Title: State of the Territory message of Governor ... to the ... Legislature of the Virgin Islands
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091731/00001
 Material Information
Title: State of the Territory message of Governor ... to the ... Legislature of the Virgin Islands
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Virgin Islands of the United States -- Governor
Publisher: s.n.,
Place of Publication: St. Thomas, V.I.?
Publication Date: 1965
Frequency: annual
Subject: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Social conditions -- Periodicals -- Virgin Islands of the United States   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States Virgin Islands
General Note: Description based on: 7th, regular session 1968 (Jan. 22, 1968); title from caption.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091731
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 18954781
lccn - 88645079

Full Text


January 11, 1965

Mr. President, Honorable Members of the Sixth Legislature, my fellow
Virgin Islanders:

Just one week ago, President Johnson told the Congress and all Americans

that "we seek to establish a harmony between man and society which will allow

each of us to enlarge the meaning of his life and all of us to elevate the quality

of our civilization."

Those of you who heard our President's State of the Union address must

have been pleased, as I was, that our efforts during the past four years are moving

in the direction of the programs outlined by the President. Education has been one

of our major concerns, as President Johnson has put it first on the program of

The Great Society. The expansion of housing, the development of health facilities,

the advance in human relations, the increase in personal incomes--these have

been some of our main aims, and all our people know that we have made

remarkable progress.

We Virgin Islanders welcome President Johnson's call to a Great

Society, in which every American citizen will live in peace, freedom and dignity,

with good homes, good schools, good health and good jobs for all.

We pledge to work together, and with the Johnson Administration, to

help achieve the Great Society here in our Virgin Islands.



Forty-eight years ago, the United States purchased these islands

from Denmark. The price was $25, 000,000. It is a dramatic sign of the

progress we have made that, during this session of the Legislature, you will act

upon a budget for one fiscal year alone which calls for the expenditure of almost

the exact amount paid for our islands.

That we can and do spend some $25,000,000 to enlarge the meaning of

life for our people is important and necessary to the aims of the Great Society.

But this concept of the President's "asks not only how much, but how good; not

only how to create wealth, but how to use it; not only how fast we are going, but

where we are headed."

Today, we in the Virgin Islands know we are going fast. It is our

responsibility to make sure that we are headed in the right direction.

It seems to me that we are at a point of both completion and beginning.

In the past few years, we have completed the foundation of economic, social,

cultural and political progress upon which we shall build. This foundation is

strong and enduring like the masonry of our c.d Danish buildings. Today, we

begin to build the main structure of our society on that foundation.

Just what, then, is this foundation like? What is the state of our


Let's start with the state of education. We find that in the past four

years 83 new classrooms and 22 special facilities, such as gymnasiums,

vocational shops and libraries, have been added. The pupil-teacher ratio has



been reduced by almost two-thirds. Our two principal high schools have been

accredited by the Middle States Association of Secondary Schools. And today, the

Virgin Islands rank just behind the twenty-seventh State, New Hampshire, in

per-pupil expenditure for education at the level of $420 per year.

In the field of higher education, the College of the Virgin Islands is in

its second successful year, with a total student body of 488. A second campus

has been established on St. Croix, where continuing education classes are being


The master plan for building on the St. Thomas campus of the College

has been approved, and architects are preparing plans for the first new buildings

to be constructed. These will include the library and additional dormitory


Turning to the state of housing, we find that more than 7,000 Virgin

Islanders have been relocated in new, modern, sanitary and safe homes provided by

Federal and local programs. That is approximately 20% of our population.

Continuing government and private plans are now projected to provide 1, 000 or

more new housing units per year until all blight areas are eliminated. This is a

major breakthrough!

Until now, housing projects have been largely concerned with the needs

of low-income families. From now on, however, emphasis will be placed on

housing for professional and middle-income families. Home ownership will be

stressed by making homes available on long-term, low-interest mortgages.


Generally speaking, the state of health in the Virgin Islands has been

excellent. There have been no epidemics in recent years, and our mass

immunization program is being continued to forestall the outbreak of preventable

diseases. Public health programs have been broadly expanded, and our hospital

and medical services have been enhanced by the addition of many competent

specialists to the staff.

Judged by any criterion, the state of the economy in the Virgin Islands

is flourishing.

In the 1964 fiscal year, local revenues totalled $17, 200,000, an increase

of 42% over fiscal 1963. At the same time, the internal revenue matching fund

reached $8, 400, 000, as compared with $7, 600, 000 the previous years. The trend

of increased revenues has continued through the first half of fiscal 1965.

Almost half a million visitors came to the islands during the past year.

They spent some $48, 000,000, as compared with some $41,000,000 the year before.

This economic well-being is being spread over a broader and broader

base of our community. And today, per capital income is conservatively estimated

at more than $1, 700 per year, almost double the level of 1959.

In short, we have a firm foundation on which to build the structure of

the Great Society in our Virgin Islands.

I shall provide the members of the Legislature with a more detailed

report on the various departments and agencies of the Executive Branch in a few

days. However, I want to devote the remainder of my message to a discussion of

where we are going from here.



While we have made significant progress in public education, we must

provide the facilities that will enable every Virgin Islands child to develop his

mind and skills to the fullest.

To that end, we have embarked on a long-tage master plan for school

construction. As a start on that plan, we are going to build a new central high

school in St. Croix and a new junior high school on St. Thomas. The architect

is now working on the design and plans. Construction will be put on a "crash"

basis, and we have been assured that we will be able to complete these schools

in time for the opening of the next school year.

Our long-range plans for education are well advanced, and the three-

year program, in cooperation with New York University, is showing excellent

profits in the form of better instruction and currtfulums for our schools. We are

embarking on a new program of pre-school and adult education which will make

more complete our public education system.

As you know, we are planning a massive attack on illness and diseases

of all kinds through the building of two multi-million-dollar health centers, one on

St. Croix and one on St. Thomas,

The architectural and engineering firm which was selected to design these

centers is expected to present the plans in March. A site has been purchased for

the St. Thomas center, and land will be acquired from the Virgin Islands

Corporation for the center on St. Croix. Each new health center will include a

250-bed general hospital, a 60 to 75-bed wing for long term chronically ill patients,



and a new public health clinic. Provisions also will be made for a school of

nursing and a student nurses' residence.

As we study together the governmental problems of our community, let

us heed the words of President Johnson, when he said a government must be "modern

in structure, efficient in action, and ready for any emergency."

The tremendous growth of our community calls for a continuing review

of the local Government's role and responsibilities. Therefore, I am studying ways

and means to make the executive branch more modern in structure and more

efficient in action.

From time to time, I shall propose to you legislation necessary for more

efficient fulfillment of our responsibilities.

One such piece of legislation will provide for separate De of

Labor and Agriculture.

This is necessary because of the future needs for highly specialized

services in both areas.

The industrial growth of the Islands, coupled with the increased use of

collective bargaining, has resulted in th need for a labor service to be administered

by well trained and experienced personnel. In order to mediate labor problems and

keep our industry moving ahead, we must use the most modern and effective

techniques in this field.

Similarly, we plan to equip the Department of Agriculture to handle a

program for the beautification of our islands through landscaping and maintenance

gardening in all public lands. This program will include a vast expansion of our

parks and recreational facilities.

The Department of Agriculture -also will be called upon to redouble its

efforts to promote the growing of food crops, especially on St. Croix, where

sugarcane is being phased out. The pilot program in this field conducted by the

Department has proven successful. We now must make it practical for small

farmers to engage in such production profitably. In this regard, plans are well

advanced for the creation of farm cooperatives to help private growers pack and

distribute their produce.

On my last trip to Washington, I discussed at length the reorganization

of procedures in our Department of Property and Procurement. In a conference

with the General Services Administrator, we made arrangements to have specialists

from that Agency to advise us. Among projects which we will propose are the

setting up of a motor pool and the purchasing of supplies through the General

Services Administration. This last idea probably will save between 20 and 40 per

cent on most local government purchases, effecting a savings of hundreds of

thousands of dollars each year.

For a long time now, we have been aware that our streets and highways.

are utterly inadequate to the needs of our community. In the past, such things as

schools, housing and hospitals have had to take precedence. Now, however, the

time has come when we must plan and engage in a comprehensive development

program for streets, highways and parking areas. I have been conferring with

the proper officials in Vashington, and very soon I shall submit a request for

legislative action on this matter.

In this regard, we are studying a major overhaul in our Public Works

Department to bring it up to date and make it better equipped to handle its fast

growing duties.

One of the objectives of our planning will be to effect a complete

cleanup and beautification of our islands. This is a program which is sorely

needed, if we are to maintain our attraction for the visitors who are our main

source of income.

It is true that the Department of Public Works has been working hard to

meet the skyrocketing demands upon it. But 7 must say that I am not wholly

satisfied with the results, and I do not believe the community is satisfied. I have

repeatedly declared that it is my administration's policy to restore the reputation

of these islands as the cleanest in the West Indies. That goal still is much too far

off and, at this point, it is beginning to hurt us. The Virgin Islands are in

competition for tourist dollars against other islands which are increasing their

attractiveness in every possible way. The natural beauty of our islands, the

warming architecture, the perfect climate, the free port shopping--all these things

are in our favor. But these advantages can be destroyed, and we can be knocked

out of competition for this vital trade, if our islands get a reputation for being dirty.

It is intolerable that we should spend large sums for tourist promotion, only to have

litter and garbage put a blight on our landscape and our name.

I pledge to you that I will make the cleanliness of these islands a top

priority concern of this administration. I am going to call on community leaders

to begin and sustain a large-scale voluntary campaign of education, monitoring and

patrol to get our islands clean and to keep them clean. I am going to instruct the

police to enforce strictly the anti-litter laws. And we shall see that the Public

Works Department improves its garbage and trash removal efforts until they equal

the best that any visitor, from any part of the United States, is accustomed to see

in his own home town. When the Good Lord made these islands, he created one of

the garden spots of the earth. I now call on all public officials and all private

citizens to join me in a crusade to restore these islands to the gardens they once

were and should be again.

While on the subject of tourism, I believe it is appropriate to say that

competition from our Caribbean neighbors is becoming more and more intense.

In order to keep our tourist industry competitive in price and services, we may

have to make some changes in our tax structure and in other governmental

incentives. This matter is now being given serious study.

I want to speak a word of caution. Our expansion and prosperity have

brought many newcomers to our shores. The vast majority of them are people of

means and skills, who are a welcome addition to our community. We are glad they

have come. We want them to stay and become part of our lives, our institutions

and our ways, and we want more to come. We hope they will remember, as they

mingle their lives with ours, that this is an old and stable community, with some

strong and cherished traditions. It is easy to talk about drastic changes, and I am

all for the most rapid progress that is possible. However, there often is a good

reason for things as they are--a good reason going deep into our tradition. Take


the matter of legalized gambling, for instance, about which there has recently

been a flurry of talk. To our people, these islands are their home, the home of

their parents, the home of their children and their children's children. To them,

quiet and peace and the absence of criminal elements usually associated with

gambling are far more important than anything that could ever be realized from

legalized gambling. I, for one, am and always have been opposed to gambling in

any form. The changes we should work for are those which we know will benefit

all the community. The changes we should be very suspicious of are those which

alter the very nature of the community to provide prosperity for a very few.

I am pleased to announce that the first Virgin Islands project under

President Johnson's anti-poverty program has been approved, with a grant of

$70, CCO in Federal funds.

Under this program, selected recipients of public assistance will be

given vocational training and other help to improve their work habits and skills.

The project will be designed to prepare workers for occupations currently in


As other elements of the anti-poverty program are developed, the

Virgin Islands will participate fully. In the very near future it will be necessary

to appoint a coordinator for this activity.

I am highly gratified to be able to tell you that plans for setting up a

permanent training center for the Peace Corps in St. Croix are nearing completion.

Land owned by the Virgin Islands Corporation will be made available for this

purpose. The Peace Corps will train three groups of up to 200 teachers each

year. These teachers then will be assigned to various developing nations in

Africa and elsewhere to work in English-sr makingg schools.

The Peace Corps has been so well pleased with its many projects in

the Virgin Islands that it plans to use our community as a sort of laboratory in the

development of volunteer groups.

You will be glad to know that the transfer of Navy property in St. Thomas

to the local Government is imminent. Most of the problems concerning leases of

various facilities included in this property are being straightened out. When

title to the land is secured, we will be able to go ahead with our plans for the

development of industrial, recreational and housing projects in that area.

As you know, ground has been broken for a new power and water facility

in St. Thomas. This will provide up to 7,500 KW of electric power and one million

gallons of desalinated water per day. It is, of course, only the first segment of

three important additions planned for the St. Thomas plant through 1971.

Simultaneously, we are making rapid progress toward ordering the first segment

of an entirely new steam generating system for St. Croix. Price negotiations

continue for purchase of the present power facilities of the Virgin Islands


Every effort is being made to provide the Virgin Islands with transportation

facilities necessary to maintain our competitive position in the tourist trade. In

this respect, the most important step will be the construction of a new jet airport

in the Lagoon Area of St. Thomas. Conversations are being held with the Federal

Aviation Agency to implement our application for aid in building this facility.

In the field of human relations, the Virgin Islands continues to be a

leader among all parts of the United States. Visitors who come here return to

their homes with firm evidence that men of all races, creeds and national

origins can live and work together in peace and friendship. I am happy to report

that the past year has not brought up one single problem in the field of civil rights.

As members of the Virgin Islands Convention, as well as of the

Legislature, you should know that the people on the mainland are taking an

intense interest in the political future of the Virgin Islands. This has been

occasioned by publicity .given the recommendation of a united Nations committee

that the islands should be given their independence.

The job our Convention is doing is an extremely important one, not

only to us, but to the United States Government as well. If the recommendations

of our Convention can res- -t in greater self-govefnment and, at the same time,

closer affiliation with the Federal system, we will have accomplished a great

deal in defeating the efforts of Communist propagandists.

I believe the time is ripe for us to receive such rights as that to vote

for Governor, to be represented by a delegate to Congress and to vote in national

elections for President and Vice President, I also believe that, if our proposals

are properly presented, they will receive favorable action in the present Congress.


I know, from having talked with many Representatives and Senators, that the

appropriate committees will view any reasonable requests with great sympathy.

During the course of this session, I will request your consideration of

a number of important pieces of legislation. They will include:

1. An Act for the protection, conservation and development of the

water resources of the Virgin Islands.

2. A new condemnation law which would allow the Government to

take possession of land and buildings being condemned without

paying rent, while cases are still being weighed in court.

3. A condominium law which would clarify the ownership of

cooperative apartments.

4. A new public utilities law which would improve the procedures for

determining fair rates.

5. An act to transfer the functions of the Territorial Marshal from

the Department of Public Safety to the Municipal Courts.

6. An amendment to the Industrial Incentive Act making possible the

granting of partial tax exemption.

7. A request that the Legislature study and propose a new

Commercial Code.

8. The Virgin Islands mental retardation facilities and Community

Mental Health Centers Construction Act.

14 91 aI1%avJL
V ,8 ns5.

9. Any legislation needed for our participation in the

Anti-poverty Program, the Per se Corps Training Programs,

and projects under the Manpower Development and Training Act.

10. An act to provide a new schedule of medical fees in public

hospitals and clinics.

In conclusion, let me again quote from President Johnson's message

in which he described his dream of The Great Society: "We build this Nation to

serve its people," the President said. "We want to grow and build and create, but

we want progress to be the servant and not the master of man."

To this end, I pledge to work jointly with the Legislature and all Virgin

Islanders, that our progress shall be the servant and not the master of our people.

Finally, I can also truthfully say, as the President said of the Nation, that

the state of our Territory is free -- it is restless -- it is full of hope.

May God be with you in your deliberations.

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