USVI Government to send home nearly 500 staff

The territory faces a US$17.4 million deficit this year and an estimated US$90 million deficit next year.

US Virgin Islands To Lay-Off 500


CHARLOTTE AMALIE, US Virgin Islands, Thursday December 29, 2011 — The largest single employer in the United States Virgin Islands is government, and now even it is being forced to lay off staff as the territory’s fiscal crisis deepens.

Governor John de Jongh announced yesterday, December 28, that 143 temporary and part-time workers will be dismissed on December 30, and that another 350 workers will receive dismissal letters on January 5. And, he warned that additional layoffs might be needed.

The territory faces a US$17.4 million deficit this year and an estimated US$90 million deficit next year.

The governor blamed legislators for the dismissals, saying they have rejected other proposals including wage cuts to offset a budget crisis.

Approximately 13,000 employees and retirees are on the government’s pay roll. The private sector provides approximately 30,000 jobs, with the majority in the retail trade and service industries, where low wages are common. The driver of these two industries is tourism, which has been in a prolonged slump. There were 108 612 residents in the US Virgin Islands according to the last Census.

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