US Virgin Islands Receives Federal Funds for Economic Development

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 15, 2013

Above: USVI

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The United States Virgin Islands has been awarded more than $1.4 million in economic development funding from the US Department of Commerce.

Of the funding, $1 million will be used to help establish a small business programme and support new and existing entrepreneurs on the island.

Another $440,000 was awarded to the Bureau of Economic Research for evaluating the territory’s “economic, social and financial strengths” to attract new businesses.

“I am grateful to the Department of Commerce for its decision to assist the Virgin Islands in our efforts to diversify financial resources, particularly on St. Croix, in the aftermath of the closing of the HOVENSA oil refinery,” said USVI Governor John de Jongh.

The closure last year of HOVENSA, the Caribbean’s largest refinery, shuttered the territory’s largest employer and primary source of fuel.

“Both initiatives are important steps in establishing a strong foundation for local commerce with diversified market segments,” he said. “With more employers operating in a wider variety of industries, we can ensure that future generations do not face an economic blow like the closing of HOVENSA on St. Croix in 2012.”

The USVI and HOVENSA are currently in negotiations on the future of the site.

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