Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents

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/UF00015459/00018
 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: 1942-1943
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00015459
Volume ID: VID00018
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
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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Full Text


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United States

Department of the Interior

HAROLD L. ICKES, Secretary

The Virgin Islands
of the United States


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents.
Washington, D.C. Price 5 cents



Civilian Defense .................. I
Economic Situation. . . . . . . ... 1
Fiscal . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John . . 3
Municipality of St. Croix . . . . . . 4
The Federal Appropriation . . . . . 4
Federal Works Agency Projects . . . . 5
Collections for Deposit in the U. S. Treasury . 5
Public Works Department . . . . . . 5
Health and Sanitatioi . . . . . . . 6
The Virgin Islands Cooperatives . . . . . 7
The Agricultural Experiment Stations . . .. 7
Public Welfare .................. 7
Education ................... 8
Police and Prison Departments . . . . . 9
The Public Libraries . . . . . . . 9
Legislative Authorities . . . . . .... 10
St. John . . . . . . . . ... . 10
Conclusion .......... ........ 11


Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

August 26, 1943


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 Government
of the Virgin Islands for the fiscal year ended June
30. 1943.
Respectfully submitted,

Governor of the Virgin'Islands

Annual Report of the

Governor of the Virgin Islands


T HE WAR has been the dominating factor in Virgin Islands'
economy and its effects have been evidenced in all phases of com-
munity life. Although the danger of attack by air or surface raider
became more remote following the occupation of North Africa by the
United Nations, the program of civilian defense, initiated with suc-
cess in the preceding fiscal year was continued with vigor. Fire
defenses were improved, raid drills and black-outs carried out, home
guards trained intensively and the American Red Cross extended its
facilities and activities. During the past year the armed forces
played a large part in the life of the communities of the Virgin
Islands and relations between the military organizations and the
civilian population were excellent.

As the Virgin Islands were early to feel the economic uplift of the
war, so they were among the first American communities to experience
the inevitable retrogression. During the year under review, defense
construction operations gave employment on the island of St. Thomas
to every employable male worker, and the shortage of native labor to
meet the abnormal demands resulted in heavy importation of labor
from neighboring British Islands. With the reduction of defense
construction as the year drew to a close a great many of the imported
aliens were repatriated. However, unemployment undoubtedly will
be the most serious consideration in the Virgin Islands in the imme-
diate future. Projects for water storage in St. Croix, for the exten-
sion of water supply facilities in St. Thomas, and the construction of

highways in both islands, commenced in earlier periods, must be
prosecuted vigorously to relieve unemployment, as well as to provide
basic improvements, in the communities. The projects can be ex-
panded without detriment to the larger interests of the national war
effort, because critical material is not involved. Projects for construc-
tion of new hospitals, extension of sewerage systems, sanitation facili-
ties and many other projects of like nature, which are absolutely essen-
tial to the life and general welfare of the people of the islands must,
of necessity, be deferred.
The attention of the administration has been largely directed to the
connected problems of food and shipping. Early in the year, the
Department of the Interior, through its special defense appropriation,
established civilian food reserves, to insure that basic food commod-
ities would be available to the people of the Islands, in spite of dis-
ruption of commercial trade and shipping facilities. This was made
possible through an operating agreement entered into with the De-
partment of Agriculture whereby the Food Distribution Administra-
tion serves as agent of the Department of the Interior for the
procurement, transportation and distribution of the basic foods.
These supply agencies now operate successfully, with the result that
a sufficient supply of foodstuffs is available.
On the island of St. Croix, the Work Projects Administration
Developed an extensive project of vegetable production for the public
institutions. On the island of St. Thomas, municipal appropriations
were used to provide a direct labor subsidy to encourage an increase
in the production of vegetables and other locally grown products.
The problems of price adjustment and rationing were met by the Office
of Price Administration, which extended its activities to the islands.
The abattoir on the island of St. Croix, constructed in a prior
period from Federal funds, furnished dressed meat to the new cold
storage market in St. Thomas, likewise constructed from a Federal
appropriation. The profitable operation of the abattoir on a com-
mercial basis appears to be doubtful because of its size and the un-
availability of sufficient livestock. The cold storage market at St.
Thomas, on the other hand, gives hope of profitable operation, and
will be an increasingly important factor in the life of the community,
by providing needed refrigerating facilities.
The Federal Works Agency which late in the preceding fiscal year
acquired a 1-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, operated these public utilities until March
1943. After the end of one year's operation it returned all of the
properties to the former owner, The West Indian Co., Ltd.

Financial prospects, which were lessened materially in St. Thomas
by the loss of taxes from The West Indian Co., Ltd., improved re-
markably during the year, mainly by reason of the increase in income
taxes on general business, as well as 'the increased rates and lower

The municipality of St. Thomas and St. John not only operated
without a Federal deficit appropriation for the second successive year,
but by June 30, 1943, the treasury of the municipality collected a sur-
plus in revenue of approximately $80,000, over budgeted obligations.
The municipality of St. Croix operated with a Federal deficit ap-
propriation of $114,800, which was supplemented by a deficiency a.p-
propriation of $45,000.

The actual revenues of the municipality of St. Thomas and St.
John amounted to $693,801.37, including $23,050 transferred from the
operating fund of the St. Thomas Virgin Islands lottery (for con-
struction of the vocational school and for the induction and mainte-
nance of a food production program), and $6,301.86 transferred from
surplus funds of the preceding fiscal year for necessary municipal
projects. The comparable figure for the fiscal year ended June 30,
1942 was $599,116.94. Thus, total income in the calendar year 1943
exceeded that of the preceding year by 15.8 percent.
Income-tax collections were $465,447.76, as compared with $316,-
067.67 in the preceding year, an increase of 47.28 percent. In 1941,
income-tax collections were $138,552.45, while in 1936 the revenue from
this source was $18,237.08. Real property taxes yielded $54,462.23,
as compared with $50,556.24 in the preceding year. Gasoline taxes
and automobile license fees yielded $14,398.68, as compared with $21,-
435.70 in 1942, a decrease of 32.83 percent. Trade taxes yielded $34,-
725.52 as compared with $46,938.18 in 1942, a decrease of 26.23 per-
cent. Customs revenues yielded $28,200 as compared with $59,200
in 1942, a decrease of 52.36 percent. Pilotage fees were $10,597.52
as compared with $42,047.39 in the preceding year, a decrease of 74.80
From the foregoing comparison of municipal revenue figures it
will be seen that although there was a decided reduction of pilotage
fees, customs revenues, trade taxes, gasoline taxes, and automobile
license fees, reflecting the effects of the war, the unprecedently large
income-tax collections more'than stabilized the situation.
The budget for the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John car-

ried total appropriations of $609,254. This was the second succes-
sive year that the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John operated
without a Federal deficit appropriation. On June 30, 1943 the muni-
cipal treasury showed a revenue surplus of approximately $80,000.

The revenues of the municipality of St. Croix amounted to $194,-
440.63, compared with $196,485.72 in the preceding year, a decrease
of 1.04 percent. The income-tax collections were $46,977.22 as com-
pared with $30,394.50 in 1942, an advance of 54.55 percent. Real prop-
erty taxes yielded $59,558.34 as compared with $50,205.98 in 1942, an
increase of 18.63 percent. Export duty yielded $3,202.08 as com-
pared with $18,039.81 in 1942, a decrease of 82.25 percent, due to the
repeal of the $6 per ton export duty on sugar.
The budget for the municipality of St. Croix carried total appropri-
ations of $353,800; of this, local revenues were estimated to supply
$194,000, and the Federal deficit appropriation $114,800, in addi-
tion to a further Federal deficiency appropriation of $45,000 which,
however, was not made available until July 1943.
On June 30, 1943, the municipality still owed its public funds
$53,903.02, representing amounts borrowed in prior years for meet-
ing municipal operating deficits.

The Federal appropriations for the Government of the Virgin Is-
lands, fiscal year 1943, were:
Central administration------------------- ---------------- $147, 980.00
Agricultural experiment station------------------ --- 37, 640.00
Deficit, municipality of St. Croix ------- ------------- 114, 800. 00
Total------------------------------------- 300,420.00
The comparable 1942 appropriations were:
Central administration------------------ --- $151, 075. 00
Agricultural experiment station----------------------------- 45, 650. 00
Deficit, municipality of St. Croix ------------ ----------- 115, 000. 00
Total---------------------------- 311,725.00
On June 30, 1943, the following supplemental appropriations for
the Government of the Virgin Islands were pending in a deficiency
bill before the Congress of the United States:
Central administration------------- ----------- $19,250. 00
Agricultural experiment station------------------------------ 2, 500. 00
Deficit, municipality of St. Croix -------------------------- 45, 000. 00
Total ------------------------ ------------- 66,750. 00

The supplemental appropriations of $19,250 for the central ad-
ministration and $2,500 for the agricultural experiment station were
needed to cover increased operating costs, due wholly to the applica-
tion of the Federal overtime law to Federal employees of the Interior
Department, beginning December 1, 1942,: and to the application of
the 25 percent territorial service differential to such employees of
the Interior Department in the Virgin Islands as were included in
the Federal field classification schedule, effective February 1, 1942.
Efforts were made, and deficiency estimates were submitted, for the
purpose of covering the local schedule employees of the Interior
Department in the Virgin Islands within the territorial service dif-
ferential, but those estimates were not approved.

During the year the Federal Works Agency made an allotment of
$293,000 to the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, for the
construction of non-Federal water facilities on the island of St.
Thomas, including six catchment areas and eight storage tanks, to-
gether with necessary appurtenant work. An allotment of $7,032.50
was made to the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John for main-
tenance and operation of isolation hospital facilities, and an allot-
ment of $467.50 for the purchase of special equipment for them.

During the year the Farm Security Administration relieved the
government of the Virgin Islands of the administration of the home-
steads and the responsibility of collecting amounts due from home-
steaders under land and house purchase contracts. A total of
$474,414.17 was collected by the government of the Virgin Islands and
deposited in the U. S. Treasury, of which $472,967.29 represented pro-
ceeds from the sale of commodities handled by the Food Distribution
Administration and Civilian Food Reserve of the Department of the
Interior; the balance representing interest on homestead loans; in-
terest on unpaid principal on low-cost houses; reimbursements for
cultivation aids and services; sale of government property and live-
stock; and rent of public buildings and grounds.

The Department of Public Works in each municipality labored un-
der extreme difficulty during the past year, because war emergency
conditions restricted the availability of materials and equipment, and

the shipment thereof to the islands. Nevertheless, their activities pro-
gressed satisfactorily.
On the island of St. John, construction of a home for delinquent
boys was substantially completed. A building in St. Thomas purchased
for a vocational school was reconstructed. It is expected that both
buildings will be occupied soon. An old building contiguous to the
municipal hospital in St. Thomas has been renovated for use by the
Department of Health as an isolation hospital for venereal cases.
Heavy rains made it necessary to keep highways under .constant re-
pair. Scrap collection campaigns were carriedon. Construction of
eight reservoirs and six catchment areas to increase the much needed
municipal water supply was begun, representing the most important
undertaking of the year. This project was made possible by the non-
Federal grant to the municipality of St. Thomas in the sum of
$293,000 by the Federal Works Agency referred to hereinbefore.
The Department of Public Works in St. Croix chiefly occupied it-
self in maintaining existing properties. Eighty-four municipal
buildings, nearly all old, have to be kept in constant repair with an
appropriation of $9,000. Few of the streets in St. Croix are surfaced,
and of 140 miles of highway, more than 100 miles are dirt roads,
requiring constant attention to keep them in condition.
The Commissioner of Health reported .the end of an infectious
catarrhal jaundice epidemic which followed the mass immunization
against yellow fever of practically the entire population of St.
Thomas. The control of venereal disease was advanced due to the
strenuous efforts of the medical staff, and the institution of isolation
hospital facilities, under a grant of funds from the Federal Works
Agency. Sanitary inspection of mosquito breeding places was oner-
ous, because of the number of water containers which the abundant
rainfall kept in constant use.
In St. Croix the general health was good. Clinics were conducted
in infant welfare, prenatal care and venereal disease control. There
were two admissions to the leper asylum during the year, making a
total of 56 lepers now hospitalized. The King's Hill Home for in-
digents maintained an average of 127 inmates. This institution was
rebuilt in 1941 but new equipment was never provided and is now
urgently needed.
The work of the municipal physicians was done under the hardship
of antiquated and deteriorated hospital facilities and the ever-increas-
ing difficulty of procuring equipment and supplies due to the war

The management of the Virgin Islands Cooperatives reported a bad
year, due not so much to lack of a market incident to wartime scarcity,
as to lack of production. The members of the cooperatives failed to
produce goods for sale in reasonable quantities. Total sales dropped
from $32,798.66 in 1942 to $26,123.53 in 1943. It is likely that the
major cause of the decline in production was the general employment
of other members of the family at good wages, which relieved coop-
erative workers of the need of adding to the family income.
The agricultural experiment stations took on additional importance
and responsibility on account of the need of stimulating food produc-
tion in both islands. In St. Croix the major crop of sugarcane showed
great improvement over 1942. Sugar benefit payments were paid for
the first time to growers in St. Croix. The station made experiments
with an improved cane variety from Barbados, of which several thou-
sand cuttings were available for distribution. The livestock industry
also prospered. The abattoir built by Federal funds was operated by
the Livestock Association, which exported dressed meat to St. Thomas
and Puerto Rico. A food production program, undertaken by the
Work Projects Administration, was sponsored by the station. The
distribution of seeds and slips continued to be made to individuals,
Farm Security Administration and the WPA. Extension work was
directed mainly to diversifying food crops, and improving the breed
of livestock and pastures.
The agricultural experiment station in St. Thomas increased its
activities in the production of food. The municipality instituted a
food production program by subsidizing farm labor and organized an
agricultural bureau with an assistant to aid the director of the station
in its operation. The Agricultural Bureau purchased a considerable
number of cattle and pigs, some for breeding purposes, others for dis-
tribution to local farmers. A poultry development revolving fund was
set up, the object being to raise and improve the type and breed of
chickens in the island. Agricultural fairs were held, and a large and
varied number of products were displayed.
The vocational school which was under supervision of the Agricul-
tural Experiment Station was discontinued after June 30, 1942, with
the closing of the NYA resident project for boys.
The Superintendent of Public Welfare of the municipality of St.
Thomas and St. John reported a shift of the major activity of his

department from Federal projects to undertakings initiated and sup-
ported by the municipality. This is an encouraging sign of the pros-
perity and social consciousness of the community. Federal projects
still in operation included low-cost housing; food and clothing distri-
bution; and sponsorship of WPA sewing projects. Municipal activ-
ities included monthly pensions; payment of rentals and emergency
relief for the poor; visiting nurse service; workmen's compensation;
wages and hours administration; and public playgrounds. In addi-
tion, the department was responsible for a program dealing with
unemployment. It administered relief activities of the community
chest and a milk fund, these being supported by voluntary contribu-
tions. The municipal council raised the fund for aid to the poor
from $6,340 the previous year (distributed among 396 persons) to
$10,380. The food stamp plan was replaced by direct commodity
distribution under the Food Distribution Administration. The Work-
men's Compensation Commission handled 30 cases of injury, awarding
$1,392.70 in compensation, with some claims pending. Under the
enforcement of the wages and hours act, reports were received from
116 employers, covering 1,430 persons in private industry and from
municipal agencies, covering 445 additional workers. Other Federal
agencies and the military authorities furnished similar information,
enabling this department to compile a comprehensive report on em-
ployment for the entire island. The Division of Public Playgrounds
promoted organized field sports, managed playgrounds and directed
other outdoor activities. In a building donated by the Virgin Islands
distillers, a recreation center was established and is being used enthu-
siastically by both adults and youths. Altogether, a highly developed
and comprehensive program of public welfare came into operation.
The application of the Federal Social Security Program to the islands
is greatly needed and may soon be realized.
The Department of Public Welfare of St. Croix was hampered in
its operations by the inadequacy of funds. The municipal appropria-
tion was $1,640, of which $1,140 was for salaries. The distribution of
food, given directly by the Federal Government instead of through
the stamp plan, was satisfactory.

Education in St. Thomas during the past year was advanced by
the realization of previously formulated plans, in particular by:
(a) the appointment of an assistant superintendent of education, and
six supervising teachers; and (b) by putting into effect an ordinance
raising the standard of teachers' training from the equivalent of an
eighth-grade education, to graduation from high school, with the

addition of a further year's-preparation before being granted a per-
manent certificate. At present, 76 percent of all teachers in service
are holders of high-school diplomas or certificates. On the other
hand, the system suffered through lack of equipment, because of
difficulties in obtaining supplies. A building, purchased a year ago
for vocational work, was not completed and classes were held in
temporary quarters. The demands of war service caused considerable
difficulty in maintaining the full corps of instructors. Moreover,
the increased wartime activity in the city afforded added temptations
to truancy.
The Department of Education in St. Croix also suffered from the
impact of war activities by changes in personnel and difficulties of
obtaining equipment. Certain gains, however, can be reported. The
curriculum of the high school was expanded to include a commercial
and a teacher-training course. Craft work in the grammar school
progressed. A building adjacent to the high school was added to
the plant. Pupils showed a definite improvement in achievement
tests. The training of teachers in both islands was promoted by sum-
mer schools and scholarships at the University of Puerto Rico, made
possible by a generous gift of the Carnegie Corporation.

The relations between military and civil populations were highly
satisfactory, and the cooperation between military authorities and the
local police in maintaining order has been excellent. The Acting Di-
rector of Police of St. Thomas and St. John reported 1,148 arrests, as
against 1,079 in the preceding year. Most of the offenses were,for
larceny, burglary, and prostitution, only seven cases calling for prison
sentences of one year or more. Juvenile delinquency continued to be
a serious problem, one source being truancy. The school for delin-
quent boys in St. John should relieve the situation within the next
The Acting Director of Police in St. Croix reported 250 cases filed
in the police court with 226 convictions, of which 206 were for disturb-
ance of the peace. During the year, 53 prisoners were incarcerated
for both islands, in the penitentiary located at Christiansted. On
June 30, 1943, there were 20 inmates, all male, 11 from St. Croix and
9 from St. Thomas.

The establishment of the St. Thomas Public Library in permanent
quarters in the municipal building, continued to reflect an increased

attendance and circulation. Recataloguing was completed after 2
years of work by the regular staff. The juvenile department was ac-
tive throughout the year, especially during the summer vacation,
when a story hour, with occasional drama, was conducted daily. Dur-
ing the year, the supervising librarian spent 3 months on leave of
absence working in the library of the University of Puerto Rico.
The public library at Christiansted, St. Croix, was extensively
repaired and redecorated. Owing to its partial closing and to delays
in the receipt of books, attendance and circulation declined during
the year.
The annual meeting of the legislative assembly required by the
Organic Act, was held from September 30 to October 9. An amended
parole law was the only piece of legislation enacted. Resolutions were
passed in favor of the appointment of a permanent delegate to repre-
sent the Virgin Islands in Washington, and for the return of internal
revenue taxes collected in the United States on their exported prod-
ucts. It is clear that divergent economies -and interests of St.
Thomas and St. Croix make the obligatory meeting of the legislative
assembly an anachronism, which costs both municipalities heavily
in the time of their council members, traveling expenses, and the
funds required for their compensation while in session. There are
too few matters of common concern which call for joint action to
justify this legislative program once a year. General elections for
members of both municipal councils were held in November and
members took their seats the following January. The membership
and organization remained, with only slight changes from the previ-
ous term. Important legislation passed in the council of St. Thomas
and St. John included the ordinance setting up a program for food
production, already referred to, ordinances relating to prostitution
and controlling venereal disease, and an ordinance to establish a new
system of certificates and scale of salaries for teachers. The most
important legislation passed by the council of St. Croix was a trades
and occupation law, and an ordinance to control the export of food-
stuffs and other essential commodities from St. Croix.

The administrator for St. John, who is also the municipal physician,
reported an excellent condition of health, especially as regards infant
mortality, owing to prenatal and postnatal care. Clinics were held
at Cruz Bay and at Coral Bay. The appointment of an active out-
door clerk to the administrator was amply justified by a quickening

of social and civic life throughout the island, seen in the organization
of athletics, the holding of celebrations on patriotic occasions, and the
raising of funds for community purposes. St. John participated in
the food program of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John by
production of vegetables and eggs for St. Thomas market. Plans
are underway for acquiring abandoned estates for homesteads. The
extraordinary natural beauty of the island will undoubtedly make it
a desirable place of residence and a tourist resort of considerable ap-
.peal, with the return of peace.


There has been improvement in hospitalization and sanitation con-
ditions in the islands. All medical institutions in the islands continue
in dire need of rehabilitation and modernization. The primitive
and unsanitary system of nightsoil disposal continues to be a most
serious menace to the health of the civilian population, as well as to
the armed forces. The open gutters in the towns are shockingly of-
fensive. Unfortunately the correction of most of these conditions
must be deferred, but representations have been made to the Public
Health Service and the Federal Works Agency for projects necessary
eventually to correct these evils.
The extension to the Virgin Islands of Federal aid for vocational
education (under the George-Dean and the Smith-Hughes Acts)
should be urged, and it is recommended that efforts continue to be
made to have such a beneficial training program established here.
There is a continuing need for the return to the Virgin Islands of
the internal revenue taxes which are presently collected in the United
States on products imported into the States originating in the Virgin
Islands. It has been recommended before, and it is recommended here
again, that these internal revenue taxes be returned to the government
of the Virgin Islands.


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