Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1946
To the Secretary of
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT
/ -' frY -. OF THE INTERIOR
OF THE GOVERNOR OF
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
TO THE SECRETARY OF
Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1946
DEPARTMENT OF THE
J. A. KRUG, Secretary
TERRITORY OF THE
WILLIAM HASTIE, Governor
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Ofice
Washington 25, D. C. Price 10 cents
Political . . . . 1
Economic ............. 2
Fiscal . . . . . 3
Federal public works program . . . 5
Health and sanitation . . . . 5
Education . . . . 7
Public works department . . . . 8
Police and prison department . . . 9
Public libraries . . . . .. 10
Harbor department . . . . .. 10
Real property tax assessments . . .. 10
Homesteads . . . . . .. 10
Social welfare . . . . 11
Workmen's compensation . . . .. 12
The agricultural station . . . .. 12
The Second West Indian Conference . 14
Military service . . . . .. 15
The municipal market . . . .. 15
Local legislation . . . . .. 15
Public utilities . . . . .. 16
Conclusion . . . . . .. 18
Annual Report of the Governor
of the Virgin Islands
WILLIAM H. HASTIE, Governor
ON May 17, 1946, William H. Hastie was inaugurated as the fourth
civilian Governor of the Virgin Islands with impressive ceremonies
at Charlotte Amalie, the capital city of the Virgin Islands. On this occa-
sion, it was a source of much gratification to the community that the
presence of the Secretary of the Interior and other ranking representatives
of Government from Washington, and a special message from the President
of the United States to the Governor and the people of the Virgin Islands
clearly bespoke the concern of the National Government with the advance-
ment of the legitimate interests and aspirations of the inhabitants of the
outlying possessions of the United States.
Although the new Governor was in office at the year's end, and his
predecessor was technically at the helm for the first 11 months of the year,
the record of the year is in fact the record of government under the
direction of still a third person, a Virgin Islander. At the beginning of
the year the President appointed Morris F. de Castro, a Virgin Islander,
to be Government Secretary, the second ranking officer in the Executive
Branch of the Government of the Virgin Islands. The Governor, at that
time, was in poor health and found it impossible to spend more than a
few days in the Virgin Islands at any time during the year. The new
Governor was in the Virgin Islands only a few weeks at the end of the
year. Thus the Government Secretary, serving as Acting Governor, car-
ried the burden and responsibilities of both offices, and of the Government
of the Virgin Islands, throughout almost the entire year.
On the tenth anniversary of the present constitution of the Virgin
Islands, the Organic Act of June 22, 1936, the people of the islands
reviewed a noteworthy record of effective local government under universal
suffrage and other democratic political institutions established by that act.
Moreover, they looked forward to the continuing evolution of their demo-
cratic institutions as justified by this 10-year record, and as advocated by
the President this year in his annual message to Congress when he said:
"The people of the Virgin Islands should be given an increasing measure
A committee created under local legislation submitted to the Governor
its preliminary report recommending revisions in the Organic Act of 1936.
The most significant recommendations included a single legislature for the
islands to meet annually in 60-day sessions, the removal of the power of
the Governor to send bills passed over his veto to the President for final
decision, the creation of a single treasury, and establishment of the office
of Resident Commissioner in Washington.
Under the existing constitution, legislative powers are vested in two
separate municipal councils and one legislative assembly consisting of the
two councils in joint session. The councils meet throughout the year,
while the assembly meets in regular session once a year. The proposal is
to consolidate all legislative power in a unicameral body. Bills passed over
the Governor's veto now go to the President for final decision. It is pro-
posed to eliminate this provision and to permit bills to become law when
passed over the Governor's veto by a three-fourths vote of the legislature.
At present, revenues collected in either municipality are expended exclu-
sively for the government of that municipality. The proposal is to create
a single treasury for both municipalities so that revenues will be expended
for the benefit and government of the islands as a whole. There is now no
legislative spokesman of the Virgin Islands in the Congress, and the pro-
posal to create the office of Resident Commissioner is designed to provide
All these suggested revisions will be included in a comprehensive plan
for modernization of the Organic Act to be placed before the Congress
during the coming year.
Major factors in the economic life of the islands are the bunkering
activities of the port of St. Thomas, the manufacture of beverage spirits
in St. Thomas and St. Croix, and the sugar industry of St. Croix. This
year showed a steady improvement in shipping to St. Thomas. A total of
353 oceangoing vessels with gross tonnage of 1,493,725 visited St. Thomas,
as compared with 204 vessels with gross tonnage of 264,640 in 1945.
Prospects are good for continued improvement. The tourist trade, dor-
mant during the war, is only beginning to revive.
St. Croix' basic industry, sugar, showed a production increase from 4,040
tons in 1945 to 4,970 tons in 1946, through increased acreage and acre-
yield, and by improved processing. The price to the cane farmer for his
1946 crop was $8.60 per ton as compared with $6.73 in 1945 and $3.02
in 1941. The day's wage for field workers rose from $1.04 in 1941 to
$1.60 in 1945, and $1.84 in 1946. If, and only if, reasonable assurance
is to be had that present prices for cane will be maintained, by subsidies
or otherwise, can an increase in cane acreage be justified.
Sucrose recovery was increased from 9.73 to 10.53 by improved opera-
tion methods in the Virgin Islands Company's sugar factory, the only one
now operating in the Virgin Islands. This Company continues to perform
well the function of providing wage employment in field and factory, and
facilitating self-employment by its processing of cane for over 500 small
farmers. Private enterprise has been unable to perform these functions
satisfactorily. While ways and means must be found, and are now being
studied, to integrate the Company's functions with other features of the
economy of the Virgin Islands, there is now full public acceptance of its
vital role in the economy. Without it, abject poverty and widespread
public relief would prevail.
St. Croix exported 137,608 proof gallons of rum and liqueurs in 1946, as
compared with 129,082 proof gallons in 1945. St. Thomas exported
817,441 proof gallons in 1946, as compared with 1,340,208 in 1945'. The
rum and liquor industry, upon which these islands have depended during
the past few years for their major source of revenue, and for private
employment of wage earners, has suffered a severe curtailment of produc-
tion due to Federal conservation orders. Still the largest single industry
in the islands, rum manufacturers were turning more and more, as the
year closed, to the still unrestricted manufacture of whiskies, gins, and
liqueurs from neutral spirits for the continental American market.
A cooperative association of cattlemen in St. Croix, operating the fed-
erally owned abattoir, exported 921 beef carcasses as compared with 720
during the previous year, and 360 sheep and 45 hog carcasses as compared
with 277 and 171, respectively, in the preceding year. These meats were
slaughtered under rigid Government inspection. Exports are chiefly to
Puerto Rico, but the municipal market and cold storage plant in St.
Thomas is also procuring part of the meats for sale in St. Thomas from
Underlying the economic problems of the Virgin Islands is the fact that
a large amount of money is sent out of the communities in payment for
food, clothes, and other commodities produced abroad, while very little
money comes from the outside for things that are produced in the islands.
Every successful effort to reduce the islands' dependence upon imported
goods and services, and to increase the consumption of local products at
home and their marketing abroad, will help the economy of the islands.
On June 30, 1946, the treasury of the municipality of St. Thomas and
St. John showed an unappropriated surplus of $28,295.57. However, the
revenues were increased by $216,547.62, representing surplus funds of
preceding fiscal years transferred to meet this year's obligations. On the
other hand, the municipality of St. Croix required a Federal deficit appro-
priation of $150,000.
The municipality of St. Thomas and St. John.-The revenues of the
municipality of St. Thomas and St. John were $1,112,002.07 as compared
with $1,257,416.53 in the preceding year, a decrease of 11.56 percent.
Income-tax collections were $622,573.27 as compared with $941,090.47
in the previous fiscal year, a decrease of 33.85 percent. Real property
taxes yielded $59,167.89 as compared with $63,902.63, a decrease of 7.41
percent. Trade taxes yielded $37,220.50 as compared with $43,783.26, a
decrease of 14.99 percent. On the other hand, revenues from pilotage
reflecting the increased business in the harbor of St. Thomas, yielded
$9,682.82, an increase of 116.58 percent over the amount of $4,470.72
collected in 1945. Likewise, customs revenues increased 298.03 percent
from $12,900 in 1945 to $51,346.19 this year. Revenues from income
taxes reflected a notable decrease due to decrease in rum sales. Con-
versely, customs and harbor revenues showed a marked increase due to
increase in shipping activities and in the importation of merchandise. As
the revenue from income tax collections continues to be the largest single
source of revenue, serious attention must be focused upon the fluctuation
of collections from this source in determining the budgetary power of the
The budget for the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John carried
total appropriations of $1,083,851.50. Major departmental appropria-
tions were: Public works and fire, $164,056.08 compared with $310,013.23
in the preceding year; education, $210,066.25 compared with $191,680 in
1945; municipal hospital, $132,235 as compared with $128,428.75 in 1945;
police and prison departments, $63,401.50, practically the same as the
preceding year; the legislature, $49,793.20 as compared with $38,700 in
1945; sanitation service, $25,730 representing $1,000 less than the preced-
ing year; and social welfare, $87,627 as compared with $78,055 in 1945.
Indications are that the peak of wartime income has passed and that ways
and means must be found to provide the best possible municipal services
without further budgetary increases.
The municipality of St. Croix.-In this municipality revenues were
$262,257.54 as compared with $515,383.28 a year ago, a decrease of 49.11
percent. Congress appropriated $150,000 toward the expenses of local
government in the municipality of St. Croix.
Income tax collections in St. Croix were $103,069.94, which was a de-
crease of 73.64 percent from collections in 1945 of $391,075.63. Real
property taxes increased 16.30 percent from $53,660.06 in 1945 to $62,-
407.39 this year.
The budget for the municipality of St. Croix carried total appropria-
tions of $421,658. Major departmental appropriations were: Public
works, $66,784 as compared with $134,764 in the previous year; education,
$77,321 which was practically the same as in 1945; police and prison de-
partment, $41,798 as compared with $50,843 in the year previous; Chris-
tiansted Hospital, $38,276 as compared with $40,662 in 1945; Frederik-
sted Hospital, $33,885 which was equivalent to the previous year's appro-
priation; and the legislature, $11,925 as compared with $13,610 in the
Public services in St. Croix, even with the annual deficit appropriation,
are in desperate condition. One-half of the employees of the municipal
government of St. Croix are receiving salaries of $50 per month or less.
Top salaries are for two physicians in the municipal hospital, and they
receive only $3,640 per annum.
Financial and economic trends do not indicate any unusual revenue
increases in the coming year. Congress has provided for a study of the
municipal government by three municipal experts under the supervision
of the committees of appropriations of the Senate and House of Repre-
sentatives, to formulate a policy as to future assistance from the Federal
Federal public works program
With appropriations totaling $2,360,005, already made by Congress
for the projected construction by the Federal Works Agency of public
works, health, and sanitation facilities authorized by Public Law 510,
approved December 20, 1944, no major construction project had been
started by June 30, 1946. Congress specified that all but repair projects
are to be constructed by contract. The first bids opened late in the year
for sanitation facilities for St. Thomas were rejected because of high costs.
These projects, together with the St. Croix sanitation projects, are being
While employment in the islands is at a minimum, and there is urgent
need for modernization of antiquated sewerage facilities and the replace-
ment of old and overcrowded schools and hospitals, prospects for the early
completion of these important facilities are not bright, because of the same
restrictive factors which affect construction today in the continental United
Health and sanitation
The general health of the islands has been good, and there were no
epidemics, despite the primitive sewage disposal methods for large parts
of the communities. The legislative assembly adopted a comprehensive
milk control law to become effective on July 1, 1946, but, at the end of
the year, it appears that strict compliance will not be achieved for several
months. Federal public health grants were available for general health
mining, tuberculosis control, and venereal disease control. These grants
have become a major factor in the development of an aggressive program
in the public health field.
A sound policy of postgraduate training for medical officers attached
to the municipal hospital staff has been pursued in St. Thomas. One
physician was given leave -of absence with pay for 1 year to study public
health at the University of Michigan, while another doctor was given 2
years' furlough, one with and one without pay, to study ophthalmology
at the University of Pennsylvania.
Visiting specialists this year were: two opthalmologists, who examined
a large number of patients and performed many critical and intricate
operations; a doctor who was at one time on the medical staff and who
returned for 2 months for specialized work in leprosy control and treat-
ment; a public health professor who has made intermittent trips averaging
a month annually in connection with filariasis research and control, and
an orthopedic surgeon who has performed a number of operations on
Nursing personnel have also received training in the United States
through Federal as well as municipal grants. The chief nurse in the St.
Thomas municipal hospital attended postgraduate classes for 6 months at
Lincoln School for Nurses in New York City. Another nurse studied
tuberculosis field work in Detroit. In St. Thomas and St. Croix a forward
step was taken with the creation of divisions of public health nursing and
health education supervised by competent Virgin Islanders who have
received their masters' degree in public health and in health education.
There remains, however, the fundamental need for better local training
for the student as well as graduate nurses in the islands. While individual
nurses are benefiting by training in continental United States, the general
level of nursing is unsatisfactory.
The American Red Cross has recently stationed a Public Health nurse
on the island of St. Croix to expand and to coordinate the work of the
district nurses with emphasis on maternal and infant health. This service
is proving of very substantial value.
Federal grants in aid of public health activities, received from the
United States Public Health Service, have provided our one major resource
for substantial expansion of essential health services. Venereal disease
work, liberally supported by the Federal grants, continues. The so-called
rapid treatment of syphilis was inaugurated late in the fiscal year. The
average census of patients in the leper asylum at St. Croix was 41. During
the year 5 cases were paroled. The census of 40 patients at the end of
the year is the lowest on record. Promin therapy, a newly developed,
and expensive treatment for leprosy, is now being given to 6 patients with
noticeable improvement. The tuberculosis-control program, also liberally
supported by Federal grants, is being developed. Typhus control, by rat
eradication and ratproofing of business buildings, was started in St. Thomas
under the guidance of a protozoologist of the United States Public Health
Service. Such a program for St. Croix is still awaiting local legislative
authorization. In both municipalities, dental service under Government
supervision was continued for school children and the indigent.
The death rate was 16.1 per thousand and the birth rate 39.9. The
infant mortality rate was 109.9 as compared with 101.2 in 1944 and 83.8
in 1943. Apparent causes are congenital debility, respiratory diseases,
gastrointestinal infections and malnutrition. The reversal of this trend,
and the reduction of infant mortality, constitutes a major health problem
of the new year.
Next year, for the first time, emphasis will be given to food sanitation
when a sanitary engineer, now receiving training in the United States, will
be added to the staff. Probably 80 percent of all buildings in the islands
are not equipped with modem toilet facilities. Paradoxically, however,
there have been no epidemics.
The public-school program has been maintained with senior and junior
high schools, elementary schools, in-service teacher training, scholarship
loans, evening schools for adults, limited vocational education, and school-
lunch and nursery programs. In St. Thomas and St. John, the average
annual expenditure for public education per child was $66.50. In St.
Croix the cost was $52.40.
In St. Thomas the public school budget rose to a high of a quarter
million dollars. Ten years ago the budget was less than $60,000. Pro-
portionately, high-school enrollment increased from 306, 10 years ago, to
781 this year. The need of more adequate school plants and equipment is
great. Most school buildings are lacking in essential features to satisfy
even minimum standards of modem school buildings. In St. Croix, the
public-school budget was $77,000, as compared with $47,000, 10 years ago.
There, as in St. Thomas, inadequate buildings and equipment hamper
the school services.
The public school enrollment in St. Thomas was 2,494, of which 781
pupils were enrolled in the junior and senior high school grades. In St.
Croix, the enrollment was 1,528, with 346 in the junior and senior high
school grades. Average salary of teachers in St. Thomas is $1,200 per
annum, and in St. Croix $899.69 per annum.
In St. Thomas, the Teachers' Institute conducted spring and summer
sessions, and several teachers attended institutions in Puerto Rico and in
the United States with or without scholarship'aid. Loans were made from
the municipal scholarship fund to 16 students. The evening school offered
academic subjects of high school grade in addition to stenography and
typewriting, dramatics, foods, arts, crafts, and dressmaking. The school-
lunch service provided lunches to 1,700 children in 13 schools. Eleven
nursery schools were operated with a total enrollment of 500 children.
In vocational education, students constructed a building at the vocational
school, and courses in metalworking and electricity were added.
In St. Croix, for the first time, every school child attended school a full
day. Heretofore, first- and second-grade pupils attended halfday sessions
only. The summer school was conducted as an extension unit of the Poly-
technic Institute of San German, P. R. There were classes in public
school music, music appreciation, and psychology. Teachers earned credits
which were accepted by the Polytechnic Institute. Scholarship loans were
made to six students. School lunches were provided for 908 pupils in all
schools. A limited program of nursery schools, almost eliminated due to
lack of funds, was carried on in certain country districts with the assistance
of The Virgin Islands Company. Industrial work was improved for girls,
but the lack of an industrial arts teacher handicapped the vocational work
for boys. However, a program of apprenticeships in auto mechanics,
cabinetmaking, and printing was inaugurated, and the agricultural station
supervised courses in practical vegetable growing.
Public Works Department
The major portion of the work of the public works departments in St.
Thomas and St. Croix during the year was upkeep and maintenance of
public buildings and public facilities. In St. Thomas three small water
catchment areas and cisterns were completed in the country districts. The
municipality purchased an area of 32.2 acres of land for development of
and protection of natural water resources. The improvement and control
of this natural spring should yield a more uniform supply of potable water
to persons living in an overpopulated area.
Experimental wells were drilled in two places on the Island of St. John
at the request of the Federal Works Agency, to determine whether suitable
quantity and quality of water is obtainable continuously on St. John. The
results of these tests have not yet been announced. A landslide at one of
the catchment areas recently constructed from a grant of Federal funds
so endangered the catchment and cistern that an additional grant of
$10,000 was obtained to build a retaining wall to support the section
endangered by the slide.
Several important country roads in St. Thomas started in a previous
fiscal year were completed during this year, opening up scenic drives for
tourists and access to homesteads and the limited agricultural lands.
Minor repairs were done to a dangerous section of the airport runway to
make the field usable for commercial flights. A recreational area in a
thickly populated section in St. Thomas was developed.
In St. Croix the physical condition of Richmond Penitentiary was
greatly improved by refinishing of the interior of 19 cells and installation
of windows to replace the slits which furnished inadequate ventilation.
Considerable painting was performed on buildings of the Leper Asylum.
Of the public road system of St. Croix, comprising about 140 miles, 110
miles are dirt and gravel surface, making upkeep a major problem. With
the exception of hard-surfacing of 2,400 feet of roadway this year, all
other work was limited to patching 34 miles of asphalt roads and main-
tenance of graveled sections.
Water supply work in St. Croix was limited to drilling of two new wells
in public places and reconditioning of another well. The St. Croix tele-
phone service, which is operated by the public works department, installed
80 concrete poles replacing deteriorated wooden poles.
Public works in both islands were generally held to a minimum due
to lack of funds and the scarcity of materials.
Police and Prison Department
There were 1,225 arrests made by the police department of St. Thomas
during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1946, as against 1,137 in the preced-
ing year. The major offenses were 3 cases of manslaughter, 2 cases of
rape, 11 cases of burglary, and 10 cases of embezzlement. Otherwise,
complaints were mostly for disorderly conduct, violation of traffic regula-
tions, and other minor offenses. A division of criminal investigation and
identification, within the police department, continued to improve during
the year. Many items of equipment were acquired to help this division
to function successfully, and considerable progress was made in identifi-
cation and detection of criminals. Juvenile delinquency continues as a
serious police and social problem. The principal cause of this evil is
economic. Large numbers of children are without parental guidance and
wholesome home influence. Deplorable housing conditions in the islands
result in overcrowding, lack of privacy, and other major causes of juvenile
delinquency. Until these basic conditions are changed, juvenile delin-
quency will remain a serious problem.
In St. Croix the police department secured convictions in 103 com-
plaints, of which 72 were for disturbance of the peace, and the others for
violation of traffic regulations, disorderly conduct and minor offenses.
There were 19 prisoners in Richmond Penitentiary at the end of the year,
13 from St. Thomas and 6 from St. Croix. The prison industries which
had been started during the preceding fiscal year were officially established
this year, and power tools were ordered and installed. Most of the pro-
duction of the prison industries, consisting of toys, baskets, mahogany
novelties, and children' furniture, has been marketed in St. Thomas and
During the year, 1,102 persons were tried for criminal offenses in St.
Thomas, and 17 persons in St. John. These figures compare with 1,122
persons tried in St. Thomas and 15 in St. John in the previous year.
The greater number of offenses were disorderly conduct and violations
of automobile laws. In St. Croix 264 cases were tried by the police court,
representing a decrease in the preceding year's figure of 320 cases. The
majority of the charges were disturbance of the peace, petit larceny, and
simple assault and battery.
Library activities in St. Thomas have been normal. Juvenile circulation
and attendance have been maintained and in the adult department both
circulation and attendance figures showed slight increase. The library
was used considerably by persons attending evening school and by those
taking teacher-training courses. The juvenile department conducted its
annual story hour activities. In St. Croix this year there has been a satis-
factory growth in the use of both libraries. The library facilities in this
island, however, do not function as they should, because of lack of funds.
For example, one librarian is provided for the two public libraries in the
two towns of St. Croix.
There has been a steady increase in shipping during the year and
prospects are brighter for the coming year. Some 353 oceangoing vessels
with gross tonnage of 1,493,725 entered the harbor of St. Thomas during
the year, as compared with 204 vessels with gross tonnage of 264,640 in
1945. The prewar peak, however, was 1941, when 1,220 vessels with
gross tonnage of 3,943,124 called at St. Thomas.
Real property tax assessments
With the appointment of a new tax assessor in St.. Thomas, considerable
attention was given to reorganization of the office. A complete physical
survey of all property was made in the municipality of St. Thomas and
St. John, revealing 2,749 taxable properties and lots of real estate. The
assessments of the new tax assessor resulted in 162 tax appeals, approxi-
mately 6 percent of the total number of assessments. The board of review
reduced 131 assessments and 31 were allowed to stand. As revised by
the board of review, total assessments in the municipality of St. Thomas
and St. John for 1945 were $5,897,580.94, which is an increase of approxi-
mately 20 percent over the preceding year's assessments.
In St. Croix total assessments of real property in 1945 were $4,344,283.61
of which $1,000,000 is the value of Federal property operated by the
Virgin Islands Company, but which is taxable under a special congressional
Homesteading progressed favorably in St. Thomas and St. John during
the year under review. On the island of St. Thomas, 74 homestead deeds
were issued by the homestead commission. In St. John, homesteaders
were still making deposits on account of the purchase price of their home-
stead plots, and by the end of the year they had deposited $4,225, approxi-
mately one-fifth of the aggregate selling price. Thirty-two 5-acre home-
stead parcels were allocated. After all such parcels were allocated, 160
house lots or building sites, to be organized into a community development
project, each containing approximately 5,000 square feet, were allocated for
sale. There were 55 applications received for these house lots, and by the
end of the year 15 deeds were issued. Late in the fiscal year, 29 house
plots in an urban area in St. Thomas were acquired by the municipality
and placed under the jurisdiction of the homestead commission to be sold,
on reasonable terms, to the tenants at sufferance who had lived thereon for
Efforts were concentrated on the securing of improved municipal appro-
priations for aid to the poor and on the obtaining of Federal aid for
supplementary public assistance and welfare services through the extension
to the Virgin Islands of titles I, IV, V, and X of the Social Security Act.
This legislative reform was not achieved by the end of the fiscal year.
There is no area under the flag where American citizens are in greater
need of such assistance from their Government.
Assistance to the needy in St. Thomas was the chief responsibility
entrusted to the department of social welfare. It was carried on in four
general categories, namely, cash assistance, commodity grants, services of
various kinds, and institutionalization of the aged. In St. Thomas and
St. John, emergency cash grants advanced 43 percent to a total of $40,-
880.67. These grants averaged $6.75 per case per person, as compared
with $4.98 in the preceding year and $2.64, 5 years ago. At the same
time, the number of cases receiving regular assistance remained at the high
level of over 400. This increase in average monthly cash grants, low as
the figure still is, constitutes a most significant gain, and represents the
cumulative result of many years of interest and effort by the community,
by the legislature, and by the administration.
In St. Croix, the $15,000 budget for aid to the poor was the same as
for the preceding year. The average monthly grant remained the pittance
of $2.50 to approximately 400 persons.
The director of social welfare of the Virgin Islands made two trips
to the United States during the year, appearing before the national con-
vention of the American Public Welfare Association at Chicago, and con-
ferring with the Interior Department, the Social Security Administration,
and the Children's Bureau. He prepared a formal justification which was
presented to Congress for extension of the benefits of the welfare titles of
the Social Security Act to the Virgin Islands. He appeared before the
Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives to present
oral and written justification for extension of the welfare titles of the
Social Security Act to the Virgin Islands.
The Queen Louise Home for the Aged in St. Thomas continued to
operate satisfactorily bringing comfort and care to 20 inmates. A public-
spirited citizen of St. Thomas, deceased during the year, willed a property
to the municipality for housing indigents, but the actual transfer has not
as yet taken place. Assignments to the juvenile school for boys brought
the total number of boys there to 36.
In St. Croix a small boys' home is operated in conjunction with the
police department, the judge of the juvenile court, and the welfare depart-
ment. The police furnish food, and the welfare department furnishes
housing, clothes, and supervision. There are at present seven boys in this
home, which is located in the welfare office at Frederiksted. The average
occupancy of the Kingshill Home for the Aged and Indigent in St. Croix
was 145. The 25 cents per day per patient, which is appropriated for
subsistence at this home, reflects the desperate state of public institutions
and the inadequacy of care for the needy.
A workmen's compensation law has been in effect in the municipality of
St. Thomas and St. John for several years. Such a law has not been
enacted for, St. Croix but, at the end of this year, prospects for early
enactment of this much-needed social reform seemed good. In the munici-
pality of St. Thomas and St. John, employees are protected by a municipal
insurance fund into which premiums are paid by private and public em-
ployers alike. On June 30, 1946, this fund showed a cash balance of
$50,292.91, as compared with $38,509.36 a year ago. Gross premiums col-
lected were $17,771.09. The administration of this law in St. Thomas
is still unwieldy and cumbersome. Administration requests for stream-
lining of the compensation law, and the procedures it requires, are pending
before the legislature. During the year, the compensation commission
received 88 injury reports and disposed of 79 cases involving medical costs
or compensation for death and disability. There were 101 orders issued
awarding a total of $5,376.86.
The agricultural station
The agricultural station in the Virgin Islands, with its main operations
on the island of St. Croix and a substation on the island of St. Thomas,
was originally established in 1910 under the Danish administration. It
was transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1919,
and until 1931 it was operated as a scientific experiment station. In 1932,
it was transferred from the United States Department of Agriculture to the
United States Department of the Interior, and the station work, which had
been organized on an experimental project basis, was reorganized to carry
out the triple functions of experiment, extension and agricultural education.
While the aims of the station have been, and should be, that through
research the economic condition of the islands may be improved, that
through extension work the circumstances of rural life might be improved,
and that through education the islands will develop better farmers and
agricultural leaders, the history of the station shows that after approxi-
mately each 10-year period, the station starts a new cycle which is termi-
nated by change of policy or administrative transfer to another Depart-
ment. When these changes have occurred, much of the previous valuable
information obtained by experimentation and experience has been disre-
garded, and continuity of development has been lost.
A new director of the agricultural station was appointed this year follow-
ing a period of extended staff vacancies. Initial reports of the new direc-
tor indicated that the agricultural program in St. Croix, as well as in St.
Thomas, was badly in need of improvement, so that the farmers would
receive greater benefits from the work carried on at the station. The
island of St. John has received practically no help from the agricultural
station in the past, although this island has possibilities in the production
of fruits and vegetables which should be developed.
The prices received for vegetables during the past year are an indication
that productive agriculture in the Virgin Islands is declining. Farmers are
receiving unusually high prices; yet very little farm produce is obtainable
at the markets. This condition will probably remain until farmers in the
Virgin Islands reduce the amount of hand labor used in producing crops,
and improve their methods of production. The failure of farmers to sup-
ply vegetables at the high market price of 16 cents per pound for tomatoes
and onions, 7 cents a pound for carrots, 5 cents per pound for sweet
potatoes and yams, and 12 cents per pound for beets, reflects the failure
to date, of agricultural agencies and agricultural leaders to accomplish
their basic missions.
A serious problem at the present time is the decrease in farm and crop
acreage. From 1930 to 1940 there was an increase of 152 percent in the
number of farms, accompanied by a decrease of 19 percent in farm acreage
and a similar decrease in crop acreage. The average acreage in crops per
farm in 1940 was 6.7 acres, and at the present time it is 5.4 acres. Some
of the decline in crop acreage may be traced to weather conditions. The
rainfall at the agricultural station in St. Croix was but 32.41 inches.
During the year, the agricultural station propagated and distributed
89,945 vegetable slips of various kinds, and sold 39 pounds of improved
vegetable seed including onions, tomatoes, peppers, kohl-rabi, carrots and
cabbage. About 2,000 cane plant tops were distributed, and 13,862 pounds
of corn were produced. Bay beans have been planted on a small plot in
St. Croix late in the fiscal year and are showing excellent growth during
the drought. This crop has the desirable characteristics of a good cover
and soil improvement. Experiments are being tried with tropical kudzu,
velvet beans, Guatemala grass, Merker grass, and Zea-maize corn.
The station in St. Croix offers purebred sire service but, unfortunately,
the farmers have not taken as much advantage of this important service as
they should. There is definite need for better bulls in the Virgin Islands
if the cattle industry is to assume an important feature in the agricultural
program of the islands. The native cattle are excellent for crossing with
many of the modern breeds of cattle. They have size and stamina, and
assume the characteristics of the breed with which they are crossed with-
out losing too much size or stamina. The dry weather has caused a shortage
of feed and many of the cattle in the island are in poor condition. Exten-
sion work has included instructions in farm management, farm health, agri-
cultural education, water supply, and tractor service.
In St. Thomas six farmers are allowed to use the terraces at the agricul-
tural station to grow vegetables, in return for which they are required to
work 2 days for the station on maintenance work, and to furnish the station
with a report of their earnings from the terraces. These reports indicated
that the average monthly income for six farmers was $17.50 from the sale
of vegetables, which is about one-third of the average production for the
past 3 years; the main reason being dry weather and a lack of water for
irrigation. Several municipal projects are operated with revolving funds
on the agricultural station at St. Thomas. One of these is a cattle project
for improving the dairy cattle of the small farmers. A hog project is in
operation with purebred Durocs. The poultry project has not given satis-
factory results due to the great difficulty in obtaining poultry feed. The
rainfall at the St. Thomas agricultural station during the year was 29.99
The Second West Indian Conference
The Second West Indian Conference, under the auspices of the Carib-
bean Commission, was held in St. Thomas from February 21 to March 13,
1946. For the first time, delegates included representatives of four metro-
politan Governments; i. e., Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the
United States. Approximately 200 persons were accommodated in St.
Thomas during the 3-week sessions of the conference. They included
delegates, advisers, and facilitating personnel.
President Truman's message to the conference, delivered by Chairman
Charles W. Taussig, recommended an increasing measure of self-government
by the people of the Virgin Islands of the United States, and pledged the
United States Government to support any suitable plan which would bring
the non-self-governing territories of the Caribbean region into closer co-
operation with each other, with a view to developing the educational, social,
and cultural institutions of the region, improving the standards of living of
the people and strengthening the foundations upon which self-governing
institutions may be developed. The keynote of the conference was sounded
when the chairman stated that a "bill of human obligations" should be
coupled with a bill of human rights in a world which atomic energy has
confronted with two alternatives-peace or extinction. Representatives of
15 Territories attended this conference, including the Bahamas, British
Honduras, Bermuda, British Guiana, Curacao, French Guiana, Guade-
loupe, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Martinique, Puerto Rico, the Wind-
ward Islands, Surinam, Trinidad, and the Virgin Islands of the United
States. Problems of poverty, overpopulation, underemployment, wretched
housing, malnutrition, agriculture, production, marketing, industrial diversi-
fication, improved transportation and communication, tourism, health edu-
cation, and development of local crafts were discussed and resulted in an
exchange of information which should be valuable in the solution of these
problems which are common to the West Indian area.
Throughout the year there has been an accelerated withdrawal of per-
sonnel from all military establishments in the Virgin Islands, until at the
year's end Army and Navy installations, which accommodated a thousand
or more men during the war, were reduced to essential maintenance per-
sonnel. Of approximately 800 Virgin Islanders who were conscripted for
military service and sent abroad, 650 have been demobilized and returned
to the islands by June 30, 1946. These figures do not include Virgin
Islanders who were conscripted in the United States, or those who volun-
tarily enlisted. Coincident with the demobilization of Virgin Islands vet-
erans, the Veterans' Administration established a branch of its Readjust-
ment Allowance Division and a branch of its Contact Division in the Virgin
The municipal market
On March 31, 1946, the municipal market and cold storage plant ended
1 year of functioning under municipal operation with a loss of $8,954.20.
A new local appropriation of $25,000 was made available for the continuing
operation of the market for another period of 1 year. The loss is partly
offset by the public advantage which results from adequate cold storage
facilities heretofore nonexistent. At the present time the market is not used
to capacity and the overhead is high. It is imperative that a new policy
and program of operation be instituted by the market as promptly as
During the year the executive approved a total of 137 bills passed by the
municipal council of St. Thomas and St. John, 42 bills passed by the
municipal council of St. Croix, and 11 bills passed by the legislative as-
sembly. A total of 11 bills were vetoed. Two bills were repassed by the
municipal council of St. Thomas and St. John over the executive veto, 1 of
which, an increase in wages and decrease in working hours, was sent to the
President for his decision.
Noteworthy enactments of the assembly included a law to insure a sani-
tary and safe milk supply in the Virgin Islands of the United States, and a
Virgin Islands full employment act incorporating, on a local scale, impor-
tant features of the similar Federal legislative proposal.
Outstanding items of legislation of the municipal council of St. Thomas
and St. John were an ordinance creating a municipal power authority for
the purpose of constructing and operating a modern, alternating-current
system for the island of St. Thomas; ordinances providing for home loans
and small industrial loans; and a bill to increase the minimum wages of 20
cents for unskilled labor, 30 cents for semiskilled labor, and 40 cents for
skilled labor, to 30 cents for unskilled labor, 40 cents for semiskilled labor,
and 50 cents for skilled labor, respectively. This bill was vetoed by the
executive on economic grounds, and passed over the executive veto. It was
again vetoed and sent to the President, who at the end of the year had not
taken final action.
The municipal council of St. Croix also enacted legislation creating a
power authority for that municipality for the purpose of purchasing the
existing direct-current system and converting it to modern, alternating
Critical problems have developed in the supplying of electric energy for
light and power on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix.
In St. Thomas, 220-volt direct current is supplied by a private company
under the supervision of a public utilities commission. Rates are 10 cents
per kilowatt-hour for light, 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for power, and for
consumers using more than 100 kilowatt-hours per month, special power
rates on day consumption only, from 5 cents per kilowatt-hour down to 3
cents per kilowatt-hour.
In St. Croix, the towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted are equipped
with 110-volt, direct-current systems furnished by a private company. Rates
are 17 cents per kilowatt-hour for light, and 10 cents per kilowatt-hour for
power. The rural districts of St. Croix, however, are supplied with low-
rate, 110-volt alternating current by the rural electrification division of
The Virgin- Islands Company.
In St. Thomas, the decision was made, as far back as 1941, that the
system should be converted to a modern, 110-volt, alternating-current
system to be constructed and operated as a publicly owned facility. The
installation of a new plant and the conversion of the distributing system
were deferred during the war because of the unavailability of generating
-equipment and necessary critical material.
In 1941 an agreement was entered into between the municipality of St.
Thomas and St. John and the private utility company which owns and
operates the direct-current system in St. Thomas, providing that the com-
pany would continue to furnish 220-volt, direct-current electrical energy
for light and power to private and public consumers for an indefinite period,
terminable by either party upon 6 to 12 months' notice.
Subsequent to this agreement, offers of the private utility company to
construct and operate an alternating-current system were rejected, because
of high estimated costs and high prospective rate schedules. Finally, as the
result of a survey of the situation made by the Division of Power of the
Department of the Interior, the municipal council of St. Thomas and St.
John, on December 20, 1945, adopted an ordinance authorizing a munici-
pal electric light plant and distribution system, and creating an authority
for the purpose of operating such plant and system. This authority is now
negotiating with the Navy Department for the purchase of surplus alter-
nating current from naval facilities at St. Thomas, as the quickest and
cheapest method of bringing to the people of St. Thomas the benefits of an,
alternating-current supply of electrical energy.
In the meantime, however, the direct-current generating equipment of
the private utility in St. Thomas has suffered major break-downs. In May
of this year, for a period of about 10 days, with successive service interrup-
tions threatening total black-outs, the Navy Department furnished a tug
which supplied direct current to the city of Charlotte Amalie while emer-
gency repairs were being made to the local plant. By the end of the year,
the local power plant, with two generating units out of commission, was
still unable to supply sufficient electrical energy for the entire town of
Charlotte Amalie, and a modified system of nightly black-outs for various
districts in the town was in effect. It now appears that there is reasonable
hope for purchase of sufficient alternating current from the Navy, and for
its distribution in such manner, within the new fiscal year, as to relieve some
of the load on the private utility's generating units. Efforts are being made,
also, to acquire a reconditioned, direct-current plant so as to assist the
private utility in meeting its obligations to the public until such time as
the entire system can be converted to alternating current.
In St. Croix, the Division of Power of the Department of the Interior,
after a study of the power supply in the towns of Christiansted and Fred-
eriksted, recommended that the contract with the private utility company
be terminated and that arrangements be made with the rural electrification
division of the Virgin Islands Company to serve all town consumers by pro-
viding alternating-current service to the residents of the two towns at the
lowest average rate, and thus make available the benefits of cheap elec-
tricity to the widest extent. Representations were made to the Rural Elec-
trification Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture
to finance the expansion of The Virgin Islands Company's rural electrifica-
tion division to include the towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted. This
proposal did not meet with the approval of the Rural Electrification
The contract of the municipality of St. Croix with the private utility
company provided for exercise of the municipality's option to purchase the
direct-current systems with 1 year's notice from September 21, 1945. This
notice was given. The municipal council of St. Croix, late in the year,
adopted an ordinance, similar to that earlier adopted in St. Thomas, au-
thorizing a municipal electric light plant and distributing system, and creat-
ing an authority for the purpose of operating such plant and system. As
the year closed, the power authority was making the necessary arrangements
to borrow funds to acquire the properties and distributing system of the
private utility, with the hope and prospect of obtaining 110 volts electrical
energy through the facilities of the rural electrification division of The
Virgin Islands Company.
Essentially, this year has been a protracted period of transition between
two administrations, with an Acting Governor functioning without substan-
tial guidance from the outgoing executive or any assurance as to the plans
or program of a new administration. Thus charged with responsibility
without full authority, the transitional administration of necessity focused
its attention upon the limited though important objective of maintaining
essential public services and administrative functions. It is to the great
credit of the Acting Governor and those who carried on during this period
that orderly machinery of government functioning in normal fashion was
turned over to the incoming Governor at the end of the year. In the months
immediately ahead, the course of the new administration will be charted.
18 U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1947