President Trump to visit next week to view USVI recovery efforts
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Kenneth E. Mapp announced the planned arrival of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence on St. Croix on Friday, October 6.
In addition to flying over the Territory to assess the damage, the Vice President and his wife will meet with residents on St. Croix to hear firsthand about their needs and views on the recovery efforts.
Governor Mapp also confirmed that President Donald J. Trump is still planning to visit the Territory next week.
Governor Mapp reported he had a phone conversation with the President on Saturday, noting that President Trump reconfirmed his commitment to the Territory and its recovery, and inquired about the response of federal partners. He confirmed his commitment to visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands, probably on the same day he visits Puerto Rico early in the week.
The Governor told reporters at his Saturday press conference that he conveyed his thanks for “the tremendous support” of the federal government and its agencies for the U.S. Virgin Islands as the Territory uses its own distribution pipelines to restore normalcy by opening schools, businesses and other essential services.
Governor Mapp noted he was looking forward to the visits from the top U.S. leadership which, he said, would “shine a light on what’s going on in the Virgin Islands.”
In a “robust” discussion with members of his Cabinet, senior officials and the business community on St. Croix on Saturday, Governor Mapp discussed the phased re-opening of the Territory to visitors and to cruise ships. Other items discussed included power restoration and relaxing the curfew during business hours.
Governor Mapp, who reported the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix was expected to open for commercial flights on Thursday, also disclosed that Joe York, President of AT&T Florida, Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands, assured him supplies have begun to arrive to boost the Territory’s telecommunications network, and that a group of technicians is expected to arrive on Sunday. Generator systems are also en route and work on cell phone towers will begin on Monday. “Communications will start to improve,” Governor Mapp assured.
Saturday’s Points of Distribution (POD) process was successful and, after a break on Sunday, distribution will resume in earnest on Monday.
Health Commissioner Dr. Michelle Davis said health care was being provided across the Virgin Islands, while urgent and emergency care was available at the Territory’s main hospitals as well as public health clinics. Mental health public service announcements will start to air on Monday.
With heavy rain falling across the Territory, Commissioner Davis asked the community to assist with eliminating standing water to help prevent any increase in the mosquito population.
The Governor reiterated the Blue Roof program will officially roll out on Monday – more details will be announced by members of the Governor’s communications team on radio and online. He asked residents with damaged homes who are registering for assistance either through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or their insurance providers to put up signs detailing their plot number or address to help adjusters or relief workers identify their houses.
Virgin Islands Police Department Commissioner Delroy Richards, Sr. reported that nighttime patrols have increased throughout the Territory with the assistance of off-island personnel to bolster the safety and security of communities.
Both Commissioner Richards and Governor Mapp urged those suffering from trauma as a result of the hurricanes to seek the help of mental health services.
Anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of the hurricanes can call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish). The helpline provides free, confidential and multilingual counseling and crisis support. The helpline can also be reached via SMS by texting talkwithus (for English) or hablanos (for Spanish) to 1-212-461-4635. “Have a session, have a good discussion,” Governor Mapp suggested.
He encouraged residents throughout the Territory to “make it a less stressed day” on Sunday by visiting places of worship or, by taking in a movie at St. Croix’s now-reopened Caribbean Cinemas movie theater in Sunny Isle Shopping Mall. “Have a wonderful Sunday. Try to take a day for a little bit of rejuvenation,” he advised.
The curfew remains in effect on St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. on St. Croix.
With the severity of the post-hurricane emergency lessening every day as recovery efforts progress, the Governor informed reporters there would be no press briefing on Sunday and that the frequency of press conferences will be reduced.