Nov. 7, 2004 – Although rumors are rife that the Virgin Islands will lose as many as 30 of its 100 Economic Development Commission companies and company officials have stated as much off the record, Nadine Marchena, assistant executive officer at the EDC, said Friday the commission has not received notice from any company about its departure.
Indeed, her presentation to the V.I. Board of Education in Frederiksted did not allude once to recent federal legislation that limits what the benefits of an EDC company are and who can benefit from them.
She was there to present a check of $3,717 to the board's scholarship fund. The money came from fines levied by the EDC to companies which were late filing annual and semi-annual forms. The funds had been collected since the relevant law went into effect in 1997.
Marchena said that the EDC would like to work more closely with the board to help support its scholarship funds.
She said there were four areas that the board should work on to get more funds from EDC companies.
– Accountability: the board should let the public know to whom the scholarships go.
– Solicitation: the board should be more aggressive about contacting EDC companies and should attend public hearings where the EDC companies make presentations.
-Legislation: the board should be aware of legislation affecting EDC companies and in what ways they are permitted to donate.
-Recognition: the board should publicly recognize companies that donate to its scholarships.
The EDC held public hearings concerning six companies applying for EDC benefits on Wednesday. Marchena said the hearings went smoothly.
Marchena also referred the board to laws governing EDC beneficiaries and their obligation to donate to educational projects.
Marchena said the penalty Innovative Telephone has recently agreed to pay would go to an industrial development fund. (See "Senators Oppose EDC's Settlement with Innovative").
Phone calls made to Frank Schulterbrandt, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority, to discuss the status of EDC beneficiaries, were not returned by press time.
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