JUL 16 1945lii''
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
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for the Fiscal Year Ended June 3a
Department of the Interior
HAROLD L. ICKES, Secretary
CHARLES HARWOOD, Governor
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Washington 25, D. C. Price 10 cents
Economic Situation................................ 2
Fiscal ............................................. 2
Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John.......... 3
Municipality of St. Croix ........................ 3
The Federal Appropriation ....................... 4
W ar Savings Bonds ................................. 4
Public Works Department ........................... 4
Police and Prison Department........................ 5
Health and Sanitation ............................... 5
Selective Service .................................... 6
The Agricultural Experiment Stations................. 6
Department of Social Welfare........................ 7
The Public Libraries ................................ 7
Education .......................................... 7
The Harbor Department ............................ 8
St. John.............. ............................. 8
The Police Courts .............. ................. .8
Civilian Public Service Unit.......................... 9
Legislative Authorities .............................. 9
Conclusion ................................. ........ 9
Annual Report of the
Governor of the Virgin Islands
CHARLES HARWOOD, Governor
DURING the fiscal year ended June 30, 1944, a number of impor-
tant events occurred in the Virgin Islands of the United States,
most of which were of a beneficial nature. The year was one of defi-
nite progress. The outstanding event was the introduction of a bill
into the House of Representatives designed to assist in the internal
development of the Virgin Islands by the undertaking of useful
projects. This bill, when enacted, will authorize a total appropriation
of upwards of $10,000,000 for improvements to and extensions of
existing facilities in the islands, as well as certain new projects, mainly
hospitalization; sanitation; fire protection; sewerage; water system
and supply; educational; roads, streets, and highways; recreational;
telephone and radio communications; malarial control; and slaughter-
houses and marketing. In its report on the bill, the Committee on
Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives stressed that these
projects would be of permanent and lasting benefit to the residents
of the Virgin Islands.
For the first time the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940
was applied to the Virgin Islands this year. As this act was not
heretofore applicable to the Virgin Islands, registration of Virgin
Islands' males for service in the Armed Forces of the United States
was not accomplished until the President of the United States directed
the registration of all male citizens of the United States, from 18 to
44 years of age, inclusive, who had not previously registered elsewhere.
The Bethlehem Sugar Factory on the Island of St. Croix was re-
opened by the Virgin Islands Co., after lying idle for 13 years. It
processed all the sugarcane harvested on the island, and could have
handled twice as much. The total cane crop was only 33,202 tons, as
compared with 43,093 tons in 1943. Of this, 25,046 tons were converted
into 2,687 tons of sugar, and the balance into rum.
2 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
Shipments of United States Government-inspected beef, pork, and
lamb, totaling about 337,010 pounds, were made from St. Croix to
Puerto Rico and to St. Thomas. The operation of the abattoir proved
to be of immense help to the livestock industry. There has been an
increase in the ownership of cattle by small growers.
For the first time in the history of the islands, women were admitted
to serve on juries by legislation approved in St. Thomas on September
17, 1943, and in St. Croix on March 27, 1944.
The financial condition of both municipalities improved materially
during the year; especially of the municipality of St. Thomas and St.
John. The increased revenues in both municipalities are attributable
primarily to the prosperity of the rum-manufacturing business, inci-
dent to the unusually high production and price of rum, attained as
a result of the shortage of spirituous liquors in continental United
As anticipated in the annual report for the preceding fiscal year,
unemployment-despite the repatriation of many foreign workers who
had been imported for defense construction-was the most serious
consideration in the Virgin Islands during the year under review.
The withdrawal of the Works Projects Administration of the
Federal Works Agency from the Virgin Islands in December 1943
left a considerable number of unfinished projects, particularly road
projects, on the island of St. Thomas, nad water conservation projects
on the island of St. Croix. It also eliminated relief employment for
approximately 1,500 persons. Projects for nursery schools, school
lunches, sewing, health, and vegetable growing projects, formerly
operated by the Work Projects Administration, were taken over and
operated by the municipal governments from December 1943 to June
1944. With the curtailment of employment on defense construction
projects in St. Thomas during the closing months of the fiscal year,
unemployment conditions in this municipality were accentuated. In
St. Croix there was considerable unemployment until the Virgin
Islands Co. opened the cane-harvesting season late in February, which
continued well into the month of May. It is estimated that there are
at the present time between 1,500 and 2,000 unemployed employables
in the Virgin Islands. For a small portion of these, employment will
be provided on municipal projects made possible by the increase in
income taxes on largely increased distilleries' profits.
For the third successive year the municipality of St. Thomas and
St. John operated without a Federal deficit appropriation and on
Jund 30, 1944, the Treasury of the Municipality of St. Thomas and
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands 3
St. John showed a revenue surplus of $57,716.32 over expenditures.
Conversely, the municipality of St. Croix operated with a Federal
deficit appropriation of $140,000.
THE MUNICIPALITY OF ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
The actual revenues of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
were $1,617,705.36, including $75,497.33 transferred from surplus
funds of the preceding fiscal year, and $2,000 from the operating fund
of the St. Thomas Virgin Islands Lottery. The comparable figure
for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1943, was $693,801.37. Thus, total
income for the fiscal year 1944 exceeded by 133 percent the preceding
Income-tax collections at $1,295,380.50 was an increase of 178.3
percent over the amount of $465,447.76 collected in the preceding fiscal
year. In 1942 income-tax collections were $316,067.67, and in 1936
the revenue from this source was only $18,237.08. Real property taxes
yielded $56,825.28, compared with $54,462.23 in the preceding year.
Gasoline taxes and automobile license fees were $17,823.24, compared
with $14,398.68 in 1943, an increase of 23.7 percent. Customs revenues
yielded '$39,800 compared with $28,200 in 1943, an increase of 41.1
percent. Pilotage fees decreased 131 percent, from $10,597.52 in 1943
to $4,587.57 in 1944. Although there was a large reduction in the
collection of pilotage fees, thus emphasizing the changed economy of
the island of St. Thomas incident to the war, and the reduction of
shipping, it will be noted that other revenues, particularly those from
income taxes, more than equalized the position.
The budget for the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John car-
ried total appropriations of $1,559,989.04. Major departmental
appropriations were: Public works and fire, $379,000; education,
$135,000; municipal hospital, $134,000; police and prison, $57,000; the
legislature, $33,000; sanitation service, $24,000; public welfare,
$56,000; and harbor, $26,000.
MUNICIPALITY OF ST. CROIX
The revenues of the municipality of St. Croix amounted to
$262,684.89; compared with $194,440.63 in the preceding years, an
increase of 35.1 percent. Income-tax collections were $114,836.45, as
compared with $46,977.22 in 1943, an increase of 144.45 percent.
Real property taxes yielded $48,358.86, and in 1943, $59,558.34, a
decrease of $11,199.48. The budget for the municipality of St. Croix
embodied total appropriations of $412,515, of which local revenues
were estimated to supply $272,515, and a Federal appropriation,
4 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
Major departmental appropriations were: Education, $58,000;
public works, $65,000; police and prison, $31,000; Christiansted Hos-
pital, $33,000; Frederiksted Hospital, $29,000; Kingshill Home,
$23,000; the legislature, $9,000; and sanitation, $9,000.
THE FEDERAL APPROPRIATION
The Federal appropriation for the government of the Virgin
Islands, fiscal year 1944, were:
Central Administration--.---------------------- $168, 820. 00
Agricultural Experiment Station------------------ 37, 640. CO
Deficit, municipality of St. Croix------------------ 140,000.00
The following supplemental appropriations for overtime and ter-
ritorial service differential were added to the above:
Central Administration--------------------- ----$ 18, 000. 00
Agricultural Experiment Station------------------ 9,175.00
Total supplemental appropriation----- 27, 175.00
Comparable 1943 appropriations were:
Central Administration -------------------------- $167, 230. 00
Agricultural Experiment Station-- ...------- 40,140.00
Deficit, municipality of St. Croix---------------- 159, 800. 00
WAR SAVINGS BONDS
The municipality of St. Thomas and St. John invested $299,951 in
War Savings bonds with total maturity value of $386,050. Of its
surplus revenues, this municipality created a hospital building fund
with a deposit of $200,000; a high-school building fund of $50,000;
a sewer-system fund of $150,000; a reserve fund of $100,000; and a
scholarship fund of $10,000. The major portions of these funds were
invested in War Savings bonds. The municipality of St. Croix
invested $56,300 in War Savings bonds.
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
Due to the war emergency, the Public Works Department en-
countered many difficulties in procuring critical materials from
continental United States. Consequently, many projects had to be
postponed for an indefinite period of time. However, assignments
were carried out with materials available here and in Puerto Rico,
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands 5
The Federal Works Agency water-supply project with total storage
capacity of 1,700,000 gallons, was more than 60 percent completed.
Five catchment areas and five cisterns were completed, a sixth was
90 percent built, and a seventh, 50 percent. Lack of wire fencing
and galvanized iron sheets held up the final completion of this work.
In an effort to improve the water-supply facilities in the eastern end
of St. Thomas, development work was started by the construction of
a well, and excavation of a small run-off catchment basin. The re-
sults were excellent, and plans are now being made to extend this type
of work. This seems to be the first large-scale effort to impound fresh
water in St. Thomas.
The dirt highways on St. Thomas have all been machine-graded,
and are in a better condition today than ever before. The city streets
have been improved, new bridges built, a series of masonry steps
completed, some open gutters covered with concrete tops, and a number
of dirt streets widened and hard-surfaced with asphalt.
In St. John, the department constructed a pier at the Juvenile
School. Extensions were also completed to the Cruz Bay pier, and
to the Coral Bay pier.
The scope of the Public Works Department's activities in St. Croix
included the maintenance and repair of public buildings, streets, water
supply systems, and public parks. Due to limited allotments, most of
the year's work was restricted to routine upkeep and maintenance.
Only a minimum of actual construction was possible.
POLICE AND PRISON DEPARTMENT
The relations between the military and the civilian population con-
tinued to be highly satisfactory; a fine spirit of cooperation, of which
we are proud, exists between the military authorities and the local
police. The director of police of St. Thomas reports that a total of
1,182 persons were arrested during the fiscal year ending June 30,
1944, as against 1,148 arrests in the preceding year. The major por-
tion of the cases were for disorderly conduct, violation of the auto-
mobile ordinances, and other minor offenses. The director of police
of St. Croix reported that there were 237 cases filed, with 212 con-
victions; as against 250 cases filed, and 226 convictions, during the
HEALTH AND SANITATION
The commissioner of health in St. Thomas reported that for the
first time in 12 years seven cases of typhoid fever were diagnosed.
A mass immunization against this fever was started promptly and
the public response was most satisfactory. The incidence of venereal
disease has been high in the past few years, but has shown distinct
6 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
signs of dwindling due, no doubt, to measures of control and hos-
pitalization maintained through the assistance of the United States
Public Health Service and the Federal Works Agency. The munici-
pal slaughterhouse, nightsoil removal dump, and harbor pollution
continue to be serious health hazards.
The work of the municipal physicians continued to be carried out
under various hardships, among which are dilapidated and ancient
hospital buildings and facilities, and outmoded equipment. However,
extensive repairs are now under way at St. Thomas and, when com-
pleted, will generally improve the physical appearance of the struc-
tures. The general health standard in St. Croix was good. Olinics
were conducted in infant welfare and prenatal care. Infant mortality
was undoubtedly reduced by the free distribution of milk at the
various infant-welfare clinics. The Kingshill Home for indigents
averaged 130 inmates. This institution is in good condition, and al-
though many of its items of equipment are in good shape, new fur-
nishings should be obtained as soon as war-time restrictions are lifted.
There were no admissions to the Leper Colony during the fiscal year
1944. There were 2 deaths, which decreased the total to 54 lepers
The Selective Service Act was made applicable to the Virgin Islands
by the proclamation signed by President Roosevelt on October 26, 1943.
Registration began on' November 16, 1943. The Selective Service
System was organized in January 1944, with the Governor as State
Director, and with the superintendents of education in St. Thomas and
St. Croix as administrative assistants. Local board operations were
started in April. At the end of the fiscal year, 2,185 men were regis-
tered by the St. Thomas Local Board, and 1,475 by the St. Croix Local
Board. The total number of inductees supplied in the first call for
the Virgin Islands, from both local boards, was 211, all of whom were
volunteers for immediate induction.
THE AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
There was a continued improvement in the food supply of both St.
Croix and St. Thomas despite a severe drought. The St. Croix station
made comparative tests in planting sugarcane and found a new variety
to be far superior to the common types formerly used. Several thou-
sand cuttings were distributed to the sugar growers. The agricultural
fair held on the island of St. Croix on February 22, 1944, which fea-
tured assorted types of agricultural exhibits, handcraft, and school
group-work displays, was an outstanding success. Federal Works
Agency's funds enabled a dam to be completed at the St. Croix sta-
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands 7
tion with a capacity of approximately 4,000,000 gallons of water. Ap-
proximately 346,000 slips of all kinds were distributed for planting.
Studies and experiments were continued with the view to improving
and increasing swine production on the smaller farms. The St.
Thomas station distributed 160,000 vegetable slips.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE
During the year, certain trends and undertakings which should
have a far-reaching effect on the work of the social welfare depart-
ment, and its contribution to the islands' life, have been noted, among
which being the enactment of the Social Welfare Act of 1943. This
act was adopted by the legislative assembly of the Virgin Islands,.
setting up standards and a legal framework for social services in the
Virgin Islands, and providing a basis for cooperation and coordination
of activities in the separate municipalities of St. Thomas-St. John, and
The Federal Social Security Board has recommended to Congress-
that several portions of the act, specifically, old-age assistance, aid
to dependent children, aid to the blind, maternal and child welfare,
and public health work, be extended to these islands. It is hoped that
this legislation will become law within the next year.
Another important event was the opening of the Queen Louise
Home for the Aged in St. Thomas. This institution fills a long-felt
need for local facilities to care for the destitute poor of St. Thomas.
Cash aid to the poor in St. Thomas and St. John increased nearly
one-third this year to the total of $23,583.15, as compared with
$17,977.63 last year. In St. Croix pensions and other aid to the poor,
exclusive of Kings Hill Home totaled $11,420. The operating costs
of Kings Hill Home were $23,850.
THE PUBLIC LIBRARIES
Adult and juvenile attendance have increased considerably in the
public libraries of both municipalities. In St. Thomas the juvenile
department was especially active during the summer months, and the
story hour period was continued. Some new equipment was obtained
and many new books added to the two public libraries in St. Croix.
The educational system in St. Thomas has developed greatly during
the past year. Notable examples are that the pay rates for teachers
have been raised, and the Superintendent's staff now includes adminis-
trative and supervisory assistants in the fields of physical education,,
art, music, attendance, adult education through the evening school,
8 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
vocational training, pre-school child development, and teacher train-
ing. The nursery schools are now an important branch of the educa-
'tional system. The teachers' institute conducts courses for teachers
in service and training each spring and summer. A scholarship fund
is also maintained to assist deserving graduates by means of loans for
college expenses to the United States. Many scholarship grants were
also made for students and teachers in the fields of education, public
health, and nursing. While new school buildings and equipment,
which are sadly needed throughout the islands, are virtually unob-
tainable at present, positive measures have been taken to assure action
on a comprehensive building program as soon as war-time restrictions
have been lifted.
In St. Croix, problems of teacher replacement, securing new equip-
ment, and maintaining equipment already on hand, unfortunately,
were so great as to force curriculum revision and supervision to second
place. Nevertheless, there was definite progress along certain lines.
A vegetable production course taught by the extension agent of the
agricultural station was highly successful. Courses in nutrition were
given, a summer school was conducted, and adult education programs
were improved and expanded.
THE HARBOR DEPARTMENT
The harbormaster reported that shipping was poor due to the fact
that war regulations prevented neutral ships from calling here.
Eighty-six United States Government-owned ships, and 156 merchant
vessels, or a total of 242 vessels with gross tonnage of 259,577, entered
St. Thomas, as compared with 1,220 vessels with a total tonnage of
3,943,124 which called here during 1941.
The administrator for St. John, who is also the municipal physician
of that island, has presented a picture of the excellent health condi-
tions on the island of St. John. Regular monthly check-ups were
given at the clinics located at the Cruz Bay and Coral Bay districts.
Although there were no cases of typhoid, 326 inoculations were given.
The administrator's office was very active during the year in a series
of island-wide projects, including a Young Men's Athletic Club, a
Boy Scout Troop, War Bond drives, Community Chest collection
activities, drives for Red Cross funds, and various patriotic programs.
THE POLICE COURTS
The police judge of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
reported that 1,122 persons were tried for criminal offenses during the
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands 9
year, the greater number of which were for violations of the auto-
mobile ordinance. Eleven persons were tried in St. John. In St.
Croix 363 criminal cases were tried, representing a small increase over
last year's figure; but there was a marked decrease in juvenile court
CIVILIAN PUBLIC SERVICE UNIT
During the year, units of civilian public service were organized in
the Virgin Islands with the approval of the United States Selective
Service System. Workers in the fields of psychiatry, vocational edu-
cation, child welfare and group recreation, were brought to the islands
under local municipal sponsorship and they have undertaken many
worthwhile public projects.
The most important piece of legislation enacted during the session
of the Virgin Islands Legislative Assembly last December was the
Social Welfare Act of 1943. This.act provides standards for improv-
ing social welfare services, the immediate purpose of which is to make
the islands eligible for Social Security grants as soon as certain titles
of the Social Security Act are extended by Congress.
It is unhappily and unfortunately evident that, in the past, these
sessions of the legislative assembly have failed to produce a history of
useful results commensurate with the time and expense involved in
holding them. An explanation can only be found in the divergent
economies and interests of the two municipalities which have en-
couraged the short-sighted policy of considering individual problems
first at the expense of the broader needs of the collective group.
During the year the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
passed such important legislation as scholarship loans and grants, the
legalizing of women jurors, and the appropriation of surplus funds.
into reserves earmarked for post-war construction projects. These
funds are invested in War Savings bonds.
Among the important measures passed by the municipality of St.
Croix are the legalizing of women jurors, and a pension bill which
provides for the retirement of municipal employees at the age of 65
or before if a total disability is sustained. This bill also makes certain
provisions for the dependents of deceased employees.
The abnormal increase in municipal revenues in the Virgin Islands
which permitted the extension and expansion of essential Government
functions during the year under review, and which will undoubtedly
continue during the coming fiscal year, resulting, as it did, from in-
10 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands
creased distilleries' profits, cannot be counted upon as a stable source
of revenue for the future. Price and profits will undoubtedly drop
close to normal when the distillation of beverage spirits is again re-
sumed by continental producers.
.As reported last year, all medical institutions are in dire need of
rehabilitation and modernization, the primitive and unsanitary sys-
tem of night-soil disposal, and the open drains and gutters in all
towns, are a menace to the health of the people.
If and when Congress enacts the pending bill to provide large-scale
appropriations for public works facilities of the islands, it will pro-
vide most of the physical improvements which have been long needed.