United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor John P. de Jongh has expressed satisfaction with the efforts being made by the BVI government to solve the air pollution from the burning of garbage at Pockwood Pond that has affected residents on St. John for several months.
According to the Governor´s Office, the remarks came on Tuesday October 16 where Governor de Jongh hosted the fifth meeting of the Inter Virgin Islands Council, bringing together government leaders from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
The aim of the meeting is to bring the leaders together to work together to solve mutual concerns and advance common interests.
Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith led a delegation to the event which was held at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel on St. Thomas.
At the meeting, BVI officials among other things, briefed the USVI representatives on the completion of the new Pockwood Pond Incinerator Plant, a project mitigating air pollution that was once affecting St. John.
Governor de Jongh thanked his BVI counterparts for advancing their project and keeping his administration informed on its progress throughout construction.
"Among our shared resources is the very air we breathe, and political borders cannot contain environmental problems," the governor said. "We have a responsibility to honor each other´s environmental integrity, and I am confident in our progress on this issue," the USVI Governor added.
According to the USVI Governor´s office, during the meetings there were several updates and presentations. Counterparts from multiple agencies in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands discussed topics ranging from the development of clean energy resources, cultural preservation, educational and higher learning opportunities for young people, commercial fishing and marine regulations, combating crime and gangs, and the development of common tourism interests.
"VIPD Commissioner Henry White, Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Alicia Barnes, Tourism Assistant Commissioner Monique Sibilly Hodge, Water and Power Authority Director Hugo Hodge, University of the Virgin Islands President Dr. David Hall, and Territorial Archivist Susan Lugo from the Division of Libraries all made presentations," the office stated in a press release.
They discussed cooperative efforts in the areas of law enforcement, pleasure boating and fishing, tourism, energy, higher education, and archives and record management.
Co-chairs of the Inter Virgin Islands Council (IVIC) Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. and Premier and Minister of Finance of the British Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honorable Orlando Smith provide opening statements at the 5th Annual Council meeting at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel on St. Thomas, October 16, 2012.
Photo Credit: USVI Governor House
After the opening ceremony at which the two leaders gave remarks, the first order of business was to adopt the official report from the 4th Inter Virgin Islands Council held in May of last year.
The meeting took place just days before BVI and USVI citizens celebrate the relationship between the two territories on St. John at the 39th USVI/BVI Friendship Celebration.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Governor de Jongh and Premier Smith sat down with the two heads of their respective police departments to sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the analysis of DNA evidence.
The council was formed through a joint memorandum in 2004. This month's meeting marked the first time the United States Virgin Islands has hosted the meeting since Governor de Jongh took office.