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Brin Retires as VIPA Director

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Feb. 4, 2008 — V.I. Port Authority Director Darlan Brin announced his retirement Monday.
The announcement makes the third time in the five years Brin has held the post that he has made public plans to step down. The Source was not able to reach Brin for comment Monday evening.
His retirement will be effective Feb. 22, when Deputy Executive Director Kenn Hobson will take over as acting director, Brin said in a VIPA news release. Hobson previously served as VIPA's director of property management.
Cassam Pancham, chairman of the VIPA board, expressed the board's gratitude for Brin's many years of service to the authority and the V.I. community.
"The last quarter century has seen the transformation, modernization, development and enhancement of virtually all port facilities and properties in the Virgin Islands," Pancham said, according to the release. "In his five years as executive director, and in his prior 20 years as planner, Darlan Brin has played a central role in all of these activities. We will all miss the insight and experience that he brought to our deliberations and to his skillful direction of this critical agency."
Speaking by phone Monday evening, Pancham said, "He wants to retire and, obviously, it's his decision. He has done a good job for the authority as executive director, and before that, as chief planner."
Pancham didn't go into detail, but he said Brin is leaving "for personal reasons."
"The board will start a search for a new director, but we haven't had a chance to discuss it as yet," Pancham said. "We have just made sure there's somebody to serve as acting director. Kenn Hobson fills in when Darlan is away. He will serve while we decide which direction we are going."
Brin's tenure at the helm of the authority has overseen turbulent times in the cruise industry. Among the most volatile issues has been the continuing construction of the Crown Bay Center, delayed numerous times over several years. Another issue: VIPA's 2006 agreement with Princess Cruise Line, Cunard Cruise Line and P&O Cruises to dock at the authority's newly extended Crown Bay piers. That agreement incurred the ire of West Indian Co. Ltd. President Edward Thomas. Havensight merchants say the Crown Bay agreement is seriously affecting their sales.
The feud between the two government agencies escalated to the point of the agencies asking the federal government to intervene, a move that did not sit well with Gov. John deJongh Jr. In his 2007 State of the Territory address, the governor said, "Two agencies that are owned and controlled by the government of the Virgin Islands, and whose operations are critical to our future, were sitting before federal officials because, back home in the Virgin Islands, we were not taking care of business."
The governor praised the efforts of both agencies in his 2008 address, however, referring to "the new and effective commitments of the management and board of the Virgin Islands Port Authority and the West Indian Company to work together for the welfare of the territory."
Under his watch, Brin has also come under fire from the airlines for raising landing fees at the airports, a move he was maintained necessary for VIPA to survive. In 2006, he angered Bournefield residents when they received eviction notices because of the proposed relocation of Addelita Cancryn Junior High School to the area. VIPA is the landlord of the property. (See "Port Authority Director Fires Off at Administration.")
Brin has a more than 30-year career in the V.I. government, with 20 years at the authority. The VIPA board unanimously named Brin executive director in December 2002 following Gordon Finch's retirement.
After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in business and economics and another master's in city planning, Brin worked at the then-V.I. Planning Office, where he served as assistant director of planning from 1973 to 1979. He was commissioner of the Conservation and Cultural Affairs Department (now Planning and Natural Resources) from 1979 to 1982 before joining VIPA.
Brin has had several projects come to fruition under his watch, notably the Enighed Pond commercial port on St. John and the Crown Bay project on St. Thomas. Both projects have been on the books for decades, fraught with legal, environmental and funding problems.
Brin first gave notice he was quitting in August 2003, when he said he would leave at the end of the year, declining to give a reason for his decision. In December of that year, he retracted that decision, again declining to reveal his reasons.
In October 2005, Brin again announced he would take his leave, but he changed his mind a few days later, and submitted a letter to the board at an Oct. 19 meeting withdrawing the letter of resignation he had submitted the previous week. It took the board all day — including three executive sessions — to act on his letter. (See "VIPA Board Votes to Keep Brin, Delay Gallows Bay.")
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