 28, 1932, resided anywhere
under American jurisdiction regardless of their place of residence on
January 17, 1917.
Because of the intimate economic and social relations between the
British Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands of the United States,
and because of the failure of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturali-
zation to take over jurisdiction of the enforcement of United States
immigration laws in the Virgin Islands until 1938, many difficult
citizenship cases have arisen, to solve which additional legislation is
required. A number of natives of the Virgin Islands who were not
in the Virgin Islands in 1917 or 1927, or in 1932, and who are now in
foreign countries are persons without a country. There is no way
under the law for them to return to the place of their nativity or to
acquire American citizenship. Many persons who have resided in the


Virgin Islands since their infancy have lately discovered that they are
aliens. They cannot become naturalized because there is no record
of their legal entry into the Virgin Islands which in many cases took
place prior to the transfer of the islands to American sovereignty.
Others who entered the islands before the Bureau of Immigration and
Naturalization took over the enforcement of immigration laws in the
Virgin Islands are also without evidence of their legal entry. A bill,
S. 3582, "relating to the status of certain natives and inhabitants of the
Virgin Islands," if enacted, will permit a solution of many long-stand-
ing problems. It has passed the Senate but has not as yet passed
the House.
After many years of effort some of the anomalies of the political
organization carried over from the Danish regime were removed by
the enactment by Congress in 1936 of an Organic Act for the Virgin
Islands. This law continued in effect as much as the framework of
the local government as was compatible with American political con-
cepts, but it clearly defined and separated executive, legislative, and
judicial functions. It accorded to the inhabitants of the islands the
substantive and procedural rights which are guaranteed on the main-
land by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. In spite of opposition
by delegates sent to Washington by the existing legislative bodies, it
established universal suffrage. It created a legislative assembly for
the Virgin Islands made up of the membership of the two municipal
councils which is required to meet at least once each year. This
assembly and the municipal councils within their respective jurisdic-
tions were given wide, almost plenary powers. They may not, of
course, enact legislation contrary to the Constitution or applicable
Federal statutes. An important addition to the powers of the munic-
ipal councils was that making appointments to municipal positions
subject to their confirmation. The veto power of the executive was
made suspensive rather than absolute. All members of the local
legislatures are now elected, the practice of executive appointment of
part of the membership having been abolished by the Organic Act.
That Act has in general conferred a large degree of local autonomy on
the inhabitants of the Virgin Islands and has introduced the basic
concepts of democratic government into the framework of local politi-
cal organization.
Opposition to the granting of greater autonomy and to the democrat,
tization of the local government expressed by former administrations
was based on the assumption that the rank and file of the inhabitants
were not yet ready to take part in the management of their political
affairs. Opposition to the democratization of the local government
expressed by the politically entrenched class in the islands was avowed
to be based on the same assumption. This assumption has perhaps


as much validity in the Virgin Islands as it has in some of the large
cities of the mainland. Denial of the right of such participation,
however, at the same time precluded the possibility of the population
learning how to take an intelligent part in their affairs.
Actually, the formal legal changes effected by the Organic Act have
not greatly altered local customs and practices which tend to change
slowly. Thus, although universal suffrage became effective in 1938,
there has been an increase in the number of registered voters of only
2,225 between 1937 and 1938, from 1,501 to 3,726. Election cam-
paigns have been more prolonged but have been carried on at approx-
imately the same level of elevation. Some development of public
opinion has become evident, but elections have been orderly and their
outcome has been accepted without dispute by all classes.
The character of the membership of the legislatures has gradually
changed, with younger men replacing those who came to maturity
under the Danish regime. The new membership, even including the
mainland adventurers who have won temporary admission into the
legislatures, is in general more responsive to public opinion, but public
opinion is slow in formation and awkward in expression. Political
organizations have only recently come into being and do not yet have
adequate sources of information on public questions nor adequate
organs for discussion of these questions. One of them, however, has
shown extraordinary and sustained energy, conducting campaigns,
forums, and issuing a mimeographed weekly newspaper, all of which
have contributed notably to the development of opinion on public
questions. It has scored several victories by creating public opinion
to which the legislature perforce has bowed. The local newspapers
are practically valueless in the formation of public opinion because of
their timidity and because of the unwillingness of their managers to
gather more than a smattering of information on public issues.
As responsibility has been fixed on the legislature for conditions
hitherto vaguely blamed on "the government" (in some cases by the
members of the legislature themselves), there has been a corresponding
growth of willingness on the part of the membership to enact laws for
their improvement. Technical and complicated bills are often left to
gather dust in committee pigeonholes and social legislation is sometimes
deemed esoteric. A workman's compensation law, a law to create a
pension system for government employees, improved sanitation laws
and many other laws are necessary, but public opinion has not yet
developed sufficiently to compel action by the legislatures. The table
in Appendix 15 lists many needed items of legislation which were called
for at the latest meeting of the legislative assembly but which were not


The statutory separation of the powers of government effected by
the Organic Act has removed several sources of conflict and confusion.
There is yet no full understanding of this principle on the part of the
local legislatures which tend to create administrative agencies partly
elected by the legislature and partly appointed by the executive or
others on which members of the legislature themselves sit. This is
perhaps understandable because the executive and his staff are ap-
pointed in Washington, not elected or appointed locally. It has, how-
ever, been necessary to veto very few measures enacted locally because
of their conflict with the Organic Act on this point. It is noteworthy,
also, that the executive's suspensive veto, sparingly used, has been
overridden only once since the passage of this Act in 1936.
Prior to the adoption of universal suffrage and the establishment of
a wholly elected legislature, it was the theory that the appointed mem-
bers of the legislature were to speak for the unrepresented majority of
the population. The unrepresentative character of the legislatures
forced the executive into the position of attempting to speak for that
majority. More often than not the executive stood alone against the
entire legislature, since appointed members were necessarily appointed
from among the propertied electors. But often the need for legisla-
tion made compromise necessary. The compromise frequently gave
second place to the interests of the majority. As the exercise of
suffrage becomes more widespread and the discrimination of the
electorate more precise, the position of the executive will necessarily
be reversed.
The small size of the local population and its capacity for education
make it probable that with acquaintance and practice of representa-
tive democratic processes, it will quickly acquire a facility in self-
government. This, unfortunately, will not achieve the millennium
since most important decisions about the Virgin Islands are made in
There, the relative unimportance of the islands is a serious handicap.
The islanders have no vote in national elections, and no representation
in Congress. They are without any formal liaison with Congress and
are administered ad hoc by successive administrations. Although
they have been treated with exceptional generosity by Congress and
by administrative agencies when they have been able to gain attention,
they are nevertheless that sport of political morphology, the
colonial possession of a representative democracy.
Their problems are difficult and obscure, requiring patience and
study for any sound solution. The islands are important for national
defense purposes. They are a direct responsibility of the Federal


Government, unlike municipalities or counties on the mainland. Their
proximity to the possessions of foreign nations leads to many com-
parisons between the capacity of the United States and of these foreign
nations to administer colonies. They deserve sufficient thought to
work out sound policies for their administration. These policies should
include the increase of local autonomy wherever and whenever pos-
sible. The extension of democratization, the removal of statutory
discrimination against island industry where it exists, the continua-
tion of such portions of the economic rehabilitation program as have
proved to be effective and practical, the granting of benefits to the
Virgin Islands similar to those accorded other possessions, and the
establishment of procedures similar to those in effect in the foreign
service for the recruitment and control of colonial service officers to
administer them should be established as basic and lasting policies
for the islands.
The fiscal history of the Virgin Islands is made up of a series of
unbalanced budgets punctuated by periodic crises and reorganizations
in which accumulated debts owing to the mother country were written
off the books and a new distribution of financial responsibility between
the central government and the local governments was worked out.
This situation was the result of a number of factors including the
economic feebleness of island industry, the political entrenchment of
propertied interests which resisted taxation on real property and which
chose excise and consumption taxes as a lesser evil, the need for pro-
viding for all of the government services and institutions which else-
where are provided for by municipal, county, and state governments,
and their duplication in two widely separated municipalities.
This record of insolvency was not interrupted by the transfer of
sovereignty over the islands. The condition has, however, been met
directly by Congress by the annual appropriation of funds for the
various purposes of the Government of the Virgin Islands. These
include provision for the insular central administration staff which is
made up of Federal officers, for the Agricultural Station and Vocational
School, for direct contributions to meet anticipated deficits in the
municipal budgets, and, on occasion, for special projects. The table
in Appendix 11 sets forth the amounts which have been appropriated
for each of these purposes since 1933. During this period large allo-
cations of relief funds were made in addition to appropriated funds,
making possible a reduction in regular annual appropriations from
$412,000 in 1933 to $230,250 in 1940. The table in Appendix 12


lists the total of direct Federal appropriations for the Government of
the Virgin Islands for each year since the transfer of sovereignty.
It is to be noted that the annual average of direct appropriations of
$291,044 during the 14 years of Navy Department administration does
not include the salaries of doctors, nurses, technical medical personnel,
engineers, and other Navy Department personnel assigned to duty in
the Virgin Islands. Their compensation, added to the annual average
expenditure of $291,044 indicated above, would raise that average
approximately to the figure of $353,228, the average annual direct
appropriation for the Virgin Islands during the last 9 years.
The table in Appendix 13 sets forth the revenues collected by the
two local governments and their total expenditures as well as the
amounts of the annual Federal contributions to the local governments
in the period from 1921 to date. Federal deficit contributions have
declined rapidly in recent years. Local revenues have, during the
same period increased considerably, much more, in fact, than the
decrease in Federal contributions. Yet the present fiscal situation
is unsatisfactory-in St. Croix, critical. This is the result of several
factors. Improved standards of living in the community have
necessitated the payment of higher salaries and wages to municipal
employees. Thus, in 1917 the 6 nurses employed in the hospital at
Frederiksted were reported to be receiving $7 per month without
subsistence or quarters. At the present time 11 nurses there are paid
salaries ranging from $25 to $67 per month with subsistence, and
8 pupil nurses and 17 other attendants assist in the conduct of the
hospital. Increased demands on the government have led to the
establishment of many additional services such as libraries, welfare
offices, recreational facilities, sanitation services, and to the great
expansion of existing services. The number of teachers has increased
from 91 in 1921 to 130 in 1940. School nurses and district nurses
have been added to a greatly augmented number of nurses and medi-
cal attendants in hospitals and medical institutions. Many other
employees have been added to the municipal rolls. That they do not
receive high or even adequate compensation is made clear by the
fact that in St. Croix of 262 municipal employees including doctors,
nurses, teachers, librarians, clerks, judges, and engineers, 197 receive
$600 or less per annum, 78 receive $300 per annum or less, and only 7 of
all municipal employees receive $1,800 or more. At the same time it
is clear that for effective administration of the services now provided
by the local governments, further additions to departmental staffs
are essential.


The following table reveals the distribution in 1940 of municipal
expenditures between the major activities of government:

St. Thomas Cr
and St. John t ro
Percent Percent
Health. .............---------------------------------------------... --- 22 24
Education -._--.._.. .------------ ------.. 21% 21%
Public Works and Fire ...-- ----------------------------- 25 14
Police and Prison ---------------------------------------- 9 11
Poor Relief and Pensions.------------------- ----------------------------- 6 6

Increased local revenues in recent years are the result of improved
economic conditions (which, in turn, are largely the result of Federal
relief expenditures) and of revision, improvement, and extension of
the local tax system. Since the transfer of sovereignty there has been
a steady tendency toward the increase of direct taxes and the decline
of indirect taxes. The United States income tax law was made appli-
cable to the Virgin Islands in 1921, but all collections are deposited in
the local treasuries. This tax, yielding $99,236 in 1940, has become
the largest single source of revenue in the Municipality of St. Thomas
and St. John where, however, 3 of 121 taxpayers paid 74 percent of
the total collections. In St. Croix, with a population of 12,902 (1,000
more than St. Thomas), there were 85 income taxpayers who paid only
$11,428 in 1940. Under the terms of the Organic Act, the customs
duties in St. Croix were reduced to the level of those in effect in St.
Thomas, thus equalizing import duties in the 2 municipalities and
removing a discrimination against consumers in St. Croix. By Act of
Congress in 1936 a uniform real property tax based on assessed valua-
tion at a rate of 1.25 percent was made mandatory in the Virgin
Islands. Following this enactment, a personal property tax and a
real property tax based on the use of land rather than its value were
repealed in St. Thomas. Similarly, an antiquated and unsound proper-
ty tax law which taxed sugar land 300 percent higher when it was in
cultivation than when it was not, and a series of taxes on personal
property were repealed in St. Croix. A gasoline tax at the rate of 4
cents per gallon has now been imposed in each municipality. Excise
taxes on liquor and tobacco at a relatively low rate have been imposed
in St. Croix, but no similar tax is levied in St. Thomas. There,
a so-called trade tax operates as an adjunct of the import duty.
Federal excise taxes and inheritance taxes do not apply in the Virgin


Taxation is relatively light in comparison with mainland rates as is
revealed in the following table of revenues and expenditures on a per
capital basis:

Population Revenues Per capital EX Pendi-

St. Thomas and St. John .------------. 11,967 $232, 848 $19. 43 $277, 000 $23.10
St. Croix ..--------- ----- ----------- 12,902 176,013 13.64 270,239 20.95

These figures include all taxes levied on the inhabitants of the
islands and correspond to Federal, state, county, and municipal tax
payments in the United States. There are nevertheless few addi-
tional tax sources in the island especially in St. Croix because of the
weakness of local economy. In St. Croix where drought has for 3
years destroyed crops and seriously reduced island revenues, munici-
pal services have been maintained as far as possible by public bor-
rowing. The limit of borrowing capacity has now been reached, and
even the inadequate services of the municipality will have to be cur-
tailed unless relief is promptly forthcoming.
The table in Appendix 14 lists all emergency relief allocations
made to the Government of the Virgin Islands including C. W. A.,
F. E. R. A., W. P. A., P. W. A., Federal and non-Federal allotments,
but not including allotments from those agencies made for the Virgin
Islands Co. The character of the work undertaken under these allot-
ments is indicated in later years' by project descriptions. In addi-
tion to meeting the grave social problems caused by widespread unem-
ployment and hopeless destitution, these projects have contributed
substantially to the economic and social rehabilitation of the islands.
Important and permanent sanitation works have been undertaken.
The most important roads in the islands have been hard-surfaced and
many additional miles have been improved. The principal streets in
all towns and many other streets have been surfaced. New school
buildings have been constructed and old ones repaired or recon-
structed. Medical institution buildings have been repaired and other
public buildings have been reconstructed and repaired. Educational
activities have been expanded and a hopeful beginning in permanent
rural rehabilitation has been made. In general, the social and
economic fabric of the community has been immeasurably strengthened
by the many-sided programs carried on under these relief allocations.
These gains, however, are not sufficient to remove the accumula-
tion of social ills in the Virgin Islands and to assure a prosperous
industry and fiscal self-sufficiency for the local governments. Some
permanent provision must be made to permit continuation of the
progress that has been made. The device of making annual appro-


priations of Federal funds to meet anticipated deficits in the munici-
pal treasuries is as unsatisfactory as it is unique. This dole has the
usual unfortunate effects on the donor as well as on the recipient.
The former acquits himself of responsibility as does a father, preoc-
cupied in acquiring wealth, when paying the bills of a spendthrift
son. The latter relies on the dole and quarrels because it is not
The people of the Virgin Islands are citizens of the United States.
They should be assisted in meeting their specific problems as are citi-
zens elsewhere. The Farm Security Administration and the Soil Con-
servation Service have recently extended their programs to the Virgin
Islands. They may be expected to make an important contribution
to the solution of fundamental problems of long standing in the Virgin
Islands. They operate directly in meeting specific problems and are
better qualified to deal with them than are agencies whose personnel
is not trained or experienced in those fields. The Quarantine and
Inspection Services of the Department of Agriculture should be ex-
tended to the islands. That Department should take over the direc-
tion and control of the agricultural station which is now an agency
of the Government of the Virgin Islands. Vocational grants-in-aid
are as necessary in these islands as they are in other territories and
possessions. So are grants-in-aid for road construction. The bene-
fits of the Social Security Act are more urgently needed in the islands
than in many communities on the mainland. The laborer is more in
need of the protection of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of the
National Labor Relations Act than are laborers on the continent
where labor organization is highly developed. Farmers who raise
sugar in the Virgin Islands are more urgently in need of benefit pay-
ments which are denied them under the Sugar Act of 1937 than are
sugar growers anywhere else under the American flag. They have
less ability to pay a crushing export tax on their product than do
any others. Public buildings in the Virgin Islands owned by the Fed-
eral Government require the attention of the Public Buildings Admin-
istration as much as do public buildings elsewhere.
The youth of the islands and the islands themselves have profited
greatly by the activities of the C. C. C. They also need the aid and
direction furnished by the National Youth Administration. It is
more desirable to have the agencies mentioned and others with special-
ized functions carry on their activities in the Virgin Islands than it is
to have deficit contributions doled out to the municipalities which
merely permit them to meet current obligations while maintaining
services at starvation levels.
In addition, the Federal Government should make available to the
Virgin Islands on the same basis as it has for many years to Puerto


Rico and the Philippine Islands internal revenue taxes collected in
the United States on insular products shipped to the mainland. This
action would permit the local governments to meet their annual
budgetary obligations, and to make sorely needed improvements in
health, hospitalization, and institutional care, education, sanitation,
police protection, and in all other services of the municipal govern-
During the Danish regime, government employees in the Virgin
Islands were divided into state employees and municipal employees.
This division persists. At present it is chiefly a fiscal device under
which a number of officers and employees of the Government of the
Virgin Islands are paid by the Federal Government and others are
paid by the municipal governments. The former are appointed by
the Secretary of the Interior or the President, the latter by the Gover-
nor with the advice and consent of the respective municipal councils.
Functionally and legally there is no clear and logical division. The
Governor is the chief executive of each of the municipalities as well as
of the insular possession. The heads of the municipal departments
are, in most cases, appointed and paid from Washington, but their
subordinates are appointed and paid locally. Thus, the superintend-
ents of education in each municipality are appointed by the Secretary
of the Interior and paid from Federal funds, but teachers, clerks,
messengers, and janitors in the departments of education are all
municipal appointees paid from municipal funds. Some municipal
officers are appointed and paid from Washington, some locally. The
commissioner of finance and all of his staff and office force are appointed
and paid from Washington. He administers not only Federal ap-
propriations for the Virgin Islands but all expenditures under both
municipal budgets.
This seemingly complicated arrangement is reflected in section 2
of the Organic Act which declares that in it "the phrase 'the Govern-
ment of the Virgin Islands' shall include, in addition to the govern-
ing authority of the insular possession, the governing authority of the
two municipalities, unless the context shall indicate a different in-
tention." This procedure has operated without appreciable friction.
It has the effect, however, of removing from local political pressure
and control, if not from criticism, all important heads of departments
but two. When municipal finances improve there will undoubtedly
be demand for their transfer from the Federal budget to the local
budgets in order to make their appointment subject to confirmation
by the local legislators. When the local governments take financial


responsibility for these officers, it will be entirely appropriate for them
Sto exercise such control.
Although the population of the islands is small, their administra-
tion involves most of the complexities of modern civilization. In
some departments additional personnel is a definite need. There are,
for instance, 11 doctors, all in the public service, who practice state
medicine in all of its phases and care for a population of 25,000.
There are no private doctors in active practice. Three dentists, 2
of them government employees, are available to furnish dental care for
the entire population. Some government offices are full of titles and
duties. The superintendent of public works of the Municipality of
St. Thomas and St. John is also the brandmajor (fire chief); the
manager of the municipal telephone system; the public surveyor;
the supervisor of parks, cemeteries, public properties, and public
buildings; the supervisor of the street cleaning and garbage removal
service; the supervisor of highway and street construction; the super-
vior of the night soil removal service; the building and plumbing
inspector; and the inspector of motor vehicles. He also is keeper of
the town clock. Many of these functions are performed in his capac-
ity as project manager for W. P. A. and P. W. A. projects. He and
his small staff prepare all engineering plans for the construction of
bridges, wharves, highways, sewers, water-supply lines, and all
municipal buildings from slaughterhouse to legislative chamber.
After the preparation of plans, he and his staff must execute them.
Finally, they must also maintain the structures and services when
they have been constructed.
Staff members in many cases perform a variety of functions in the
general field of their activities which elsewhere are performed by
specialists. This necessarily must leave something to be desired in
effectiveness in highly specialized fields. As an instance, in the
field of health and sanitation, there is no specialist in leprosy, psychi-
atry, optometry, and in public health. General medical practitioners
and surgeons must treat all of the medical ills of man, woman, and
child. Because of the special difficulty of the leprosy problem, it is
essential that an experienced leprologist be employed. A request for
funds for this purpose is now under consideration by Congress.
The homestead program now administered as an activity of the
Government of the Virgin Islands is a rural resettlement program.
It should be administered by the Farm Security Administration
which elsewhere takes responsibility for similar activities. A bill,
H. J. Res. 586, now before Congress, would, if enacted, transfer
supervision of this program to the Farm Security Administration.
The agricultural experiment station should likewise be transferred to
the Department of Agriculture. Plant and animal quarantine


inspection services now conducted as best they can be under local
auspices should be carried on by that same department. Officers of
the Government of the.Virgin Islands who are part-time immigration
inspectors, supervisors, and district directors, should be relieved of
these increasingly onerous duties. In the interests of economy in
administration, and because of their familiarity with local conditions,
they have administered W. P. A. and P. W. A. relief allocations.
So long as there is a relief program they should continue to do so.
The administration of such a program in addition to the conduct of
the local governments and of the insular government is, however, a
sufficient assignment for the available staff.
With only slight exceptions, all municipal positions are filled by
natives. With few exceptions, Virgin Islanders have been appointed
to insular government positions. Although mainlanders hold tech-
nical and professional posts in the medical service and on the
agricultural station staff, and others are heads of various depart-
ments, Virgin Islanders hold some of the most important offices of
the Government of the Virgin Islands. The most outstanding of
these is the commissioner of finance who has for long periods served
as acting government secretary, and on several occasions as acting
Governor. With only the academic training which could be secured
locally, he has by persistent application, tireless energy, and unself-
ish devotion, risen through the lower grades of government service
to become that rare avis, an indispensable administrative officer.
The natives employed in the insular service are in general capable,
alert, and efficient. They compare favorably with Federal employees
on the mainland in similar grades. They do not, however, have civil
service standing nor are they eligible for benefits under the Federal
Retirement Act. The abilities and performance of the existing per-
sonnel warrant prompt action covering it into the Federal civil
service. The recruitment of new personnel should be by competitive
examination under civil service regulations.
The Federal Classification Act does not extend to the Virgin Islands
with the result that native employees in the lower grades of the service
receive lower salaries than are paid on the mainland for comparable
grades. This disparity is the basis of justifiable complaint. It
should be removed without delay in the interest of equal treatment
and sound administration.
The relationship of the local administration to the central govern-
ment is necessarily close and all-important. The solution of most of
the islands' governmental problems depends on assistance from
Washington in the form of congressional legislation and appropria-
tions or of action by administrative agencies in making their services
and facilities available in the Virgin Islands. It has been necessary,


as a consequence, for the Governor and important members of his
staff to absent themselves from the islands frequently and sometimes
for prolonged periods to the detriment of local administrative activi-
ties. There is need for a systematic arrangement under which certain
of the officers of the Government of the Virgin Islands who are familiar
with all phases of local activity would make periodic visits of fixed
duration to Washington to be available for consultation with legisla-
tive and administrative agencies there and to further the business of
the islands. Such an arrangement would necessitate the appointment
of an additional executive officer in the Virgin Islands to assist in
carrying on local administrative activities in place of the absent
The Division of Territories and Island Possessions which is responsi-
ble for territorial matters can contribute substantially to the coordina-
tion of policy with respect to the possessions and, without attempting
to limit desirable variations in policy and practice, it can make the
results of experience in each of them available to all the others.
1. Repeal of export tax of $6 per ton now levied on raw sugar.
2. Enactment of legislation to transfer to the treasury of the Virgin
Islands excise taxes collected on products of the Virgin Islands when
shipped to the United States.
3. Establishment of a sugar board with full power to regulate the
price paid at mills for sugar cane, etc.
4. Federal aid to assist in construction of rural housing.
5. Enactment of legislation to transfer homesteads to the Farm
Security Administration.
6. Reorganization of the Virgin Islands Co. and subdivision among
homesteaders of government-owned land now used for company
7. Maritime Commission to require foreign and American cruise
ships operating out of New York and touching at the islands to sell
tickets with stop-over privileges or one-way tickets to the islands.
8. Erection of a dock for ocean-going vessels-a basic necessity for
the development of adequate transportation facilities for St. Croix.
9. Extension to the Virgin Islands of those portions of the United
States navigation laws intended to insure the safety of passengers and
property at sea.
10. Authorized harbor improvements work at St. Thomas to be
undertaken at earliest practicable date.
11. Reestablishment of privilege to returning United States travel-
ers to bring with them, under the $100 exemption clause, foreign
liquors purchased in the Virgin Islands.


12. Enactment of legislation to provide for the establishment of
St. John as a national recreation area.
13. Enactment of legislation to encourage travel in the United
States for the promotion of tourist travel to possessions.
14. Assignment of Federal quarantine officer to enforce United
States quarantine regulations.
15. Assignment of a meat inspection officer by the Department of
16. Extension to the Virgin Islands of vocational education grant-
in-aid Acts.
17. Necessity of replacing at least two hospital structures and of
greatly improving the third.
18. Extension of rural resettlement activities.
19. Extension of some of the benefits of the Social Security Act to
the Virgin Islands.
20. Establishment of an institution for the social rehabilitation of
juvenile offenders.
21. Extension of democratization and of local autonomy.
22. Removal of statutory discrimination against island industry.
23. Continuation of such portions of the economic rehabilitation
program as have proved to be effective and practicable.
24. Granting of benefits to the Virgin Islands similar to those
extended other possessions.
25. Establishment of procedure similar to that in effect in the
Foreign Service for the recruitment and control of colonial service
26. Transfer of administration of agricultural experiment station
to the Department of Agriculture.
27. Officers of the Government of the Virgin Islands to be relieved
of the duty of enforcing immigration laws.
28. The officers and employees of the Government of the Virgin
Islands to be covered into the Federal civil service, and the recruitment
of new personnel to be by competitive examination under Civil Service
29. The Federal Classification Act to be made applicable to the
Virgin Islands.
30. A systematic arrangement to be made under which certain
officers of the Government of the Virgin Islands who are familiar
with all phases of local activities would make periodic visits of fixed
duration in Washington to be available for consultation with legis-
lative and administrative agencies.
Respectfully submitted,
Governor of the Virgin Islands.



Imports and exports of the Virgin Islands of the United States

Imports Exports Total trade

Fiscal year ending June 30:
1920 .. $2, 923, 660 $3, 293, 131 $6, 216, 791
1921 .-- - - - - -....----- 4,529,685 2,275,264 6,804,949
1 9 2 2 . . .. . . . .. 2 2 7 7 6 6 2 8 7 0 4 0 5 3 1 4 8 0 6 7
1923 -- 1, 670, 529 888,896 2, 559, 425
1924 ................ .-.. 2, 070, 432 400, 152 2, 470, 584
1925 -... .............. 1,887,462 689,691 2,577,153
1926 2,206,671 1,199,385 3,406,056
1927 2,326,018 830,463 3,156,481
1928 -- -- 2,917,165 1,241,119 4,158,284
1929 -. ------ : --------- 2,771,927 999, 080 3,771,007
10-year average -2, 558, 121 1,268, 759 3, 826, 880
1930 2, 312, 609 795, 229 3,107,838
1931 -.. ............. 1,796,420 656,532 2,452,952
1932 -. .-... 1,416,748 459,546 1,876,294
1932, July-December---- 642, 194 839, 242 1,481, 436
Calendar year ending Dec. 31:
1933 1,350,466 596,491 1,946,957
1934 2,073, 314 685,962 2, 759,276
1935 -- 2,503,027 553,842 3,056,869
1936 --- -. -3, 599,617 793,651 4,393,268
1937 .- ----- 4,148, 93 1,319,895 5,468,488
1938 .. 3,346,563 1,541,472 4,888,035
1939--------- --------------- ----- 3,456,895 1,664, 928 5,121,823
10-year average-------------- 2, 537,757 943,504 3,481,261


Rum exports-Virgin Islands

Calendar year: Proofgallons Calendar year: Proof gallons
1934 --------_ 19,814 1937 __-------- 163,723
1935---------- 64,844 1938------------------- 127, 322
1936.-- ------ 96,555 1939------------------- 181,204


Appropriations made to the Virgin Islands Co. and Federal Project No. 16
National Industrial Recovery, Interior, Virgin Islands, 1933-35 -------------- $1,000,000.00
Do---------------------- 1,000.000,00
Public Works Administration, Allotment to Interior, Division of Territories and Island
Poss., (Virgin Islands), 1935-39 ---------.......------------- 67,904.50
Do ------------------- 478, 500.00
Federal -,ri.1r I,. lief Corporation ------------------------- 150,000.00
Federal F... i. ,. Relief Administration ----..-..--------------------- 200,000.00
Emergency relief, Interior, Virgin Islands, Rural Rehabilitation 1935-37---------------- 170,000.00
Emergency relief, Agriculture, Farm Security Administration, Rural Rehabilitation, 1938_ 24, 290.00
Workingfund, Interior, Virgin Islands, Rural Rehabilitation (Emergency Relief Agriculture),
1939 -------------- --235, 710. 00
Emergency relief, Interior, Virgin Islands, Federal Non-Construction Project (transferred
from Work Projects Administration) 1940-------------------------------- 48,000.00
Emergency relief, Interior, Virgin Islands, Federal Non-Construction Project (transfer from
Work Projects Administration) 1941 . .. .....----------------------- 35, 000. 00
Total Virgin Islands Co. and Federal Project No. 16 appropriations ..-- .--- .------- 3,409, 404.50



Comparative profit and loss statement for the 5 years ending June 30, 1939, and
analysis of earned surplus account

Gross sales and miscellaneous 1937 1938 199 or earned
income 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 or earned
income surplus

Sugar -----.---- ---------- -- $101,820.16 $195, 335.60 $75,607. 01 $372,762.77
Rum.... $9954.81 $8,609.50 92,984.71 106,351.13 88,436.66 297,336.81
Special distillate .--- ------ ------ ---- 1,532.58 11,435.74 14,364.71 27,333.03
Tomatoes ------ 170.79 2, 624. 12 4,979.65 ---- 7, 774. 56
Other ---. ....-------- 1,797.60 42,386.15 20,372.30 31,375.70 23,775.43 119,707.18

Total -----------2,923.20 53,619.77 221,689.40 344,498.17 202,183.81 824,914.35
Expenses before taxes ..--------- 26,135.10 64,990.41 190,833.99 395,286. 79 196,074.87 873,321.16

Net profit or loss before taxes- -23, 211.90 -11,370.64 30, 855.41 -50,788.62 6,108.94 -48,406.81

Taxes paid:
Export duty: Sugar -- -- 9,007.31 18,439.66 8,042.54 35,489. 51
Export duty: Rum-- -- 1,631.69 1,802. 30 1,567.42 5,001.41
Real property tax -- 10,659.10 13,111.46 12,722.85 36,493.41
Federal income and surtax ------ 1,005.77---------- ------ 1,005.77
Federal capital stock tax --- ----- ------ 876.00 780.00 776.00 2, 432.00
Other taxes, licenses, and fees-- 75.00--------- 3,521.46 1,498.62 6,002.50 11,097.58

Total .---------------- 75.00 -_.------. 26,701.33 35.632.04 29,111.31 91,519.68

Net profit or loss after taxes as per
balance sheet of June 30, 1939 -_- -23, 286.90 -11,370.64 4,154.08 -86,420.66 -23,002.37 -139,926.49


Arrivals of ocean-going ships, St. Thomas

Fiscal year

1924 ----
1925 ------
1926 -
1927 ---------
1928 -----------
1929 ..-----
1930 -.--------

10-year average.-

1931 ---------
1932 ----- ----
1933 ----- ---
1934 --------
1935 .... ...--------
1936 ....---------
1938 -------
1939 ----------
1940 -----......--------

10-year average -

United States
Naval, and
other govern-
ment ships

Naval, and
other govern-
ment ships


Num- Ton- Num- Ton- Num- Ton-
ber nage her nage her nage

60, 377
46, 538
34, 742
76, 751
110, 698

111, 024

75, 54



18, 320
19, 164

14, 784

2, 731
8, 559
10, 527
13, 100
4, 503

8, 555

7, 072

1,782, 185
470, 037
549, 751
480, 581
388, 74C

470, 267
487, 295
492, 65C

500, 54

'Included in total.


um- Ton-
ier nage

172 517,054
162 516,191
197 664,823
274 978,459
227 907,469
261 1, 203, 615
252 1, 209, 892
427 2,043,855
461 2,132, 796
358 1,715,181

279 1,188,934

1, 658, 330
1, 549, 875
, 472,927
L, 557, 455
2, 012, 771
2,420, 686
2,467, 168
2,818, 367




2,415, 249
1, 796,750
1,472, 242
2,536, 729
2,651, 397


2, 315, 990
1, 850,827
2, 568,452
3,017, 682
3,844, 289


1----1 1-- 1---------
1- 1- ----=




Cattle exported from the Virgin Islands


1920 .---------------------
1921 ------------------
1922 .. ------------
1923 ------ ---------------------
1924 --------------.---- --
1925 --------------------------
1926 -----------------------------
1927 ----------------------
1928 .--------------------------------
1929 ------------------
10-year average ----------

1930 ---------------------------------
1931 -----------------------------------
1932 -------------------------
1933 -------------

1935 ..... ------------------
1936 .
1937 .. ------------------------------
1938 ------- ---------------
1939 --------------------

10-year average.........-------------

St. Thomas




1, 055

St. Croix

Value Number

$2, 010
27, 823
11, 211
23, 543

14, 656

23, 882
27, 447
13, 135
9, 444
8, 617
9, 399
6, 048

545 12,696

1, 263
1, 145


2, 274

Value Number

$66, 847
17, 586
73, 529
72, 743
44, 539
53, 006
56, 270
56, 531


52, 265
23, 587
35, 271
37, 778
37, 596

-1-1- -1

1,430 36, 610

1, 565


2, 171
2, 842



Public and private school enrollment, Virgin Islands


Fiscal year

1916 --- ---------------------
1921 ... -------
1922 ---------------------------
1923 -------------------------- -
1924 -----------------._------------
1925 ---------------.---------------
1926 -------------
1927 ----------------------
1928---------.. -----... ------------
1929- .. ------------.-----------------
1930.....--------......... -------------
1931.--....---.....------- ---------
1933 ..-.....---------. ------------
1936 --- ---- -----------------
1937 ----.....-............--- ---------
1938 ....------- -----------------

and pa-

1, 316
1, 332
1, 222
1, 265
1, 162
1, 131
1, 090
1, 106
1, 202
1, 203

school and
Public agriculture

2, 671 -- -- --
2,977 ------
3,174 --
3,153 .......
3,161 -----
3,107 -- ----
3,083 ---
2,919 -- ---
2,950 ------
3,061 ---------
3,132 --------
3,228 13
3,411 30
3,486 34
3,460 29
3,244 24
3,249 23
3,374 22
3,519 82
3,552 276


1 3, 771
3, 987
4, 309
4, 418
4, 269




30, 981
64, 217


79, 712
57, 260
47, 222
43, 085
19, 556
46, 995
30, 238

49, 306


97, 426.40&
106, 711. 63
93, 084.70
111,677. 02
119, 797.61

I According to the U. S. Census taken in 1917. The census figure for 1930 gave a total enrollment of 4,542,
9.77 percent higher than the records of the Department of Education. The 1917 Census return is perhaps an
equal percent above actual enrollment in 1916.
2 Included in figure for public school enrollment. For years 1939 and 1940 the plan was changed to provide
vocational instruction for the male students of the high schools.


.I I---1----



Death rate per 1,000 population in the Virgin Islands of the United States

Calendar year

1920 ------.
1921 -----
1922 ...----------
1923 .------
1924 ------
1925 -------
1926 --------
1927 ..-------
1928 ---------..
1929 -------------

10-year average -----------------------

1930 -..----- -.------------
1931 ...-------- ---------
1932 ..-----------------
1933 ---------- -------------
1934 .-.-.-- ------------------.
1935 ..- ---------------------
1936 --------- -------------
1937------------ ---- ---------
1938 .-- - -------------------- - -
1939 -------------------------

10-year average --------------------

St. Thomas

18. 2
21. 7
22. 0
18. 3
23. 2

21. 52

18. 3
17. 2
22. 7

19. 64

St. John

17. 7
12. 5
19. 8
10. 4


10. 5
17. 0
22. 2
14. 4

11. 11

St. Croix

18. 1
20. 3
23. 8
26. 6
21. 5

22 77

26. 1
24. 4
23. 4
24. 4
22. 3
25. 2
23. 0
23. 7

23. 48




19. 0



Birth rate per 1,000 population in the Virgin Islands of the United States

Calendar year

1920 -----------------------
1921 ----------- --------
1922.. ..... --- ----- ----------------
1923 ---------------.--- ------- -------
1924 ..----------- -----------------------
1925 ------------
1926 .-------------------
1927 ---------------
1928 ------------------------
1929 ----------------------------------------------

10-year average -- -----

1930 -_-- -----------------
1931 --------------------------------------------
1932 --------------------------
1933 ----------------- --
1934 -----------------------------
1935 -- ---- ----------------------
1936 ----------------------------------------
1937 ------------- -------------------
1938 -----------------------
1939 ------------------

10-year average--------------- -- -- ------

St. Thomas St. John St. Croix Tta, Vr-
gin Islands

32. 0
30. 7
32. 5
26. 3
25. 7


29. 2
19. 9
12. 5
13. 5


22. 9
21. 7
19. 3
18. 3
17. 3
14. 8


27. 9
23. 5


31.9 19.6 23.0 26.9
26.1 14.4 18.4 21.7
28.4 17.0 22,9 25.1
27.0 15.7 26.3 26.3
33.8 17.0 27.3 29.8
30.9 24.8 29.3 29.8
32.0 19.6 29.4 30.2
34.2 24.8 32.3 32.9
32.8 20.9 32.1 32.0
39.6 22.2 33.4 35.8

- -------'

_ _ _ - - - - - - - - -
--------------- -----------
-------------- ------- ----

31.67 19.6 27.44




Status of pending legislation before the legislative assembly

Name of enactment

1. A law to provide a pension system for the permanent officials and
employees of the municipal governments.
2. A law to govern the production, inspection, and sale of milk and
3. A law to govern the production, inspection and sale of meat and
meat products.
4. A law to provide for adqeuate water supplies, to create water com-
missions, and for other purposes.
5. A law to establish a uniform building code. ------------
6. A law to control the entry of persons afflicted with dangerous com-
municable diseases.
7. A law to impose uniform excise taxes ------.------.----
8. A law to provide for the licensing of persons engaged in the practice
of medicine, surgery, dentistry, chemistry, pharmacy, veterinary
medicine, nursing, optometry, massaging, and other systems of
treatment of injuries or diseases.
9. A law to control internal traffic in narcotics _. ---
10. A law to provide fnr repictry of patents and trade-marks.....-----..
11. Resolution :-.. ..i.... I .. Congress of the United States to repeal
the following wording of sec. 18 of the Organic Act: "The laws of
the United States relating to patents, trademarks, and copy-
rights, and to the enforcement of rights arising thereunder, shall
have the same force and effect in the Virgin Islands as in the con-
tinental United States, and the District Court of the Virgin Islands
shall have the same jurisdiction in causes arising under such laws
as is exercised by the United States district courts."
12. A law to establish a special school or schools for juvenile delinquents
13. A law to establish uniform plant quarantine regulations in the Virgin
14. A law to establish a workmen's compensation system in the Virgin
15. A law to create a Virgin Islands Housing Authority eligible to re-
ceive financial assistance from the United States Housing Author-
16. A law to implement sec. 10 of the Organic Act and to safeguard the
finances of the municipality by limiting the number of meetings
for which compensation is paid to members of the municipal
councils or committees thereof to not more than 3 each month; or
to provide salaries for members.
17. A resolution to petition Congress to amend sec. 7 of the Organic Act
to authorize the legislative assembly to enact rules of business.
18. A resolution petitioning the Congress to continue in effect the bene-
fits of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 for labor in the Virgin
19. A law to establish uniform animal quarantine regulations in the
Virgin Islands.


Dec. 4,1939

.- do ---...

--- do ......---

--.. do ---..

--do ---

-----do ------
do ---

--_ do -----
-- do ----

----- do --------


-- do -----

..-..do ---

..do ---

--- do -----

Action taken

Not considered.















Direct Federal appropriations for the Government of the Virgin Islands, by
appropriation items, 1983-40

Central Agricul- Deficit,
Year adnn- turasta- St. Th s Deficit, Other Total
traction t and St. St. Croix purposes

1933. ---.--- -----------.... $150, 613 $25, 000 $112, 032 $124,355 .00 -- $412, 000
1934 ----...- 134, 750 25, 000 98, 500 98, 500 $15, 000 371, 750
1935 -----------...-. 117, 840 29,968 90,000 82, 600 14,350 334, 758
1936-----.. -.---... --. .. 131, 500 35,000 80, 00 95,000 ----------- 341, 500
1937 -----.. --------- 130, 000 35, 000 70, 000 60, 000 _..--- 295, 000
1938 ...-------- _---.------_- 120, 250 35, 000 60, 000 50, 000 ...- 265, 250
1939 --------... .__---..-__- 127, 250 38, 000 40,000 80, 000 --------- 285, 250
1940 .... -- ------....-.. 127, 250 38. 000 15, 000 50, 000 -----.-- 230,250

Total -.-.-.-_ .. ........ __________ ......... -___._..__._ __ _____. 2, 535,758



Direct Federal appropriations for the Government of the Virgin Islands, 1918-40

Naval administration:
1918 --------
1921 -----------
1922 ------
1925 ---------
1926 ------

$100, 000
200, 000
200, 000
343, 440
343, 440
343, 440
324, 000
270, 150
395, 150
280, 000
280, 000
260, 000
314, 000
421, 000

4, 074, 620

Civil administration:
1931 and 1932-------- $643,300
1933 ------ 412,000
1934 ---------------- 371,750
1935--------- 334,758
1936_ --- ---- 341,500
1937__ ---- 295,000
1938---------------- 265,250
1939---------------- 285,250
1940-------------- -- 230,250

3,179, 058


Naval administration - 4, 074, 620
Civil administration------- 3, 179, 058

Total-------------- 7,253,678


Municipality of St. Croix


1922-........----- .------------------.
1923 .. ....... -------.---.-
1924 -..----------------------..
1925 _--- __.-.. ------------...
1926 ...---- ...-------------
1927 --------...............--------------------.
1928 ... ... ....... ----.----.
1929 -----------... ..----------------.
1930 ..------ --------- --------------.
1931 -..--..-------------.
1932 -------------------....-----------.
1933 ... ..--------
19345 ....-------------------------------
19356 -.....-- .. -------------
1936---..----.....- ------------------
1937---- --------------
1938 --------------..........-------------------.
1939 ......--------------------------------
1940 -----------..------------------..---

Actual Rev-

105, 587.73
77, 478.35
107,440. 57


- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
- - - - -
I - - - -
--- - - -
. - - - - -
- - - - -
38, 500. 00

Actual ex-

340,078. 59

Deficit con-

95, 223.49
120, 788.46
117, 429.91
109, 903. 51
78, 596. 38
S42, 429.33

Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John

1922 .....-----...-------..---------------
1923 ....---------- --------- ---------------
1924 ---------.....-------------.........----------
1925 ..-- .--.------------... -------------
1926 -------------..............-------------------------
1927 --------.......---------....-------------------
1928 -----------... ----- ...------
1929 ..-----.. ..--------- ------------------
1930 .----.... ...--------- ------------------
1931 ... .. ...----------- -------------------.
1932 --------------------- -----------------.
1933 .....-.......... -------------
1934 ----------........----------------------------...
1935 .-------------------------------------
1936 ..-....--------------------------------
1937 .....--------....----------......-------------------
1938 ....- ---------.-------------------------
1939 .------------- ----------------
1940 -----------------------------------

I Information not available.
2 To Aug. 31, 1940. Accounts not closed.

$115,822. 01
97,893. 29
134,346. 64
105, 898. 74
179,640. 83
232, 676. 04

237, 269.
224, 268.
186, 200.
273, 591.
2 267, 749.

108,534. 52
80,301. 69
5', 423.89

95 8

19 0.9
- - - -
| - - - -
- - - - -

- - - - -
- - - - -
$915. 82 ---

Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John


Emergency relief grants to the Government of the Virgin Islands


Federal Emergency Relief Administration:
One-third of Virgin Islands relief expenditures,
First quarter, 1933 ---------------------------------- $1,638
Second quarter, 1933 _--------------------------------. 1, 439
Third quarter, 1933---------- ------------- 2, 176
Grant from discretionary funds including $5,000 for hooked rug
cooperative___ ---------------_ -- 25, 000
Grant in aid of St. Croix cooperatives ----------------------. 5, 000
Civil service education ------- --------------------_-- 4, 000
For financing civil works projects--------------- 356, 479
For purchase of fresh meat for relief distribution-------------_ 9, 937
For relief and work relief for April 1934_ --------- 10, 000
For relief and work relief for May 1934----------- 10, 000
For relief and work relief for June 1934 -------- -------- 10, 000
For relief and work relief for July 1934.------------------ 10, 000
For relief and work relief for August 1934----------- 10, 000
For relief and work relief for September 1934 -------- 10, 000
For relief and work relief for October 1934 ------------------- 10, 000
For emergency education program ------------------------_ 3, 500
For assisting in completion C. W. A. 'projects --------------_ 11, 000
For relief and work relief for November 1934 ----------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for December 1934 ---------------_ 11, 000
For relief and work relief for January 1935 ------------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for February 1935 ---------------- 11, 000
For cabinetmakers' cooperatives----------------------------- 10, 000
For March 1935 relief ---------------- -- ------_ 11, 000
For rural cooperatives______ ---------------10, 200
For relief and work relief for April 1935----------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for May 1935 ----------------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for June 1935 ----------------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for July 1935 ----------------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for August 1935 -------------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for September 1935 ----------------- 11, 000
For relief and work relief for October 1935 ------------------- 11, 000
For continuing relief and work relief ------------ 79, 000
For administrative expenses_ -------------_______ 3, 000

Total for 1933-40------------------------------------- 724, 369

Works Progress Administration and Work Projects Administration:
Establishment, maintenance, and operation of homestead com-
munity at-
Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas --------------------------- 16, 800
Mandahl Estate, St. Thomas -------------------------- 20, 400
La Grande Princesse, St. Croix-----_----------__ 28, 000
St. John Estate, St. Croix------------------------------ 22, 000
Whim Estate, St. Croix -------------------------------- 46, 000
Estates Colquhoun and Mount Pleasant, St. Croix------- 18, 000
Improve, rebuild, and construct roads in St. Thomas ---------- 128, 000
Improve, rebuild, and construct roads in St. Croix.__---------_ 64, 000
Build 4 additional nearby self-contained units, for accommodat-
ing 18 additional persons at Bluebeard Castle Hotel, including
purchase of furniture, furnishings and equipment therefore --- 37, 400
New roadway to cottages at Bluebeard Castle Hotel----------- 3, 500
Improve the present dining facilities (main building) and repair
and improve other buildings at Bluebeard-_-_--_--_------_ 14, 000


Emergency relief grants to the Government of the Virgin Islands-Continued


Works Progress Administration and Work Projects Administration-
Purchase of land and building of cottages and beach in St. John
and St. Thomas, including purchase of furniture, furnishings,
and equipment therefore, to be run as a part of the Bluebeard
Castle Hotel --------____________________._________ $36, 500
Administrative expenses ----___________-___ 38, 588
Archives --------------------------________ 4, 500

Total for 1936-37 ____________________________ 477, 688

Continuation of reconstruction and renovation of tourist hotel at
Bluebeard Castle, St. Thomas ____ _________ _____ 29. 000
Improvement to public highways, St. Thomas and St. John ___- 92, 975
Improvement to sewage disposal and sanitary water supply system,
and surface drains, St. Thomas --_ 84, 525
Improvement to streets within the city limits of Charlotte Amalie,
St. Thomas -- 58, 500
Mattress making and sewing projects for women at Charlotte Amalie,
St. Thomas; and Christiansted and Frederiksted, St. Croix___ 11, 300
Road construction, St. Croix---.________________ 61, 072
Installation of toilet systems at grammar schools and high school; re-
pair and extension of water and sewer systems, and construction of
cisterns at municipal hospitals, St. Croix______ _____ 15, 521
Construction of concrete gutters at Christiansted, and construction of
hard-surfaced streets at Christiansted and Frederiksted, St. Croix_ 14, 407
Cosntruction work at Protestant Cay residence, St. Croix ----- 6, 000
Administrative expenses -------_ ________________ 19, 500

Total for 1937-38 -----------____ ________________ 392, 800

Improve highways system throughout the municipality of St. Thomas
and St. John ---__.__________________________________ 86, 023
Improve streets throughout the city of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas_ 25, 000
Improve streets of Christiansted and Frederiksted, St. Croix ------- 20, 445
Improve highways throughout the Island of St. Croix _-----____-- 50, 000
Collect, transport, crush, and screen rock for use on W. P. A. highway
improvement projects, St. Thomas_--_ _________--__ 14, 514
Improve public highways throughout the municipality of St. Croix -_ 47, 700
Improve sanitation and water supply in Christiansted and Frederik-
sted, St. Croix___-_________ 25, 500
Extend sewer and water lines, erect public automatic flush toilets, etc.,
throughout the city of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas____ ___ 17, 000
Construct pit privy and other sanitary facilities at Mafolie Public
School, St. Thomas ---------_ __ --___ _____ 1,500
Eradicate and control cattle tick throughout the islands of St. Thomas
and St. John_----------- ______________ 4, 728
Eradicate and control cattle tick throughout the island of St. Croix-- 12, 320
To improve, alter, and renovate the morgue at the municipal hospital,
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas --______ __________- 4, 000
Improve and rehabilitate municipally owned buildings and grounds
in and near Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas ------------__ 6, 506
Improve and rehabilitate municipally owned buildings and grounds
throughout the island of St. Croix ---------___ ___ 30, 956
Eradicate and control cattle tick throughout the islands of St. Croix,
St. Thomas, and St. John --_-________.-__ ____________ 5, 432


Emergency relief grants to the Government of the Virgin Islands-Continued

Make general improvements to utilities, facilities, roads, and lands
at the agricultural experiment station on Estate Anna's Hope; Fed-
eral homestead projects at estates Whim, Princesse, St. John, and
Colquhoun; and municipal homesteads at Rattan, all on island of St.
Croix --------------------- $6,592
Improve Long Bay Public Recreation Grounds in Charlotte Amalie,
St. Thomas------------------------------------------------- 1,248
Maintain and operate sewing rooms in Christiansted and Frederiksted,
St. Croix---------------------------- 12,500
Operate a production project for making of mattresses to be distributed
free of charge to the needy, at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas------ 10, 500
Provide, coordinate, and supervise nursery schools and necessary par-
ents' education at St. Thomas and St. Croix ----------- 7, 916
Maintain and operate sewing rooms in Charlotte Amalie------------ 8, 300
Conduct a survey and study of skin and blood diseases, Charlotte
Amalie, St. Thomas-------------------------------- .5, 330
Improve school gardens; landscape and improve school grounds; pre-
pare school lunches, St. Thomas ------------------------------- 1, 000
Improve school gardens; landscape and improve school grounds;
prepare school lunches, St. Croix ___----- ------- 878
Catalog, bind, and mend books and provide special assistance for
children's library work_ ------------------------------------- 415
A construction project to construct more roads and trails to make
homesteads more accessible, St. Thomas- _-- ------ 5, 576
Improve grounds at the H. H. Berg Homes Project of the U. S. Hous-
ing Authority, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas __--------- 1, 200
Improve drainage facilities and control flood waters at Bourne Field
on Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas__ ------- 2, 000
Administrative expenses of the Government of the Virgin Islands ----- 11, 950
Rural rehabilitation projects of the Department of the Interior
on federally owned property in the Virgin Islands--------------- 53, 804
To aid Virgin Islands Cooperatives Association for needy persons, etc.,
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas_----------------- 12, 772

Total for 1938-39 ---------- ------------------ 493, 605

Eradicate and control cattle tick throughout the islands of St. Thomas
and St. John----------------------------- --.- 6,828
Eradicate and control cattle tick throughout the island of St. Croix_- 15, 691
A non-Federal nonconstruction project to improve highway system
throughout the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John -------- 77, 939
City-wide. A non-Federal construction project to extend the sewage
disposal system throughout the city of Charlotte Amalie, St.Thomas_ 12, 129
A non-Federal construction project to improve highways, streets, and
gutters throughout St. Croix, including streets of Christiansted and
Frederiksted------ 63,272
A non-Federal nonconstruction project to provide, coordinate, and
supervise nursery schools and necessary parents' education ------ 15, 442
A non-Federal nonconstruction project to operate a production
project for the making of mattresses and furniture; and to maintain
and operate sewing rooms------------------ 36, 680
To prepare and serve school lunches in the Municipality of St. Thomas
and St. John, and the Municipality of St. Croix ---------------- 4, 500
To supervise the direct playground activities, assist in the develop-
ment of health education, etc., in St. Thomas and St. John ------- 2, 256
To improve sanitation and public water supply municipal buildings,
and grounds telephone systems, provide cisterns, etc., throughout
St. Croix------------------------------------------------- 49, 909


Emergency relief grants to the Government of the Virgin Islands-Continued


To rehabilitate and repair municipally owned storehouses, fire station,
schools, cisterns, communication service and water-storage facilities
in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas _---------------------------
Conduct skin and blood surveys throughout the island of St. Croix -
To rehabilitate buildings and structures of municipally owned property
in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas -------------------------_
To repair, alter and maintain roads, ranges, and drains throughout the
quarters of Company, Queen, King, and Westend, municipality of
St. Croix -_----------------------- -----
To repair and replace line fences, make water improvement, introduce,
plant and propagate economic plants on the island of St. Thomas -
Improve highway systems, Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
Construct homestead houses and incidental work on Federally owned
homestead estates on the island of St. Croix---------------
Administrative expenses ---------------------------__------
To provide for the administration, supervision, and instruction in co-
operative activities in the production of handicrafts, cabinetmaking,
fruit preserving, etc., in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas---------

$12, 900
2, 889

10, 000

6, 180

17, 188
7, 500

7, 149
13, 516

19, 302

Total for 1939-40 --------------------

-- 381,270


Federal Emergency Relief Administration --------------- 724, 369
Works Progress Administration and Work Projects Administration for
the following years:
1936-37---- -- 477,688
1937-38----------------------- ---------- ----------- 392, 800
1938-39 ---------------------------- 493,605
1939-40------------------------------------------------- 381, 270
2, 469, 732
Federal projects, Government of the Virgin Islands, 1933-40
F. P. 1. Road construction and repairs to buildings including furnish-
ings for Government house:
(a) King's Hill Poor Farm, St. Croix-... -------------- $4, 525
(b) Government house, St. Croix ---------------- 4, 635
(c) Government owned building known as Cable Office Bldg., St.
Croix ---------------------------------------------- 4, 150
(d) Steeple Bldg., St. Croix_---------------------- 750
(e) Cistern and sanitation and machinery shed, Agricultural Sta-
tion and Vocational Institute, St. Croix ---------- 3, 000
(f) Center-Line Highway, St. Croix--------------------------- 15, 000
(g) Fort Christian, St. Thomas----------------- 2, 000
(h) Government house, St. Thomas------------- 3, 000
(i) Administration Bldg., St. Thomas----------- 1, 500
(j) Motor for pump station----------------------------- 1,375
(k) Road construction, St. Thomas ------------------------ 49, 565
F. P. 2. Construction of leper asylum ------ --------- 25, 000
F. P. 3. For the construction, renovation, and equipment of tourist
hotel at St. Thomas----------------- 133, 864
F. P. 4. For the construction of a series of low-cost houses on Govern-
ment-owned land in the Virgin Islands including the pur-
chase of land when necessary -------------------- 45, 000
F. P. 5. Reconditioning of Navy headquarters building-------------- 7, 500
F. P. 6. Major repairs and furnishings for quarters B_------ 2, 500
F. P. 7. Major repairs and remodeling of Marine Barracks ----------- 2, 000


Federal projects, Government of the Virgin Islands, 1988-40-Continued
F. P. 8. Major repairs of Marine Corps storehouse, building No. 75 $2, 000
F. P. 9. Major repairs, remodeling, and furnishing of Government
house -------------------- --___- 3,800
F. P. 10. New building for Grant School ------------------- 8,000
F. P. 11. Major repairs to Fort Christian---------------- 2, 000
F. P. 12. Sanitation repairs, dredging, and filling for malaria control
and typhoid prevention -- --------__ ___ 5, 000
F. P. 13. Reconstruction of Shipley's Battery and Signal Station ....- 4, 500
F. P. 14. New roof and repairs for headquarters of Despatching Secre-
tary, St. John--------------------------------------- 2,000
F. P. 15. Major repairs and reconstruction of Marine Barracks, St.
Croix- ---- ----------------------- __2,300
F. P. 1. For repairs and improvement to the quarters of the Director
of Police, St. Thomas -------------------------------- 1, 744
F. P. 2. Construction of a house for teachers at Diamond School---- 2, 500
F. P. 3. For 1 additional room for Dober School Bldg-------- 3, 900
F. P. 4. For the completion of the beachhouse at Lindbergh Bay on
Government owned property, including the construction
of a pier, etc---------------------------------------- 3,240
F. P. 5. For the construction of 3 new cottages, dormitory buildings,
completion of original project with cisterns, drains, additional
water supply, construction of sidewalks, grading, and
landscaping at the leper colony--------------- 14, 746
F. P. 6. Repair and remodeling of a portion of the fireproof masonry 2-
story building known as No. 75, including new room, new
floors, and stairs, set off a record room, building shelves, bins,
etc., for first story, replacing termite-weakened windows
and shutters with steel, etc --..------------ 5, 000
F. P. 7. Repairs to the other portion of building No. 75 and adjoining
sheds, etc ------ 1, 750
F. P. 8. Improvement of yard, dock, and waterfront ------------ 800
F. P. 10. Additions to machine and carpenter shops and equipment ... 4, 550
F. P. 11. New warehouse to be built for Public Works Department, to
add to the present inadequate facilities -------------_ 5, 500
F. P. 12. Completion and extension of masonry warehouse at the agri-
cultural station begun under P. W. A ------------__- 2, 300
F. P. 14. Restoration of Government house, St. Croix.--------- 48, 100
F. P. 15. Removing the agricultural station from Lindbergh Bay, St.
Thomas to new site at Estate Dorothea, St. Thomas, includ-
ing the purchase of land at Estate Dorothea and the con-
struction of buildings for the agricultural station thereon___ 28, 709
F. P. 17. For the purchase of property in St. Thomas including the re-
modeling and reconstruction of existing buildings, the con-
struction of new buildings and equipment, including a sea-
wall and dock -----------__-----__--_ 160, 000
F. P. 18. For the construction and equipment of a modern abattoir at
St. Croix ------------------------------------- 80, 000

Total ------------------------------------------- 697,803
Non-Federal projects, Government of the Virgin Islands, 1936-40
Federal Municipal
V. I. 1001-R. Street and water system improvements, St. funds funds
Thomas --------------------------- $20,000 $24,444
V. I. 1002-1-R. Surface drains and sewage disposal improve-
ments, St. Thomas ------------------- 50,000 -_
V. I. 1002-2-R. Water supply and' surface drain improve-
ments, St. Croix -__----._--- _-----._ 41, 93.9
V. I. 1004-F. Reconstruction of municipal building at Char-
lotte Amalie, St. Thomas-------------- 35, 944 43, 931
Total ----- ---------------------.-------- 147,883 68,375


Subsistence homestead allotment, Government of the Virgin
Allotment for Subsistence Homesteads in the Virgin Islands_

Fiscal year:
1920-21 ------
1921-22 ---
1924-25 ----
1926-27 ----
1928-29 ----
1929-30 ------
1930-31 -----
1931-32 -----
1933-34 --------
1938-39 -----
1939-40 ------

Islands, 1934-35
----- $75,669.44

Sugar exported from the Virgin Islands
Tons (short)
6, 274. 92
5,983. 84
-1,465. 94
4, 762. 74
-5, 166. 37
8,496. 69
--- 8,004.09
---- 5,372. 50
6, 164. 96
------------------------------------- 4,643. 50
3,790. 68
-- 4,985.11
------------------------------- 3,606. 10
-- 1,256.31
----------------------- ------- 2, 584. 00
------ 6,246.75
5, 329. 00
S2,899. 00
-------------------------------- 15,603.00

1 Includes reexports of Santo Domingan sugar.


.eaIU C Snflctiany C0f f

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------------- 1 4,094. 35

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