The Finance Committee approved 45 land leases en bloc Monday. The leases are between individual farmers and the V.I. government.
Committee Chair Lorraine Berry asked committee members to expedite the process to allow the territory's farmers to have executed leases as they apply for grants and other assistance.
However, Post Auditor Campbell Malone called the leases ill-conceived, and said a comprehensive agricultural/economic development policy was sorely needed if Virgin Islanders were going to get a meaningful return on the leases.
After the leases were reviewed last week by acting Chief Legislative Counsel Constance Krieger, a memorandum was circulated alerting committee members that the 46 leases then being considered contained legal insufficiencies.
Three days later, according to a release from the Legislature, Krieger said necessary corrections had been made to 44 of the leases. A lease submitted by Sen. David S. Jones brought the number of leases to 45.
The normal process would have involved each lease being reviewed individually and then being sent to the Rules Committee before going to the full Legislature.
It is expected that the leases will be special-ordered to the full Legislature when it meets Tuesday, Dec. 14.