A 7 -
OFTEGVROO H VIRGI ISAND
TOTES ERT Y OFTENERO
OF THE GOVERNOR OF
TO THE SECRETARY
OF THE INTERIOR
FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30 1945
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Harold L. Ickes, Secretary
TERRITORY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
Charles Harwood, Governor
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1945
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. 0.
Price 10 cents .
Economic situation___ ------------------------- 1
Fiscal __--------------------------------------- 3
Public works department. --------------------------------
Police and prison department_--_------------------------ 6
Police court__-------------------------------------- 6
Public libraries--------------------------------------- 6
Harbor department------------------------------------ 6
The municipal market ---------------------------------
Education_ -- ------------------7--------------------
Health and sanitation--------------------------------- 8
United States public health grants------------------- 9
Department of social welfare------------------------------ 9
Selective Service-------------------------------------- 10
The agricultural station -------------------------------- 10
St. John------- ------------------------------------ 11
Homesteads --------------------------------------- 11
Public utilities ------- -------------------------------- 12
Immigration_ 1------------ -------------------------- i
Federal personnel problems ------------------------------ 13
Legislative authorities----------- ----------------------- 15
Conclusion ---_----------------------------------------- 16
Annual Report of
the Governor of the Virgin Islands
CHARLES HARWOOD, Governor
This year, as the global war moved swiftly and inexorably to its
close, Virgin Islanders turned their thoughts to the cushioning of
their economy against the inevitable shock of postwar unemployment
and possible effects of internal as well as external retrogression.
With the conclusion of World War II, it can now be said authorita-
tively that the price which the United States paid for the islands has
been more than adequately repaid by the strategic value of the islands
as the keystone of the arch protecting the Caribbean Sea approaches
to the Panama Canal. The extensive military preparations and
investments made here in the early days of the war against Germany
indicated the view which military experts took of the importance of
the islands in the general plan of hemispheric defense.
The postwar program for the Virgin Islands has centered around
the projected construction of public works, health and sanitation
facilities for which Congress, by Public Law 510 approved December
20, 1944, authorized appropriations totaling 10 million dollars.
New hospital facilities, sanitation and fire protection, sewer and
water systems, sewage treatment and disposal, water supply facilities,
schools and educational buildings, water-front improvements, high-
ways, roads and streets, recreational facilities, telephone and radio
communication, malaria control, and slaughterhouse and market
facilities, are included in this five year program authorized to be
constructed by the Federal Works Agency. An initial appropriation
was made for plans and specifications. Actual construction appropria-
tions were withheld because of the war necessity of conserving
critical materials, but it is expected that an appropriation of the
first 2 million dollars will be made within the next few months per-
mitting construction to begin early in 1946.
The economic future of the island of St. Thomas, an excellent
bunkering port, must of necessity continue to revolve around the
2 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
activities of its harbor and upon its natural beauty and attractions for
tourists and winter residents. Some of the effects of the temporarily
disrupted harbor business in St. Thomas incident to the war were
offset in the past 2 years by improvements in the island's economy due
to the suddenly expanded liquor business. Recently the harbor of
Charlotte Amalie began to show signs of a recurrence of its once
healthy activity as neutral ships again were permitted to call here
A hint of what postwar tourism might mean to the economy of the
islands has been given by the increasing use of the recreational facili-
ties of the island of St. Thomas, in recent months, by the Army as a
rest and recreation area for short furloughs of GIs from nearby bases.
Our limited hotel facilities were overtaxed, indicating the imperative
need for additional hotels before any concentrated emphasis is placed
on advertising the islands as a postwar resort. It is doubtful, how-
ever, if American capital can be persuaded to invest until there is proof
of the willingness of local capital to assist.
A tremendous advance for the islands was the recent merging of a
Puerto Rican air line, servicing the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with
one of the large national air lines bringing new, modern, and fast air
equipment to the Islands, as well as the recent extension of daily air
service from the mainland to the island of St. Thomas by another
American air line. The tourist possibilities thus opened are vast.
Here, as possibly in no other place under the American flag, Ameri-
cans seeking relief from sweltering summers and zero weather may find
perpetual sunshine, equable climate, good beaches, excellent sport
fishing, horseback riding on mountain trails with unsurpassed views,
and may live in substantial comfort among a friendly, law-abiding,
and intelligent people.
As for centuries past, the economic story of the island of St. Croix
still revolves around the growing and processing of sugarcane even
though the cane acreage of the island is now less than one-third of what
it was in the island's heyday. Literally a drop in the bucket of the
world's sugar market, St. Croix this year produced 4,040 tons of raw
sugar, while 3,200 tons of cane were processed for rum. And this-
the major economic factor of the island of St. Croix-is perenially
handicapped by lack of rainfall, marginal low-yield land, and sugar
The Virgin Islands Co., operating St. Croix' only sugar mill and
1 of its 2 distilleries, continues to be the substance as well as the
nucleus of the island's economic life. It provides wage employment in
field and factory and self-employment by its processing of cane for over
500 small farmers. For a quarter of a century, sugar has been a losing
business in St. Croix, but in 1944 the Virgin Islands Co. was able to
balance out a decade of losses in sugar by unusual profits on rum. It
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 3
has been and is a project affording the employment and facilities and
public services which private enterprises were unable to continue and
which no one would undertake.
For the fourth successive fiscal year the municipality of St. Thomas
and St. John operated without a Federal deficit appropriation. On
June 30, 1945, the treasury of the municipality of St. Thomas and
St. John showed a revenue surplus of $104,919.71. Conversely, the
municipality of St. Croix operated with a Federal deficit appropria-
tion of $100,000. Of this amount, approximately $51,000 was un-
expended as of June 30, 1945.
The municipality of St. Thomas and St. John.-The actual revenues
of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John amounted to
$1,257,416.53, including $112,151.97 transferred from surplus funds
of the preceding year, and $7,200 from the operating fund of the
St. Thomas Virgin Islands lottery. The comparable figure for the
fiscal year ended June 30, 1944, was $1,617,705.36. Thus, total
income in the fiscal year 1945 showed a decrease under the preceding
year's income of 22.27 percent.
Income-tax collections at $941,090.47 reflected a decrease of 27.35
percent when compared with the amount of $1,295,380.50 collected
in the preceding fiscal year. Real property taxes yielded $63,902.63,
as compared with $56,825.28 in the preceding year, an increase of
12.45 percent. Gasoline taxes and automobile license fees were
$17,803.37 compared with $17,823.24 in 1944, a decrease of 0.11
percent. Customs revenues yielded $12,900 compared with $39,800
in 1944, a decrease of 67.59 percent. Pilotage fees decreased 2.5
percent from $4,587.57 in 1944, to $4,470.22 in 1945.
Revenues from income tax and customs dues reflected the tapering
down of rum sales to the United States, a general slump in local busi-
ness due to the curtailment of military projects and other public-works
programs; and a decrease in shipping activities due to war conditions.
The budget for this municipality carried total appropriations of
$1,152,496.82. Major departmental appropriations were: Public
works and fire, $310,013.23; education, $191,680; municipal hospital,
$128,428.75; police and prison, $63,912.50; the legislature, $38,700;
sanitation service, $26,800.03; social welfare, $78,055; and harbor,
The municipality of St. Croix.-The revenues of the municipality
of St. Croix amounted to $515,383.28, compared with $262,684.89 in
the preceding year, an increase of 96.20 percent. Income-tax collec-
tions were $391,075.63, as compared with $114,836.45 in 1944, an
increase of 240.55 percent. Real-property taxes yielded $53,660.06,
and in 1944, $48,358.86, an increase of 10.96 percent.
4 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
The budget for this municipality carried total appropriations of
$589,558, of which local revenues were estimated at $489,558, and a
Federal appropriation of $100,000. Major departmental appropria-
tions were: Public works, $134,764; education, $78,249; police and
prison, $50,843; Christiansted Hospital, $40,662; Frederiksted Hos-
pital, $33,882; the Kingshill Home, $29,950; the legislature, $13,610;
and the sanitation service, $11,148.
Of the Federal appropriation of $100,000 for defraying the deficit
of the municipality of St. Croix for the fiscal year 1945, approximately
$51,000 has not been expended and will be returned to the Treasury
of the United States as an unobligated balance of the said appropria-
tion. This unexpected situation is due to an unprecedented increase
in income taxes from the rum industry during the fiscal year 1945.
As the deficit appropriation is not considered to be an outright grant
to the municipal government, and is accountable to the Comptroller
General of the United States in the same manner as all other direct
Federal appropriations, it is held that when local revenues exceed, as
they did in 1945, the normal operating requirements of the municipal
government, the resulting saving in the Federal deficit appropriation
does not belong to the municipal government, and is to be returned
to the United States.
The wide variation in revenues of the municipality of St. Croix for
the years 1944 and 1945 was due almost entirely to a corresponding
rise and fall of income taxes from the rum industry, as predicted in last
year's annual report, this unusual revenue resulting as it did from
increased distilleries' profits could not be counted upon as a stable
source of future revenue. Prices and profits dropped suddenly and
precipitously when, by reason of the so-called "whisky holidays" the
distillation of beverage spirits was permitted by continental producers.
The Virgin Islands Co., which had lost $300,000 up to 1944, made
a profit of over $700,000 in that year, and paid an income tax of
$207,000 to the municipal treasury of St. Croix in 1945. Yet the
municipality of St. Croix faces total budgetary collapse in the coming
fiscal year because of the withdrawal of a Federal deficit appropriation
based on the previous year's prosperity when, in fact, the Virgin
Islands Co. will pay only about $14,000 in income taxes in 1946, as it
shipped no rum after the first week of July 1944.
In St. Croix, long-neglected municipal services were greatlyimproved
during the year under review. Meager municipal salaries were in-
creased. They are, however, still below the level of comparable posi-
tions in Federal agencies and lower than salaries in St. Thomas.
Maintenance appropriations of all departments were increased in
1945 due to the additional funds made available as a result of the large
income tax paid by the Virgin Islands Co.
The Congress disapproved a Federal deficit appropriation for the
coming fiscal year, apparently due to the temporary prosperity which
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 5
the municipality enjoyed in the fiscal year 1945. As a result of this
action, the municipal treasury of St. Croix faces a deficit of $152,000
in 1946, unless a deficiency appropriation is passed in the near future.
The administration of the government of the Virgin Islands is con-
vinced that community services in St. Croix are still far below a decent
minimum, and that any further reduction in expenses cannot be made
without impairing the already inadequate health, sanitation, educa-
tional, and relief services of the municipal government. No factor
can be found at this time to relieve the picture of the continued
dependence of the island of St. Croix on Federal assistance.
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
Due to the continuation of the war emergency, the public works
department confined itself to the accomplishment of work which
could be done with materials obtainable here and in Puerto Rico.
The construction of water supply units, under a Federal Works
Agency appropriation, was completed with the exception of protective
fencing and piping. Eleven new water supply units were completed.
The present water storage capacity of the public supply units totals
3,483,000 gallons. Completion of work now underway would assure
a water supply of over 3)' million gallons for use of the general public.
Several new roads were constructed, others were widened and im-
proved. A series of masonry steps were also completed. Drainage
gutters were cleaned, paved, and reconstructed.
Following up the preparation and revision of preliminary estimates
covering various projects for the development of the islands, under
the 10 million dollar bill passed by Congress, the Department carried
out various assignments in connection with studies being made on
such projects as water supply facilities, electric power plant and
distribution system, and sewage disposal. Experimental dams were
constructed in accordance with instructions presented by consultant
engineers of the Federal Works Agency.
In St. John the Department conducted extensive surveys in connec-
tion with the development of homesteads.
St. Croix was fortunate to receive an increase in appropriations, for
this Department, from $66,000 in 1944 to $135,000. In addition to
the ordinary maintenance of public structures, many of them were
given thorough overhauling long needed, and such improvements as
conditions required. Concrete gutters throughout both towns were
repaired where needed, and more than a mile of additional drainage
was installed. Much of the island's 110 miles of dirt roads was re-
graded; and the wharves and sea-walls received their share of atten-
tion to the extent of available funds.
6 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
POLICE AND PRISON DEPARTMENT
The director of police of St. Thomas reports that a total of 1,137
persons were arrested during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1945, as
against 1,182 arrests in the preceding year. The major portion of
these cases were for disorderly conduct, violations of the automobile
ordinance, and other minor offenses.
The outstanding contribution in this fiscal year has been several
lectures and demonstrations on police work given by officers of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The director of police of St. Croix reported that there were 154
cases filed with 129 convictions as against 237 cases filed and 212
convictions during the preceding year. The police department of
St. Croix also received the benefit of lectures under the auspices of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The police judge of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
reported that 1,019 persons were tried for criminal offenses during
the year, the greater number of which were for violations of the
automobile ordinance. This was a slight decrease under the preceding
year when 1,122 persons were tried for criminal offenses. Fifteen
persons were tried in St. John. In St. Croix, 320 criminal cases were
tried, representing a decrease under last year's figure of 363 cases.
Adult and juvenile attendance and the circulation of books in the
public libraries of both municipalities have been satisfactory, con-
sidering the limited space and books available. In St. Thomas, the
juvenile department conducted its annual story hour activities. In
St. Croix, increased appropriations permitted purchasing of a large
number of books. In both municipalities the salaries paid are too
low, in addition to the fact that both libraries are understaffed.
This year again reflected a very bad period in shipping, due to war
regulations and other restrictions. A total of 204 vessels, with gross
tonnage of 264,640, entered St. Thomas, of which 40 were United
States Government owned ships with a gross tonnage of 68,709.
Shipping, therefore, showed a slight increase compared with last
year's figures of a total of 242 vessels with gross tonnage of 259,577.
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 7
THE MUNICIPAL MARKET
On April 1, 1945, the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John
assumed, by virtue of a lease from the Virgin Islands Co., the opera-
tion of the modern cold-storage market erected here in 1942 by the
Department of the Interior. A special fund of $11,000 was set aside
by the municipal council for financing its operation under the super-
vision of a board of management and a general manager. While it is
too early to make any over-all statement with regard to the outlook
of this institution, it is encouraging to note that the initial reports
indicate that the operating loss sustained by the Virgin Islands Co.
has been reduced.
This year, as in the preceding year, education in the municipality of
St. Thomas and St. John has enjoyed more adequate financial support.
It has been possible to increase to some extent the staff of the elemen-
tary teachers in response to the increase in enrollment. While total
expenditures have exceeded $200,000 in contrast to $50,000 for educa-
tional services in 1936, very few improvements have been made to
school plants and equipment due to wartime restrictions.
Vocational training has continued to receive the support of the
Government and facilities have been improved. A new temporary
building is now under construction to provide space for motor mechan-
ics and metal work.
In addition to the teacher-training program under the auspices of
the Teachers' Institute, a plan has been adopted whereby four teachers
of the public school system are to be released annually for study in the
continental United States and Puerto Rico. Scholarships have been
granted to these teachers to assist them in their expenses.
The adult education program has continued to receive gratifying
response. Enrollment and attendance surpass that of preceding years.
The nursery school and school lunch system, which came under
municipal management during the latter half of the preceding year
upon termination of WPA operation, was continued throughout the
school year, supported entirely by municipal funds except for Federal
aid in the form of free commodities. Approximately 450 children were
in daily average attendance at nursery school centers, and lunches
were served to approximately 1,600 children daily.
The need of a new high school and certain elementary schools, in
addition to the remodeling of certain existing schools, continue to be
the greatest handicap to the program of education in this municipality.
Present limitations of space have required the application of measures
to restrict high school enrollments within the limits of maximum capac-
8 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
ity of classroom space. There is no prospect of extending the facilities
of education until an extensive construction program of school building
is launched. The only hope for the future is in the 10-million-dollar
public works program for the Virgin Islands which has recently
received favorable enabling legislation from Congress.
The municipality of St. Croix, through the unexpected increase in
revenues, has been able to improve the substandard salaries of teachers.
The school-lunch program and adult education were continued within
the limits of average funds. The municipality of St. Croix, like the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, is handicapped by the lack
of suitable school buildings and equipment. A program of teacher
training continues to include summer sessions and encouragement of
teachers to take further studies in the continental United States and
HEALTH AND SANITATION
The commissioner of health in St. Thomas reported that the munic-
ipal slaughterhouses, nightsoil removal dump, and harbor pollution
continue to be serious health hazards.
This year the legislative assembly enacted an inadequate ordinance
to govern the production, inspection, and sale of milk, While it is
better than no statute at all, it is hardly a means to safeguard the
people of the islands from the ill effects of unsafe milk.
The legislative assembly also adopted an ordinance dealing with
sanitary regulations for slaughterhouses and meat-selling places.
This law required implementation by regulations. Such implementa-
tion was afforded in the municipality of St. Croix. In the munici-
pality of St. Thomas and St. John the ordinance is still virtually
useless because of the failure of the municipal council to adopt the
necessary supplementary regulations.
The benefits of the United States Public Health Service grants have
been extended to the Virgin Islands. Under these grants, public
health nurses have been trained in special health work in continental
United States. A photo-fluoroscopic outfit for mass chest pictures in
the case-finding campaign against tuberculosis has been ordered. It
is planned to send sanitation inspectors to Puerto Rico for training.
During the year under review, epidemics have been gratifyingly
scarce, and the general health of the islands is good. Slight improve-
ments were made in hospital buildings and facilities in St. Thomas.
In St. Croix, the general health standard was good. Work on
tuberculosis control and venereal disease control was continued suc-
cessfully with the assistance of the United States Public Health
Considerable attention was devoted to the increasing incidence of
marine typhus on the island of St. Thomas. The United States Public
Health Service recommended a program of rat extermination for the
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 9
permanent reduction of rats. After a long delay, and appeals for
further assistance to the United States Public Health Service, the
municipal council of St. Thomas and St. John belatedly adopted an
ordinance to protect -the public health by controlling the spread of
endemic typhus fever and authorized a fund of $15,000 to finance its
operation and the purchase of necessary materials. This ordinance
generally provides that all business places in the city of Charlotte
Amalie shall be ratproofed, freed of rats, and maintained in a ratproof
and rat-free condition under the supervision of the department of
health. Actual ratproofing is expected to commence in the fall of
1945 as soon as materials which have been ordered are received. The
Public Health Service has stated that when endemic typhus fever
breaks out in a community, its advance is not spectacular, but it
advances like a steam roller and kills between 5 to 30 percent of its
victims. Two cases were reported in St. Thomas in 1942, 8 cases in
1943, 23 cases with 1 death in 1944, and 7 cases up to June 30, 1945.
UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH GRANTS
In keeping with the provisions of the Venereal Disease Control Act
of 1938, the United States Public Health Service, Federal Security
Agency, allocated the sum of $14,000 for the support and expansion
of the program to suppress venereal diseases in the Virgin Islands
during the fiscal year 1945. The fight against these diseases has been
waged since 1939 with regular annual Federal aid, each year bringing
an increase in the appropriation.
Noteworthy projects out of these funds have been the enlarging
and supplementing of the clinic rooms at the municipal hospital in
St. Thomas to provide more space for examination and privacy, and
the training of a supervising public health nurse for the municipality
of St. Croix.
Under the provisions of subsection (b) of section 314 of the Public
Health Service Act for the fiscal year 1945, the Virgin Islands likewise
received the sum of $4,025 for months of May and June, to be expended
in the control of tuberculosis.
It is anticipated that a general health appropriation will be given
in addition to the'venereal disease and tuberculosis appropriations for
the next fiscal year to initiate the training of sanitation inspectors
Sand operate a program to eradicate endemic typhus fever.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE
Improved finances permitted this department to render more
adequate assistance to the poor in the form of cash assistance, com-
munity grants, services of various kinds, and institutionalization
of the aged.
10 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
In St. Thomas and St. John, cash aid to the poor increased from
$23,583.15 in the fiscal year 1944 to $28,600.51 this year. In St.
Croix, regular cash aid to the poor was increased from $9,000 in the
last fiscal year to $15,000 this year. It is interesting to note that in
the municipality of St. Croix, grants which were once made as low as
$1 per month were increased to a minimum of $2.50 and distributed to
more than 400 indigents; while in St. Thomas the comparable mini-
mum grant is $5 and is distributed to a similar number of unemploy-
In both municipalities there was a. gratifying improvement in the
social services, and especially in child welfare work. Approximately
20 juvenile delinquent boys were satisfactorily institutionalized under
competent educational and social guidance. The boys' home was
removed from its inadequate and remote quarters on the island of St.
John to more commodious and satisfactory quarters on the island of
St. Thomas, formerly occupied by the Civilian Conservation Corps
and subsequently as an Army camp.
Community recreation was improved through the development of
new programs, and the construction of new recreational facilities in
St. Thomas. The municipal housing authorities in both municipali
ties submitted formal applications to the Federal Housing Authority
for postwar low-rent housing projects, and it is hoped that these
applications will meet with success in order to relieve the congested
housing situation now existing.
The most serious problem throughout the year was that of unem-
ployment. This situation was aggravated by the cessation of military
projects, and the decline of private industries as a result of decreased
rum shipments and general business decline. Some relief was afforded
in both municipalities by the appropriation of funds by the municipal
councils for employment on needed public works projects.
By June 30, 1945, there were 688 inductees from the Virgin Islands
in the armed forces. In most instances, their military pay plus allow-
ances to dependents exceeded previous family incomes and constituted
a substantial improvement in the islands' economy.
THE AGRICULTURAL STATION
The program of the agricultural station this year was retarded by
personnel shortages. The director and the agronomist resigned during
the year and have not yet been replaced. These vacancies left the
already small staff considerably handicapped.
The Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 11
recently reported, in connection with the appropriation for the station
for the next fiscal year, that there has been a marked improvement in
conditions and change of policy. Research and experimental work
has been eliminated and emphasis has been placed on that phase of
agricultural extension work which is intended to give direct aid to
farmers of the islands in an effort to improve farm practices.
The work of the extension agent in St. Croix involved visiting
small farmers, distributing slips, assisting in the planning and laying
out of garden plots, and giving instruction in planting, cultivation, and
management. In St. Thomas, the agricultural station furnished
advice and assistance to the local farmers and distributed seeds and
slips. A program of poultry and livestock development was continued.
A catchment area and water-storage reservoir were built at one
district on the island of St. John. Additional facilities of this charac-
ter, for the purpose of obtaining increased water supplies for the
people, are urgently needed in other districts. A homesteading
program was established, and about 50 persons have taken advantage
of the opportunity, and are working with enthusiasm to clear their
lands and prepare them for habitation.
A home for delinquent boys was established in a remote section of
the island in the early part of the fiscal year. Later the building was
abandoned, and the boys were moved to St. Thomas. It is planned
to use this building as a clinic in the coming fiscal year.
The general health of the island was satisfactory. Although there
has been no outbreak of typhoid fever, 379 inoculations were given.
The administrator's office continued to encourage island-wide par-
ticipation in projects such as the Boy Scout movement, study groups,
branch libraries, and various national drives.
On the island of St. Thomas, the municipal homestead commission
surveyed and allocated 37 parcels or lots ranging, in the city area, from
a minimum of 1,400 square feet to a maximum of 7,000 square feet,
and in price from a minimum of $10 to a maximum of $25. In the
rural area, the lots range from a minimum of 1 acre to a maximum of
6 acres, the minimum price being $130 and the maximum $530.
Sixty-three additional plots were surveyed and subdivided, and are in
the process of allocation to eligible applicants. All but 3 applicants
paid cash for their plots.
On St. John, steady progress was made in the survey of 2 estates
purchased for homesteading. Tentative allocations were made to
12 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
about 25 prospective homesteaders, most of whom have deposited
approximately one-fifth of the total selling price. There will be ap-
proximately 150 house plots to be allocated on these estates. The
St. John homesteads will range from a low of 2 acres to a high of 15
acres, or an average of 5 acres; with prices ranging from $25 to $375,
or an average of approximately $125.
During the year under review, considerable attention was given to
the major problem of electric light and power conversion as a postwar
necessity. In St. Thomas, the electric current used is 220 volts direct
current, and is supplied by a private company under the supervision
of the public utilities commission. In St. Croix, the towns of Chris-
tiansted and Frederiksted are equipped with 110 volts direct current
systems furnished by a private company under supervision of the
light and power commission. Operating costs are high, resulting in
abnormally high rates to consumers. The rural districts of St. Croix
however, are supplied with a low rate 110 volts alternating current
service by the rural electrification division of the Virgin Islands Co.
In St. Thomas, the private company which has been furnishing
.electric light and power to the consuming public over a great many
years, requested a long-term franchise as a condition precedent to
obligating itself to convert to alternating current. This company
secured the services of consulting engineers from the United States.
and made an exhaustive report on new generating facilities and dis-
tribution system conversion. Because the proposed investment and
resultant estimated rates were considered abnormal, the public util-
ities commission of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John,
with the approval of the municipal council and the Governor, appealed
to the Secretary of the Interior for professional assistance for the
purpose of making an independent survey, The chief engineer of the
Division of Power, Department of the Interior, was assigned to in-
vestigate the power supply situation of Charlotte Amalie. His re-
port, submitted shortly after the close of the fiscal year, recommended
that cheap alternating current service be made available to the people
of St. Thomas by a municipal electric system to.be supervised by a
power board. The estimated investment was given at $371,500 with
an average return of 3.39 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than
one-half the 7.5-cent return called for by the consulting engineers
of the private utility.
On the island of St. Croix, the municipal council was in process of
considering a report from its light and power commission recommend-
ing the renewal for 25 years of the private franchise for light and
power for the two towns with slightly reduced rates, when the chief
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 13
engineer of the Division of Power of the Department of the Interior
was assigned to study the St. Thomas problem. The St. Croix
council requested his assistance and, as the result of the study of this
official, the report of the light and power commission was rejected.
This officer of the Department of the Interior submitted a report
shortly after the close of the fiscal year recommending that the
municipal council of St. Croix exercise its option to purchase the
facilities of the private utility and then make arrangements with the
rural electrification division of the Virgin Islands Co. for serving all
the town consumers in addition to the rural consumers. Such an
arrangement will provide the present direct current town consumers
with alternating-current service at the lowest possible rate and will
make available the benefits of cheap electricity to the widest possible
Early in the fiscal year, opportunities were offered to all aliens
who had been imported for construction work of military reserva-
tions, and who were released by the cessation of such projects, to be
repatriated to their respective countries. Arrangements for such
repatriation were made with the full cooperation of the Immigration
and Naturalization Service, the United States Navy, and the United
States Army.. Recommendation was made to the Immigration and
Naturalization Service that no additional aliens be permitted to
enter St. Thomas on the blanket authority given several years ago
for workers at defense bases and, in addition, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service was requested and urged to deport all aliens,
illegally residing in the Virgin Islands, who entered these Islands for
the purpose of obtainingwork in defense construction, who had left
such work or were discharged therefrom, and were still illegally
engaged in private employment.
FEDERAL PERSONNEL PROBLEMS
An impossible, intolerable, and discriminatory personnel situation
exists and has existed for many years within the activities of the Interior
Department in the Virgin Islands, the difficulties of which have been
accentuated and emphasized by the enactment of the Federal Employ-
ees Pay Act of 1945. Fifty-three Federal employees appointed by the
Secretary of the Interior for the Government of the Virgin Islands are,
in effect, unclassified. These employees, including a department head,
assistant department heads, chief clerks, stenographers, bookkeepers,
accountants, clerks and messengers, do not now receive and have never
received salaries equivalent to the ranges fixed by the Classification
Act of 1923, as amended. They are natives of the Virgin Islands of
14 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
the United States and American citizens. For the most part, they
have had years of experience in the Government service in the Virgin
Islands. Their loyalty, ability, and intergity are unquestioned.
In practically every other Federal office in the Virgin Islands, in-
cluding the Navy Department, the War Department, the Office of
Price Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
the Division of Disbursement of the Treasury Department, the Soil
Conservation Service, the Farm Security Administration, the Office
of Supply of the War Food Administration, the United States Public
Health Service, and the Department of Courts; native employees of
similar qualifications have been paid and are still being paid salaries
under the Classification Act of 1923, as well as the 25 percent territorial
service differential. Likewise, the Interior Department has paid
Classification Act salaries and the 25 percent territorial service differen-
tial to 24 employees in the higher brackets, including administrative
officers and officers in the professional and subprofessional services.
When the Department of the Interior took over the administration
of the government of the Virgin Islands from the Navy Department in
1931, it was found that employees of the government of the Virgin
Islands, who were paid from Federal funds appropriated for such
government, were appointed by the Governor and were not classified
either as to salaries or grades. The Department of the Interior imme-
diately issued a schedule of local salary ranges for positions in the
Virgin Islands, patterned generally after the system of salary ranges
of the Classification Act of 1923, but reduced in each grade so as to
conform with the salaries which were then being paid to those employ-
ees by the Navy Department. Subsequently, this local schedule of
salary ranges for positions paid from Federal funds in the Virgin
Islands, when filled by local employees, was amended first to increase
the promotion increments and later to increase the salary ranges,
because of the severe competition of the other Federal agencies which
had by that time extended their services to the Virgin Islands and,
as stated above, were employing natives of the Virgin Islands under
the grades and salaries of the Classification Act of 1923.
These employees have never been paid salaries equivalent to the
salary ranges of the Classification Act of 1923. They were delayed in
receiving the benefits of the War Overtime Act of 1943 until the
Comptroller General ruled that, as their salaries were not fixed by
local wage boards or in accordance with local prevailing native wage
rates, they were entitled to such overtime privileges. They have been
denied the mandatory application of statutory periodic within-grade
salary advancements. They have never received the 25 percent
territorial service differential which has been paid to practically all
other Federal employees in the Virgin Islands. They have not re-
ceived the increases in basic rates of compensation authorized by the
Federal Employees Pay Act of 1945.
Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945 15
Repeated recommendations have been made for the abolishment
of the so-called local schedule of salary ranges. for native employees
of the Interior Department in the Virgin Islands. Estimates of
funds necessary for conversion of these salary rates to Classification
Act rates have been included every year, in the past several years,
in the appropriation estimates for the Virgin Islands. These repeated
recommendations have been fruitless. In August 1944, all affected
divisions of the Department of the Interior executed an agreement
with the Government of the Virgin Islands for abolishment of the
local schedule as of July 1, 1945, and reclassification under the 1923
Classification Act, provided the necessary appropriations were allowed
by the Congress. As a result of this agreement, an appropriation
was included in the estimates for the fiscal year 1946 for reclassification
and for payment of the territorial service differential. This appro-
priation was disallowed by the Bureau of the Budget, restored by the
Senate Appropriations Committee, and stricken in conference.
Action is needed and needed promptly to eliminate the distinction
between employees paid salaries in accordance with the Classification
Act rates and those paid salaries under the local schedule. There is
no reason for discrimination between the two groups. There is no
geographic distinction between natives of the Virgin Islands, employed
by other Federal agencies who receive all the benefits of the Classifi-
cation Act, and natives of the Virgin Islands employed by theDepart-
ment of the Interior, who do not receive such benefits. There is
no real distinction between the work performed by the two groups.
The present policy of depriving a deserving group of Federal em-
ployees of these benefits and privileges, which are enjoyed by all
other Federal employees, should be discontinued immediately.
The legislative assembly of the Virgin Islands this year enacted
inadequate ordiances to govern the production, inspection, and sale
of milk, and the sale of meat and meat products. Both of these bills
will require considerable revision. The legislative assembly also
enacted a fairly satisfactory law regarding the practice of medicine
and its allied sciences; and a uniform law concerning actions to declare
void or dissolve the marriage contract. Among other items of legis-
lation adopted by the assembly was a testimonial in memory of the
late Franklin D. Roosevelt, a resolution to provide for a committee to
revise the Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, a resolution petitioning
Congress to provide a resident commissioner for the Virgin Islands,
and a bill designating February 2, 1945, as Governor Harwood Day.
Outstanding items of legislation of the municipal council of St.
Thomas and St. John were ordinances to provide for lump-sum pay-
ment for accrued leave of municipal employees upon separation from
16 Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, 1945
the service, to protect the public health by controlling the spread of
endemic typhus fever, and to authorize the leasing by the municipality
of St. Thomas and St. John of the market and cold-storage plant
owned by the United States.
Perhaps the most significant piece of legislation passed by the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John was enacted on May 30,
1945, in the form of an antidiscrimination law determining the right
of all persons to enjoy the facilities offered by public places and busi-
nesses on the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. This bill provides
that no person shall be denied access to, service, equal treatment, or
employment in/or at any publicly licensed place of business (including
public transportation), or benefits soliciting public patronage in the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John because of politics, religion,
race, color, or because of any other reason not applicable to all persons.
In St. Croix the municipal council adopted ordinances creating a
homestead commission, a recreation commission, and a municipal
police commission. Two outstanding items of legislation were
ordinances to provide for lump-sum payment for accrued leave of
municipal employes upon separation from the service; and a salary
scale for teachers.
Despite years of study and planning and experimentation, no one
yet knows conclusively, or even attempts to predict, whether these
islands, purchased by the United States from Denmark in 1917 for
strategic reasons, 132 square miles in total area, and with a population
now estimated at 26,000, can ever become self-supporting on any
permanent.and sound basis which will provide decent American living
A definite colonial policy should be developed for the islands by the
United States. Greater autonomy is inevitable but, with such
autonomy, there should be a clear recognition of the ultimate relation-
ship of the United States to the Islands. That relationship should not
tend toward excessive paternalism. Every effort must be concen-
trated on a long-range program of helping the islanders to help
The United States, however, should continue to assume the re-
sponsibility of providing whatever assistance, financial or other, that
is actually needed to maintain in the Islands a standard of living and a
level of service comparable to the American way of life. Until such a
policy is enunciated and adhered to by the Government of the United
.States, efforts to revise the Islands' Organic Act of 1936, now under
.consideration among insular leaders, must necessarily be indeterminate