American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
February 17th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

U.S. Virgin Islands getting $130M stimulus

A year ago today, President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law; $787 billion to jump start the U.S. economy.

One surprising area getting more than $130 million of that is three tiny islands in the Caribbean. Our Jim Acosta braved the elements of a tropical paradise as part of our ongoing effort to uncover where your stimulus dollars are going.

Full coverage: The Stimulus Project

Filed under: Politics • The Stimulus Project
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. mary Jo VI

    First Lady of the Virgin Island vacate pregnant young lady from her seat on the Seaplane, even after being told that there was open seating on the flight. This is the type of things that we as a people have to put up with every day, in the Islands, with all the post about what is taking place it would be good to know that you are even looking at them, or if we should go to some other news outlet for the help that we need.

    March 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  2. Don't Stop the Carnival

    Mr. Acosta, I have just left you a voicemail through CNN services.
    We have situations down here that will amaze you. I hope to hear from you.

    March 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  3. Totally Crucian

    I am so happy that international news media's have taken an interest in the United States Virgin Islands since the local media has taken up sides with this corrupted administration. John P dejongh Jr. is the most arrogant and self-serving mis-leader in the history of the Virgin Islands. His hands is in the pocket of corrupted millionaires as Jefferey Epstein and Alan Stanford. If this it what it has to come too to expose all the wrong doing in this beautiful islands, we have to unite to get him out of office. Crime has taken over the islands and the murder rate is going on a track that will take higher than last year.

    March 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Ashamed US Virgin Islander

    CNN needs to blow the lid of what is happening in the US Virgin Islands. The people are being taken advantage of by a dictatorship- like Administration. Where you must either go along with the flow (corruption) or suffer the consequences of you, your friends and family being singled out and punished. The underhandness and corruption is at such a high that it would dishearten the most seasoned politician in DC. Federal funds are being severly mismanaged within all aspects of the government.

    The bottom line is that we NEED HELP. Our local media outles (for example the Virgin Islands Daily News) can not and will not report the facts and all stories concerning the John deJongh Administration are swayed in favor of the gorvernor. They continue to ignore what is being screamed right infront of their faces; as it is apparent that they are major 'players' within the deJongh cabal. We are a small Territory, but we are people with big hearts. And, we are crying out for HELP. There is so much more that needs to be exposed and told on a national level. Help us please.

    March 2, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  5. Virgin Islander

    @Shannon Burton

    Nobody care's about Water Island. Virgin Islanders, especially locals, do not care about Water Island. As far as I'm concerned, I consider Water Island to be a part of St. Thomas. That was a stupid decision by the previous administration to recognize Water Island as a fourth Virgin Island, and I'm glad that the current administration has not continued to do that.

    There are THREE MAIN US Virgin Islands.....St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. The others are just MINOR islands.

    March 2, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  6. Mary S.

    Money is not the issue in the VI, but MANAGEMENT of the money is the biggest issue. All one needs to look at EACH AND EVERY annual independent auditor report that slams the VI for neglegence in the MANAGEMENT of local and FEDERAL funds.

    If any sitting governor in the mainland would drop $500k on his personal residence they would be hounded by the media, impeached or resigned. Especially when the $$$ were earmarked for public road repairs.

    The topper story is the governor's wife received money from the VI government lottery to lead a junket to Africa to purchase land. The lottery is supposed to help education and not go to Africa to buy land.

    The local media recieves too much ad revenue from the VI government to factually investigate and report these matters. CNN the ball is in your court!

    February 27, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  7. mary Jo VI

    Yes we need the money that was sent, but as a Virgin Islander I must say I don't like what is being done with it, we have so much money in the VI that our first family spent $490,000 to improve they own home, this is what I think that CNN need to be doing the story on, the people of the VI need for this money to be spent the right way, the federal Government have done noting about it, and now you CNN have done a story and said not a word about it, Federal IG has told him he is wrong , but no one is helping the people of the VI get the money back.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  8. VI Dave

    Fox style reporting here!

    Even if the territories are some how less worth the money than the States, plenty of the funds are still spend on products and services provided from the States. So a project here in the VI might create jobs in Florida.

    Basic fact checking is lacking along with understand how our economy works.

    February 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  9. MJ Quetel

    The U.S. Virgin Islands have been affected like everywhere else! People are out of work due to the big industry being tourism.

    Last time I checked my birth certificate and passport said Citizen of the United States so why would they hint that the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands are not Americans?

    At least in the V.I. I see people working thanks to the stimulus and progress on the roads. In the U.S. mainland I only see the signs on the side of the interstate...

    February 19, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  10. Eric Browne

    I beleive a further inverstigation is needed in Puerto Rico's $2billion stimilus funding.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  11. Myron Howard, St. Thomas, USVI

    I must say that for years the United States Virgin Islans has not gotten the best it can get in federal funding until now. To pick on a US terrotory that has been refused the right to vote for president, but functions just like any other state for the most part to me has been a problem for years. Pays taxes like any other state, sends soldiers overseas to serve the country we love, its amazing what we do in this little territory. Its hard to compete when you are small and in times when americans all over are having a hard time. We rely on tourism and industry to be financially stable, but it hard when you are not even taught to school children across the country in depth. Great place to vacation and a great place to live, but bad publicity has always been a problem. Hard to see us on the news, the weather channel, or even most other popular shows. I think we can do more to first educate people about the US Virgin Islands in depth so that folks that dont know about this wonderful place to see, whether you visit family, friends, on a cruise ship or flying in through one of the gate ways off the east coast...

    February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  12. Marc, St. Thomas, VI

    So let me see if I'm getting the gist of this 'news' story. Mr. Acosta is apparently surprised that American Recovery Act funds are being America.

    Oh, and just to put Governor deJongh's target of $250 million into perspective, that figure represents approximately .000318 of the total $787 Billion stimulus. That's 3 one-hundreths of one percent. Sounds fair to me. I'm quite certain that there are many congressional districts that have gotten a lot more.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  13. rdollie

    OK, it seems many in the media (and society at large) are geographically challenged. The don't even know where the U.S. Virgin Islands are nor that they are a territory of the U.S.A. like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, etc.

    The FOUR islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands are right next to Puerto Rico on the map but smaller in size and population.

    The U.S. Virgin Islands are beseiged with much the same local and Federal goverment functions as any state (but on a smaller scale.) The local Guard unit bled and died right alongside their mainland counterparts in Iraq/Afghanistan. Why should it be a surprise that the USVI is part of the national stimulus plan?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  14. ronvan

    WHOOPEE! Let me take a cruise! NOT!! Would like to know what this money went for & was it truly needed?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  15. Eloise Anderson

    I'm very disappointed by the slant of this newscast. As a Virgin Islander and business owner here for 3 years now, I can tell you that although we are a territory under the US flag, we are in no way a US state, with access to the representation or access to services that all states enjoy. Since 1917 our government has been obliged to operate under an antiquated system of laws–and our attempt at a modernized constitution failed last year. To imply that "Paradise" doesn't need help is insulting and misguided. For our Governor, someone I usually agree with, to say that the money we receive will primarily be applied to help tourists is personally disheartening when the territory is in such sad shape with our own day-to-day existence. I suspect it was what he thought CNN wanted to hear–Hey we're not helping ourselves, we're helping YOU guys vacation better! (Our stimulus monies actually go toward a wide range of projects, not just tourism.) Still, outdated power plants cause my 2 BR rental home with no A/C to have an electric bill of over $400. Mental health and foster care services, in essence, don't exist, and most cases are referred to Puerto Rico, a culture wholly different from ours and not easily accessible despite being only 30 miles away. On St. John, the island where I live, we do not have anything resembling a town council and we have been trying to hire a city planner for longer than I have lived here. We do not even have a public high school on-island and our young students must board a ferry every morning to St. Thomas island.
    Perhaps if CNN had done more than scratch the surface with a tertiary, cutesy piece while on a more important news story here your viewers might have come away with a more sympathetic understanding of how a territory works. It would have been so much more interesting. We deserve more respect, and we absolutely deserve every cent of the stimulus money.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  16. Bonny Corbeil

    The CBCC (Coral Bay Community Council) a 501 (C)3 organization on St. John worked tirelessly to get stimulus grant monies in partnerships with other VI Groups to deal with watershed issues that were seriously threatening the coral reef and Bay due to the poor road conditions and silt run-off from building.
    I am seeing the positive impact in our Community due to this stimulus money that will both preserve our environment and help our desperately needed improved infrastructure.
    It was disappointing to see the negative take of this reporter on the use of the stimulus monies in our Virgin Islands. Had he come to Coral Bay he would have been bombarded with appreciation and facts about the good that our stimulus monies are doing.
    We are American citizens; we are deserving and entitled to these funds; we are grateful for them and mostly importantly, they are being used well.

    February 18, 2010 at 6:28 am |
  17. Peter Abbot

    As a Virgin Islander and US citizen (came here from Wisconsin) I have to say this report is really warped. Yes, on the outside, it looks like paradise....and to some it is. However, what you did not see, was schools infested with rats, broken down buildings, a violent crime rate 10 times as high as any other US area of similar size, pot holes in roads so poorly built that they need "repairs" constantly (lining some government officials pocket along the way, probably)
    Poverty here is incalculable: similar to the worst places in the US.
    Do we "deserve" the stimulus money? Nope: we do not put anything into the US government coffers. Our woman in the US senate does not have voting rights. Do we appreciate it? Absolutely. We are a US territory and your help keeps us afloat. We couldn't do it without you. What we could really use, though, is more help straightening out our corrupt government, more help reducing crime, technical help to learn how to build roads properly, businesses that can give our people real, lasting jobs, and I don't mean as waiters on tables, or "house boys" CNN–I dare you to come here and do a real story about conditions here on our little US paradise!

    February 18, 2010 at 5:05 am |
  18. Shannon Burton

    A couple things need to be said about this story:

    1) There are FOUR US Virgin Islands, not three. Water Island has been officially added. Please check your facts.

    2) The "US" in "US Virgin Islands" stands for "United States," so, yes, as surprised as the anchor this morning sounded, the stimulus money is NOT "leaving the country" when it goes to the islands and we do not "consider" ourselves American...we ARE!

    February 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  19. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    They are U.S. citizens!

    February 17, 2010 at 9:19 am |