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Author: William-Jose Velez

Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigns

After nearly 12 straight days of protests demanding his resignation, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló (NPP, D), has announced his resignation effective August 2. With his resignation, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez Garced is next in line for the governorship of the United States territory, presumably becoming the second woman to do so. This is the first time in Puerto Rico’s modern history that a governor resigns. The resignation comes on the same day the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico was set to begin the impeachment process, after a panel of jurists appointed by House Speaker...

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US Virgin Islands move forward with integration of fire and emergency medical services

The US Virgin Islands Department of Health, Virgin Islands Fire Service and the Office of the Governor are moving forward with plans to integrate the Department of Health’s (DOH) Emergency Medical Service (EMS) with the Virgin Islands Fire Service to form the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Service (VIFEMS). The integration project team led by the Office of the Governor and spearheaded by the governor’s public policy advisor Marise James, convened a meeting July 19 to continue work on key components of the integration plan. “I have assembled a team of cabinet members and policy advisors to assist...

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FEMA has high praise for the US Virgin Islands government’s hurricane prep efforts

A number of high-ranking officials from Region II of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had high praise for the Bryan/Roach Administration’s hurricane readiness efforts during briefings last week at the monthly Emergency Management Council meeting conducted by VI Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Nominee Daryl Jaschen. Seven FEMA officials – including Region II Acting Caribbean Director Tito Hernandez and Region II Response Director Jason Wind, who arrived after Hurricane Irma and went through Hurricane Maria while spending several months in the territory – gave briefings and assessments and discussed lessons learned on topics ranging from cybersecurity to the...

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US Virgin Islands officials testify before Congress on Medicaid ‘Fiscal Cliff’

United States Virgin Islands Administration officials from the USVI Department of Human Services testified before the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Medicaid ‘Fiscal Cliff’ in Washington DC Thursday, where they continued the administration’s push for congressional action to prevent the US Virgin Islands and other insular territories from falling off the Medicaid fiscal cliff. Currently, the US Virgin Islands receives temporary Medicaid funds from the Affordable Care Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), both of which provide critical health care support to more than 28,000 residents enrolled in Medicaid in the US Virgin Islands,...

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US House unanimously approves González-Colón amendment to enhance U.S. Military readiness and help communities in need

The United States House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) of Puerto Rico to increase funding for the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) Innovative Readiness Training program by an additional $4.356 million, bringing its total recommended funding level for FY 2020 to $30 million.  This program has had a significant impact in Puerto Rico, supporting DOD missions that provide health care and construction services to communities in need across the Island. The Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program is a DOD military training opportunity, exclusive to the United States and its territories,...

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