ST. CROIX - Luis Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kendall Griffith on Tuesday defended his decision to hand out pay raises valued at more than a million dollars annually while the hospital failed in meeting basic quality standards, struggled with keeping medications and supplies in stock and could not make payroll without a government bailout.
"It is a judgment call that I stand by, and I would not do things any differently than I have done," Griffith said during a hearing of the Senate Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee.
ST. CROIX - A leaky roof has forced Education officials to close Alexander Henderson Elementary for at least 15 school days after children there complained of itchy eyes, sore throats and irritated skin.
Beginning today, the 430 students who attend the school in Concordia will have classes for the next three weeks at one of four different schools while repairs are made to the school's roof.
Education Commissioner designee Sharon McCollum said recent heavy rains have caused the roof to leak in places, allowing water to pool under the roof and causing fiberglass insulation to get wet in places and drop to the floor below.
The Economic Development Program, a tax benefits program under the Economic Development Authority, is called a "business welfare" program in an audit report published by the V.I. Inspector General Thursday.
The report found that the program was often operated in conflict with the V.I. Code, that very little compliance monitoring took place and that businesses that were not eligible still received benefits.
ST. CROIX - A preliminary report from surveyors who conducted a three-day inspection at Schneider Regional Medical Center indicates the facility will maintain its accredited status with The Joint Commission, according to information hospital officials presented to a Senate committee on Tuesday.
"SRMC is proud to report that our facilities continue to meet The Joint Commission Accreditation standards for hospital and laboratory services," Chief Executive Officer Bernard Wheatley said.
ST. THOMAS - With the official dedication of the new solar energy facility in Estate Donoe on Wednesday, the territory now is getting about 8 percent of its peak load from a renewable resource.
The 17,960 solar panels carpet the rolling valley along the Donoe Bypass, soaking up the sun to make power.
The $20 million solar facility will be owned and operated by Main Street Power, the company that built the project, for the next 25 years. The power generated at the facility will be sold to the V.I. Water and Power Authority and will lower ratepayers' bills by about 3 to 5 percent, according to WAPA.
ST. CROIX - Although Police Commissioner designee Delroy Richards Sr. wanted to talk about the serious staffing issues facing his department, the senators at Thursday's nomination hearing before the Rules and Judiciary Committee wanted to talk about nepotism and patronage instead.
At about the same time Richards was testifying on St. Croix about how he and the V.I. Police Department plan to combat violent crime in the territory, a drive-by shooting took place on Brookman Road - one of the most heavily traveled roads on St. Thomas.