US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

The Governor announced the planned arrival of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence on St. Croix on Oct. 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.

The governor told reporters at his press conference on Sept. 30 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.

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 Sept. 30, 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.

Mapp 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 was expected to arrive on Oct. 1. Generator systems are also en route and work on cell phone towers began on Oct. 2.

“Communications will start to improve,” Mapp assured.

Sept. 30’s Points of Distribution (POD) process was successful and, after a break on Oct. 1, distribution will resume in earnest on Oct. 2.

Health Commissioner 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 started to air on Oct. 2.

With heavy rain falling across the territory, 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 Oct. 2 – 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 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 Richards and 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,” Mapp suggested.

He encouraged residents throughout the territory to “make it a less stressed day” on Oct. 1 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.

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 Oct. 1 and that the frequency of press conferences will be reduced.