OF THE GOVERNOR OF
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
TO THE SECRETARY
OF THE INTERIOR
FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 1942
DEPARTMENT OF THE
HAROLD L. ICKES
TERRITORY OF THE
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D C'.
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C., Price 10 cents.
Defense of the islands . . . . . . .
Economic situation . . . . . . . .
Fiscal . . .. . . .. . . .
Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John .
Municipality of St. Croix . . .. . .
Municipal insurance fund, St. Thomas . .
The Federal appropriation . . . . .
PWA projects . . . . .
Defense public works appropriation.
Survey of public works needs . . .
Public Works Department . . . . ..
Health and sanitation . . . . . .
Virgin Islands Cooperative . . . . .
Agricultural Experiment Station and Vocat
School . . . . . . . . .
Public welfare . . . . . . . .
Education . . . . . . . . .
Police and prison department . . . .
Public libraries . . . . . . . .
Public Utilities Commission . . . . .
Legislative authorities . . . . . .
Home guards ...............
Conclusion . . . . . . . .
Annual Report of
The Governor of the Virgin Islands
CHARLES HARWOOD, Governor
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS,
September 1, 1942.
THE HONORABLE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
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, 1942.
Defense of the Islands
BY REASON of their strategic location not only as the most
eastern outpost of the United States but also as the keystone of the
arch protecting the Caribbean Sea approaches to the vital Panama
Canal, it is most natural that the major concern of the Virgin Islands
during the past year has been that of defense, both military and
Such has been the scope of the defense plans and their fulfillment
that perhaps in no other place under the American flag has the normal
economic and social structure of community life been so radically
affected. Months before our entry into the war, the administration
recognized the gravity of the geographical position of the Virgin
Islands. Steps were initiated immediately toward a concentrated
program of civilian defense. There was a prompt organizing of Coun-
cils of Defense by both island municipalities which were quick to move
into active intensive programs. When war did come, the Virgin
Islands defense program was well underway.
In this connection it is gratifying to note, the comments of James
M. Landis, Director of the United States Office of Civilian Defense, on
examination of a report of civilian defense activities in the islands:
2 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
From these small dots of American soil in one of .the world's most critical defense
zones, we get a splendid example of civilian alertness to common danger and timely
cooperation to meet it with adequate measures. We must put into practice in the
nation much of what these islands, which have an area of only 133 square miles,
have already done.
On the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix there have been exten-
sive military preparations. What has been done in this connection and
what the effects have been may not properly be recorded at this
time. It can be said, however, that the entire population of the
islands has responded in an excellent manner and that the islanders
have demonstrated their patriotism and loyalty to the United States.
At the direction of the administration, councils for defense were
organized in both municipalities under the standard regulations of the
United States Office of Civilian Defense. The executive direction of
civilian defense efforts was vested in civilian defense coordinators who
were charged with the duty and responsibility of instituting and execut-
ing civilian defense measures on their own initiative or upon the recom-
mendation of the councils for defense, and to establish a proper degree
of collaboration with military authorities so as to insure complete
coordination of all activities.
In both islands air raid precautions were instituted with volunteer
organizations of air raid wardens, fire watchers, fire fighters, demolition,
rescue and repair squads, emergency food and shelter corps, ambulance
and canteen corps and first aid. Under the supervision of the Amer-
ican Red Cross, the standard first aid course was given to hundreds of
eligible volunteers. First aid centers, equipped by the American Red
Cross in cooperation with local defense authorities, were organized and
Considerable funds were appropriated for civilian defense needs,
medical and surgical equipment, ambulances, powerful warning sirens,
fire fighting equipment, first aid supplies and equipment.
Frequent practices were held during which all regular and volunteer
units were called into active service. Fires were simulated, traffic
arteries disrupted and simulated casualties treated systematically.
The result has been most encouraging. All observers agree that the
civilian population of the Virgin Islands is defense conscious to a re-
markable degree. They are alert, cooperative and obedient.
The war has emphasized the difference in economy between the
islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. The resources of St. Thomas are
commercial and the increases in trade stimulated by defense activities
raised the estimated municipal revenues of $249,000 to nearly $600,000,
thus making it possible for the municipality of St. Thomas and St.
John, for the first time since the purchase of the islands by the United
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942 3
States in 1917, to be financed without Federal deficit appropriation.
The economy of the municipality of St. Croix is agricultural and it
has been adversely affected during the last 5 years by repeated
droughts. During the year, the Municipal Council of St. Croix with
the approval of the present administration repealed the export tax of
$6 a ton on sugar, which tax was among the burdens that destroyed
the private sugar industries of St. Croix and added to the losses of the
Virgin Islands Co. which was established by the government solely to
provide employment and a market for small farmers. Existing
nowhere else under the United States flag, the repeal of this tax had
been urged for many years. About the time of the tax repeal, the
present administration succeeded in having Congress apply to the
Virgin Islands the Sugar Act of 1937. Heretofore St. Croix had been
the only sugar producing area of the United States that did not share
in the benefit payments provided by that act, in spite of the fact that
St. Croix's sugar was required to pay the,processing tax from which
such benefit payments were made to all other aleas.
Employment, which is the first known measure of economic health,
was at its peak on the island of St. Thomas where extensive military
preparations gave remunerative employment to every employable
male. In St. Croix, after months of much unemployment, the Work
Projects Administration and the National Youth Administration
gave employment to nearly every eligible male. By the end of June,
however, the WPA employment quota was severely reduced and the
National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps
were abandoned. The serious effects of this, as well as the gradual
reduction of employment in the municipality of St. Thomas by reasoli
of the tapering off of military construction, will be increasingly felt in
the new fiscal year. Although the employment situation was most
satisfactory, it cannot be said that the economic health of the Virgin
Islands is sound, despite its fair superficial appearance, because real
economic health depends upon real wage and stability of employment.
In the municipality of St. Croix the new abattoir built by the
Federal Government was operated as a WPA demonstration and
training project. Many cattle, sheep and hogs were slaughtered for
export to St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. In St. Thomas the modern
cold storage market built by the Federal Government was substan-
tially completed. Facilities have been provided for the marketing
and cold storage of all locally produced foodstuffs, fish, poultry, meats,
vegetables, eggs and dairy products. The processing, selling and
cold-storaging of meats have been given particular consideration in
order to serve as a companion project to the abattoir in St. Croix. It
is expected that the operation of this market together with the opera-
tion of the abattoir in St. Croix will be'within the framework of the
Virgin Islands Co. These two units when organized for operation
4 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
will be an important factor in meeting the demand for foodstuffs
created by defense activities and the serious shipping situation.
The finances of the municipal government in St. Thomas were in
excellent condition. For the first time since 1917, the municipality
of St. Thomas and St. John was financed without a Federal deficit
appropriation. The Federal deficit appropriation of $15,000, which
was made by Congress, was not used. In St. Croix the fiscal affairs
of the municipality, after being at a very low ebb for many years,
took a slightly more favorable turn. For the first time in 4 years it
was not necessary to borrow money to meet an operating deficit over
and above the Federal deficit appropriation. However, an enthusi-
astic reception of this golden era must be tempered by the poor
potentialities of the forthcoming fiscal year.
Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
The actual revenues of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
were $599,116.94 as compared with $359,157.40 in the preceding year,
which is an increase of 66.8 percent. Income tax collections were
$316,067.67 as compared with $138,552.45, an increase of 128.1 percent.
It is interesting to note that income tax collections in 1940 were
$99,236.21 while in 1936 the revenue from this source was $18,237.08.
Trade taxes yielded $46,938.18 as compared with $27,061.37 in 1941,
an advance of 73.4 percent. Customs receipts were $59,200 as com-
pared with $42,464.89 in 1941, an increase of 39.4 percent. Pilotage
fees were $42,047.39 as compared with $27,441.96 in 1941, an increase
of 53.2 percent.
The budget for the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John carried
total appropriations of $588,000 of which $573,000 was estimated to
be derived from local revenues and $15,000 from the Federal deficit
appropriation. Because actual local revenues amounted to $599,000,
there was no deficit and the Federal deficit appropriation was not
Municipality of St. Croix
The revenues of the municipality of St. Croix amounted to
$196,485.72 compared with $139,111.07 in the preceding year, an
increase of 41.2 percent. Income tax collections were $30,394.50 as
compared with $11,149.39 in 1941, an advance of 172.6 percent. The
striking contrast between the economy of the island of St. Thomas
and the economy of the island of St. Croix is demonstrated by the
great difference in income tax collections. Total income tax collec-
tions in St. Thomas in 1942 were $316,067.67 as compared with
$30,394.50 in St. Croix.
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 19/~ 2 5
The budget for the municipality of St. Croix carried total appropria-
tions of $301,845, of which local revenues were estimated to supply
$196,845 and the Federal deficit appropriation $105,000. An addi-
tional Federal deficit appropriation of $10,000 made late in the fiscal
year was not used because of an unusual increase in income tax collec-
tions. Because of this slight improvement in the fiscal situation of
St. Croix, some small reduction is expected to be made in the munici-
pality's indebtedness of $90,000. It was possible to restore half of
the drastic salary cuts made the previous year and next year's budget
makes full restoration.
Municipal Insurance Fund, St. Thomas
Because commercial insurance companies failed or refused to insure
local employers, under a most reasonable law enacted by the Municipal
Council of St. Thomas and St. John, a municipal insurance fund for
workmen's compensation was established as of July 1, 1941. After
careful study of premium rates in effect in Puerto Rico and in several
States, premium schedules were promulgated. Gross premiums of
$24,544.36 were collected. A loan of $10,000 was made for working
capital. By June 30, 1942, $4,000 had been repaid, leaving the re-
mainder as a cash working balance.
The Federal Appropriation
The Federal appropriations for the Government of the Virgin
Islands, fiscal year 1942, were:
Central administration ------------------------ $151, 075
Agricultural experiment station and vocational school-------- 45, 650
Deficit, St. Thomas----------------------- -- 15, 000
Deficit, St. Croix _______ ---------------- 115, 000
Total-------------------- 326, 725
Comparable 1941 appropriations were:
Central administration_--------------- $142, 255. 00
Agricultural experiment station and vocational school ------------ 41, 150. 00
Deficit, St. Thomas------------------------------------------ 44, 933. 78
Deficit, St. Croix --.-_ ------------------ 103, 500. 00
Total ------------------------------------- --------- 331; 838.78
On July 1, 1941, WPA projects were transferred from a Federal
agency basis formerly operated under the Government of the Virgin
Islands, to a state basis operated under the direct supervision of the
Work Projects Administration.
Likewise, the United States Housing projects were transferred to
the management of the Virgin Islands Co.
Working funds totalling $12,500 were established by the Army
6 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
for construction by the Virgin Islands Government of certain military
A Federal Fish and Wildlife Service project for deer restoration
in St. Croix was set up in amount of $10,000.
During the year, Federal Project 18, construction of an abattoir at
St. Croix, was completed at a cost of $110,000. Federal Project 17,
construction of a cold storage market and an additional building for
the cooperatives in St. Thomas, was substantially completed at a cost
Defense Public Works Appropriation
The efforts of the administration were successful in obtaining a
special appropriation of $125,000 from the Federal Works Agency,
Defense Public Works Administration, for purchase of fire-protection
equipment, street cleaning and garbage disposal equipment, and night
soil removal service equipment, for the islands of St. Thomas and St.
Croix. Of this appropriation $64,000 is obligated for the purchase of
essential equipment for the municipality of St. Croix, while $61,000
will be expended in the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John.
Equipment sought to be purchased under this appropriation includes
fire-fighting units, heavy duty water tank trucks, foam generators,
portable pumping units, garbage collection and disposal units, mechan-
ical street sweepers, combination loader, excavator, and grader, pick-
up trucks, heavy duty stainless steel-bodied trucks, and sewage pumps.
Priority and transportation difficulties have delayed the purchase and
delivery of this equipment but, by the end of the fiscal year, contracts
had been awarded or were in process of being awarded for the major
Collections for Deposit in the United States Treasury
A total of $7,565.15 was collected from homesteaders under land
and house purchase contracts, interest and principal on loans and
miscellaneous collections. Toward the end of the fiscal year deposits
totalling $6,898.55 were made on account of sales of civilian reserve
foodstuffs made available through the Department of Interior.
Survey of Public Works Needs
Under the authority of an appropriation contained in the second
deficiency appropriation act of 1941, approved July 3, 1941, a com-
prehensive survey of the public works needs of the Virgin Islands was
made by the Federal Works Agency at the request of the Secretary
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942 7
of the Interior. The appropriation of $5,000 made available by
Congress, being insufficient to complete the survey, the facilities and
professional personnel of the Federal Works Agency were utilized.
The Honorable John M. Carmody, then Administrator, Federal
Works Agency, and several members of his staff made a preliminary
investigation of conditions prevailing in the Virgin Islands. Subse-
quently, additional engineers of the Federal Works Agency spent con-
siderable time in the Virgin Islands rounding out the various phases
involved in a comprehensive program.
Their report on the public works needs of the Virgin Islands, which
was transmitted to the Congress late in the fiscal year by the Secretary
of the Interior, states that the most outstanding need of the islands
is for hospitals and, in no uncertain terms, condemns the present
facilities as dilapidated and inadequate. Next in the order of priority
the report includes recommendations for additions and replacements
to the present salt water fire protection system in St. Thomas and St.
Croix and the enlargement of facilities for potable water supplies.
Sanitary conditions in the Virgin Islands, despite improvements
made during the American administration of the islands, are still
extremely unsatisfactory due to such primitive conditions as night
soil removal services, open gutters, garbage disposal into the bay im-
mediately offshore with resultant pollution, lack of sufficient water
for drinking purposes and lack of adequate housing.
Projects totaling $5,759,520 for the municipality of St. Thomas and
St. John and $3,616,900 for the municipality of St. Croix were recom-
mended for eventual consideration but priority consideration is being
requested for the following:
(a) Construction of modern hospital at St. Thomas, $495,000;
(b) Construction of modern hospital at St. Croix, $468,000;
(c) Construction of hospital and other emergency facilities for St.
(d) Additions and alterations to salt water fire protection system
in St. Thomas, $214,000;
(e) Additions and alterations to the salt water fire protection system
in St. Croix, $92,300;
(f) Construction of water catchment areas and storage reservoirs
in St. Thomas, $447,400;i
(g) Construction of water catchment areas and storage reservoirs
in St. Croix, $467,400;
(h) Fire protection equipment, St. Thomas, $34,900; and
(i) Fire protection equipment, St. Croix, $31,500.
Public Works Department
Additional duties and acute responsibilities vital to civilian defense
operations considerably increased the regular work of the Public
8 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
Works Departments, including maintenance of public water supplies,
sewerage systems, public buildings and grounds, municipal highway
improvements, building inspection, the municipal telephone systems,
and the fire departments. Expanded phases of public works such as
emergency communication, fire fighting, sanitation, and emergency
construction and repair were initiated at an unusual rate to take care
of the increased demands.
During the year jurisdiction of the WPA works program was trans-
ferred from the supervision of the Public Works Department in both
municipalities to the jurisdiction of a new WPA District Office.
Construction of National defense highways has been carried on by the
WPA District Office under the WPA Administrator for Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands.
In the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John plans and specifi-
cations were prepared and a contract was awarded for the construction
of a juvenile school in St. John. The completion of this unit will fill
a long-felt need. Unfortunately, due to delay in obtaining materials,
the structure, expected to be completed by September 1942, was only
about 25 percent completed on June 30. Funds have been appropri-
ated by the municipal council for cisterns and wells at public schools
and other areas in the country districts of St. Thomas. Some of these
have been completed and others are in process of construction. All
of them are useful projects designed to fill a long-felt need for additional
water supplies in these districts.
The main open gutters in Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted and
Frederiksted were flushed daily with salt water upon direct orders
of the Governor in order to improve sanitary conditions. Previously
these open sewers had been flushed only once or twice a week. They
constitute an acutely imminent epidemic source. This necessary
additional flushing has resulted in considerably increased cost to the
In St. Croix, reconstruction of the Kings Hill Home was completed
under the asupices of the Public Buildings Administration.
Health and Sanitation
The Commissioner of Health reports that the outstanding feature of
the year in St. Thomas has been the outbreak of a vast epidemic of
acute infectious jaundice and its evident connection with the mass
yellow fever vaccination of the population of St. Thomas. Under the
auspices of the Council for Defense, yellow fever vaccine was ob-
tained without charge from the Rockefeller Foundation and adminis-
tered voluntarily to over 10,000 persons. The epidemic, of jaundice
which followed this mass vaccination was extensive and severe.
Careful and exhaustive studies and investigations are being made by
United States Public Health Service officers.
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942. 9
In the municipality of St. Croix, while the general health of the
population has been good, there was an epidemic of dengue fever which
was also prevalent in St. Thomas to a degree.
Medical officers in the Virgin Islands have done a great amount of
useful work with a small staff under extremely difficult conditions.
Hospital wards are shabby, hot, and gloomy. There are no separate
wards for tubercular persons nor for venereal or other infectious cases.
The toilets and bathrooms are miserable. There is lack of running
water in the wards and the children's and obstetrical wards are housed
in termite eaten and rotten wooden buildings. InSt.Croix a children's
ward was completed and occupied at each hospital, but the main
hospital buildings are in poor condition. All medical institutions are
in dire need of rehabilitation. The Kings Hill Home was rehabilitated
and completed by the Public Buildings Administration and was a
welcome addition to the medical institutions. Unfortunately, an
adequate water supply was not provided and the institution is in need
of beds, mattresses, bedding, and other equipment, relatively few of
which have arrived.
The prospect of new modern hospital buildings and equipment as a
result of the public works survey of the islands gives hope of relief to a
serious situation which has long been a concern in the administration of
the Virgin Islands.
The sanitary sewer system in both islands is greatly in need of im-
provement and expansion. There are only 131 sewer connections in
St. Thomas to the existing salt water system, which is about 6 percent
of the occupied dwellings.
In Christiansted, only 50 out of 1,020 and in Frederiksted only 14
of 605 houses are connected to the sanitary system. The majority of
the homes in all towns have pit or surface privies. These primitive
facilities are a constant menace to the health of the people of the
Virgin Islands Cooperative
The full impact of the war was felt by the Virgin Islands Coopera-
tive. Complete loss of tourist trade, shipping difficulties affecting
export trade, difficulties of obtaining raw materials and its greatly
increased cost have combined to disturb and hamper the operations of
the cooperative to such an extent as to cause serious financial loss.
For the second time in 9 years, volume of sales has receded but, un-
fortunately, the reduction at this time has been considerable. Total
sales dropped from $55,357.77 in 1941 to $32,798.66 in 1942, represent-
ing a reduction of more than 40 percent. However, the sound
potentialities of the cooperative were indicated in the increase of the
mail-order sales and local sales which increased from $9,918.58 in
10 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
1941 to $13,167.41 in 1942 despite difficulties of parcel-post service.
The export of silk palm braid has continued but the trade in this
product has fallen off considerably because of competition in the
United States by braids manufactured in Haiti, Mexico, and Central
America. The cooperative received no financial assistance whatever
during the year. It has had to carry its own burden during the worst
year with the inevitable result of serious depletion of funds. Because
of these unfortunate conditions, it was not possible to pay any bonuses
to the members.
Agricultural Experiment Station and
The Agricultural Experiment Station and Vocational School, located
on St. Croix with a substation at St. Thomas, underwent an almost
complete reorganization in personnel and objectives during the year.
Sugarcane continues to be the main cash crop in St. Croix. The cane
for the 1942 harvest was poor. Labor troubles at the beginning of the
crop season caused a delay of over 1 month before the crop was
actually started. The livestock industry of St. Croix has been very
hard hit because of the difficulties involved in making shipments of
livestock to Puerto Rico. This has been partly alleviated by the
construction of a modern abattoir by the Federal Government.
Efforts were made to obtain purebred beef type bulls from continental
United States to improve the local breeds, but difficulties involved in
purchase and transportation have made it almost impossible to
Greater efforts were made to encourage the planting of more locally
grown staple foods but due to the prolonged drought much success
has not been manifested. The past year has been one of subnormal
rainfall resulting in smaller yields, while market conditions have been
unsettled and prices irregular. A considerable nuniber of home-
steaders, land renters and farm laborers were able to take advantage of
employment on Government emergency projects which benefited
them but which affected adversely the agricultural situation. Exten-
sion activities covered help to farmers, advice in crop production,
animal husbandry, home beautifying, and simple farm construction.
In March 1942 there was inaugurated in connection with the
National Defense movement a WPA project known as the "food
production program." In cooperation with the Farm Security Ad-
ministration, island-wide work is under way in pasture improvement,
preparation of acreage for subsistence crops and maintenance of seed-
beds. About 250 acres are to be planted in vegetables with an increase
to 650 acres for fall planting. The funds for the project arise through
a special WPA allotment of $275,000.
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942 11
In St. Thomas the agricultural substation has likewise undergone a
change in policy. Efforts have been concentrated on the encourage-
ment of food production. A new service of seed and plant-slip distri-
bution was instituted. Seeds ordered from civilian defense appropri-
ations were distributed to all interested farmers. Construction of
bench terraces for soil conservation was carried out. An educational
project was set up to encourage the cultivation of these terraces for
soil conservation and the retention of moisture.
SThe National Youth Administration, whose boys' resident project
at the station in St. Croix proved unsatisfactory in the previous year,
reorganized that project and with the close cooperation of the station
staff conducted a satisfactory and promising vocational school. 'It is
a matter of deep regret that this project had to be closed on June 30,
1942. The 40 boys who were in residence, under strict and efficient
supervision, had applied themselves wholeheartedly to the work and
had made encouraging progress.
Outstanding changes and expansion in the activities of the Depart-
ment of Public Welfare in the municipality of St. Thomas and St.
John marked the year as the most important in the history of welfare
and social improvements. The municipal council implemented im-
portant legislation to provide workmen's compensation, adopted a
wages and hours act, prescribing minimum wages and maximum
hours, patterned closely after the United States Fair Standards Labor
Act; and created a division of public playgrounds to provide super-
vised and organized recreational activities.
During the year the work formerly performed by the Department
of Public Welfare in directing WPA employment and women's projects
was transferred to the newly established WPA District Office but its
place was more than filled by new municipal undertakings. The
previous picture of a department, largely supported through Federal
emergency undertakings, was changed to that of an active depart-
ment assuming the direction of a municipal program of permanent
character and of expanding importance in island affairs.
In St. Croix, the Department of Public Welfare extended its social
service work. Unfortunately, the municipal government of St. Croix
has not yet recognized the need for a fully staffed and active welfare
department, and appropriations for its support have been negligible.
The food stamp plan of the Agricultural Marketing Administration
continued to be highly successful in St. Croix. During the year,
$51,225 was expended by the United States Government by the
issuance of free blue stamps to unemployables and orange stamps to
the value of $52,583 were purchased by low-income workers. In St.
Thomas the food stamp plan has not been as successful as in St.
12 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
Croix. In this island, free blue stamps to the value of $18,988 were
distributed to unemployables and $8,627 in orange stamps were pur-
chased by low-income workers.
The housing shortage in St. Thomas accentuated by the increased
population due to defense activities continued to be acute. Efforts to
obtain Federal funds for the construction of additional low-cost hous-
ing units have failed. The housing shortage has added to the deplor-
able housing conditions already existing among low-income groups.
This is a problem requiring urgent attention.
The Department of Education has made marked progress during
the year. Under a new school law the public now has greater control
in formulating policies and in the conduct of the public schools
through active boards of education with extensive powers. In the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, the council has -made
commendable strides in the enactment of measures for extension and
improvement of educational institutions and services. The adoption
of a standard to govern teachers' salaries and to provide for pro-
motions on the basis of training and continued service, made effective
with the beginning of the fiscal year 1942, is one of the most con-
structive measures undertaken since the establishment of compulsory
education in the Virgin Islands. Another outstanding event was the
establishment of an adult educational program wholly supported by
Of special significance because of its potential benefits to the com-
munity is the persistent and determined efforts toward obtaining
more suitable facilities for a high school and to include and improve a
strong program of vocational education. By the end of the fiscal
year, funds had been appropriated and negotiations concluded for the
purchase of a suitable site for a new high school in St. Thomas. This
was financed entirely by municipal funds. Reconstruction of build-
ings on this site will be effected during the new fiscal year provided
building materials can be secured.
The school lunch program was maintained throughout the year
financed in part by grants of municipal funds and largely by the
WPA. Commodities received from the Agricultural Marketing
Administration proved to be immensely beneficial. A nursery school
program was continued by the WPA with sponsorship funds furnished
by the municipalities.
In the municipality of St. Croix there is need for an eight-grade
high school in the center of the island and a new building for the
Christiansted High School. Nevertheless, an improvement in instruc-
tion is evidenced by better passing grades particularly in the elemen-
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942 13
Under Public Laws 812 and 146 of the United States, funds were
allotted to the Virgin Islands for education and training of NYA
project workers. Courses were given in home economics including
the selection, care and construction of clothing, home furnishing,
home management, planning, preparation and serving of foods, home
nursing, first aid, and health and personal grooming. This program
unfortunately was closed on June 30, 1942, by reason of withdrawal
of Federal contributions.
Police and Prison Department
The police force of St. Thomas was considerably strengthened
during the year by increased personnel and additional equipment pro-
vided from generous municipal appropriations. There were 1,079
arrests in St. Thomas as compared with 1,042 during the last fiscal
Intensive civilian defense measures in both islands including
frequent black-outs have greatly increased the work and responsibi-
lities of the police officers. Automobile and traffic difficulties have
increased as a result of a large increase in vehicles. A total of 715
automotive vehicles were registered in St. Thomas during the year as
compared with 654 in the preceding year and 386 four years ago.
In the maintaining of order during the war emergency period there
has been close cooperation between the military and civil authorities.
The police force in the municipality of St. Croix is badly in need of
new equipment. For several successive years funds have not been
adequate to maintain respectability in uniforms and adequate arms
and equipment. By the end of the fiscal year appropriations had
been made for partial alleviation of this situation, but'the receipt of
necessary equipment has been delayed due to priorities and shipping.
The supervising librarian reports that the year has been subnormal
as far as circulation and projects are concerned. Transportation and
mail difficulties due to the war have delayed book and magazine
deliveries and orders. Recataloging of the adult department in St.
Thomas was started. Work with children has progressed, with story-
hour programs being conducted for pre-school and in-school groups.
Public Utilities Commission
In February 1942, after exhaustive studies and hearings the Public
Utilities Commission of St. Thomas and St. John entered an order
to be effective from April 15, 1942, promulgating reduced landing and
loading charges at Charlotte Amalie. Prior to the effective date of
14 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
the new tariff, the United States condemned a one-year leasehold on
the docks of the West Indian Co., Ltd. at St. Thomas and entrusted
their operation and management to the Virgin Islands Co. This
company, acting as agent for the United States Government, did not
adhere to the rates which had been fixed by the Commission. Proper
administrative steps have been instituted to determine the respon-
sibility for adherence by the Virgin Islands Co. to the rates as deter-
mined by the Commission.
In March 1942, the Commission also moved to reduce electric light
and power rates. Before the date of the proposed hearing on these
rates, the United States acquired title by condemnation to the electric
light and power station. The hearing was not held. Electric light
and power rates have not yet been reduced.
Federal Ownership of Public Utilities
During the year the United States Government acquired a one-
year leasehold on the docks of The West Indian Co., Ltd. at St.
Thomas and acquired title in fee simple to its electric light and power
station. These utilities, constituting the principal commercial activi-
ties of the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, are now being operated
under United States Government ownership, in lieu of former private
ownership and management.
Because the activities of The West Indian Co., Ltd. furnished a
major source of revenue in income and other taxes to the municipality
of St. Thomas and St. John, efforts have been made by the administra-
tion to obtain the authority of the Federal Works Agency for the
payment of these taxes to the municipality by the United States
Government ownership of the electric light and power station had
long been sought. With proper and sound management the result
should be beneficial to the people of the islands. However, unless
satisfactory arrangements can be made for payment of taxes to the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, the economic structure of
this municipality will be seriously affected.
The Municipal Council of St. Thomas and St. John continued
actively to sponsor social legislation of a most important character.
Following up its earlier record in the enactment of a workmen's
compensation act, the Municipal Council this year enacted and made
provision for the vigorous enforcement of a minimum wage and maxi-
mum hour law. This Municipal Council also established a municipal
insurance fund for workmen's compensation, a law to control prices
of foodstuffs, a law establishing a homestead commission and created
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 19492 15
a new bureau of agriculture. Erom greatly increased revenues inci-
dent to income tax collections, generous appropriations were made
for maintenance and operation of all departments of the municipal
governments of St. Thomas and St. John, for civilian defense purposes
and for many important municipal projects. The St. Thomas home
guard was created by legislation and funds provided for its equipment
and maintenance. The Municipal Council of St. Croix took an im-
portant forward step by repealing the export tax of $6 per ton on
sugar produced in St. Croix. Both councils cooperated in the enact-
ment of legislation for civilian defense and protective emergency
The legislative assembly of the Virgin Islands, consisting of the two
municipal councils in joint session, held one session. The subjects
which may properly be dealt with by this assembly are those on
which legislation will apply with equal force to both municipalities.
The growing divergency in economy between the islands has reduced
*the number and importance of such matters.
In both municipalities, home guards with voluntary membership
were authorized and created by local legislation. In St. Thomas
excellent training was given by officers and noncommissioned officers
assigned by the United States Marine Corps. Efforts have been and
are being made by the administration to secure a proper status for
the Home Guards so that they may be eligible for the issuance of arms
and equipment by the War Department.
There continues to be immediate and imperative need for large-
scale appropriations of Federal funds for reconstruction and equip-
ment of hospitals, medical institutions, water supply facilities, fire
protection services and equipment, and modern sewage and garbage
disposal systems. These needs have been presented to Congress in
the report of the Public Works Survey heretofore referred to. Be-
cause of the existing emergency, determined and persistent efforts
must be made to provide more and better small farmers and better
and greater use of land.
It is recommended that efforts continue to be made to obtain the
extension of Federal aid for vocational education under the George-
Dean and the Smith-Hughes Acts to permit the establishment of a
sound and practical program of vocational education.
It is too early to state whether the financial affairs of the munici-
pality of St. Thomas and St. John will be adversely affected by the
change of ownership of the docks in St. Thomas. It is hoped that
16 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1942
negotiations for payment of all taxes, to the municipal government will
be successful. In St. Croix, the island's dependence on Federal aid
continues and there is no hope of any material improvement.
In all islands, efforts and appropriations should be concentrated
upon, but not restricted to, the distribution of land, and upon its
development for the subsistence and security of those who can be
properly settled upon it.
Internal revenue taxes collected in the United States on products
of the Virgin Islands shipped to the United States should be returned
to the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States. There
is the very strong possibility that the return of these taxes would elimi-
nate the need for further annual deficit contributions by the Federal
Government. Congressional action in the matter of the return of
these taxes has been sought for many years. The enactment of this
legislation, which is strongly recommended, would be a major con-
tribution to a sound economic future for the islands.
The Selective Service Act of the United States has not been applied.
to the Virgin Islands. Late in the fiscal year information was ob-
tained that the law is applicable to the Virgin Islands but that machin-
ery has not been provided for its enforcement. This act should be
put into effect immediately and the people of the Virgin Islands given
the opportunity and privilege to serve in the Nation's armed forces
as all other American citizens.
Governor of the Virgin Islands of the United States.