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POLICE AND PRISON DEPARTMENT
The director of police of St. Thomas reports that a total of 1,137 persons were arrested during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1945, as against 1,182 arrests in the preceding year. The major portion of these cases were for disorderly conduct, violations of the automobile ordinance, and other minor offenses.
The outstanding contribution in this fiscal year has been several lectures and demonstrations on police work given by officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The director of police of St. Croix reported that there were 154 cases filed with 129 convictions as against 237 cases filed and 212 convictions during the preceding year. The police department of St. Croix also received the benefit of lectures under the auspices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The police judge of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John reported that 1,019 persons were tried for criminal offenses during the year, the greater number of which were for violations of the automobile ordinance. This was a slight decrease under the preceding year when 1,122 persons were tried for criminal offenses. Fifteen persons were tried in St. John. In St. Croix, 320 criminal cases were tried, representing a decrease under last year's figure of 363 cases.
Adult and juvenile attendance and the circulation of books in the public libraries of both municipalities have been satisfactory, considering the limited space and books available. In St. Thomas, the juvenile department conducted its annual story hour activities. In St. Croix, increased appropriations permitted purchasing of a large number of books. In both municipalities the salaries paid are too low, in addition to the fact that both libraries are understaffed.
This year again reflected a very bad period in shipping, due to war regulations and other restrictions. A total of 204 vessels, with gross tonnage of 264,640, entered St. Thomas, of which 40 were United States Government owned ships with a gross tonnage of 68,709. Shipping, therefore, showed a slight increase compared with last year's figures of a total of 242 vessels with gross tonnage of 259,577.
THE MUNICIPAL MARKET
On April 1, 1945, the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John assumed, by virtue of a lease from the Virgin Islands Co., the operation of the modern cold-storage market erected here in 1942 by the Department of the Interior. A special fund of $11,000 was set aside by the municipal council for financing its operation under the supervision of a board of management and a general manager. While it is too early to make any over-all statement with regard to the outlook of this institution, it is encouraging to note that the initial reports indicate that the operating loss sustained by the Virgin Islands Co. has been reduced.
This year, as in the preceding year, education in the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John has enjoyed more adequate financial support. It has been possible to increase to some extent the staff of the elementary teachers in response to the increase in enrollment. While total expenditures have exceeded $200,000 in contrast to $50,000 for educational services in 1936, very few improvements have been made to school plants and equipment due to wartime restrictions.
Vocational training has continued to receive the support of the Government and facilities have been improved. A new temporary building is now under construction to provide space for motor mechanics and metal work.
In addition to the teacher-training program under the auspices of the Teachers' Institute, a plan has been adopted whereby four teachers of the public school system are to be released annually for study in the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Scholarships have been granted to these teachers to assist them in their expenses.
The adult education program has continued to receive gratifying response. Enrollment and attendance surpass that of preceding years.
The nursery school and school lunch system, which came under municipal management during the latter half of the preceding year upon termination of WPA operation, was continued throughout the school year, supported entirely by municipal funds except for Federal aid in the form of free commodities. Approximately 450 children were in daily average attendance at nursery school centers, and lunches were served to approximately 1,600 children daily.
The need of a new high school and certain elementary schools, in addition to the remodeling of certain existing schools, continue to be the greatest handicap to the program of education in this municipality. Present limitations of space have required the application of measures to restrict high school enrollments within the limits of maximum capac
ity of classroom space. There is no prospect of extending the facilities of education until an extensive construction program of school building is launched. The only hope for the future is in the 10-million-dollar public works program for the Virgin Islands which has recently received favorable enabling legislation from Congress.
The municipality of St. Croix, through the unexpected increase in revenues, has been able to improve the substandard salaries of teachers. The school-lunch program and adult education were continued within the limits of average funds. The municipality of St. Croix, like the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, is handicapped by the lack of suitable school buildings and equipment. A program of teacher training continues to include summer sessions and encouragement of teachers to take further studies in the continental United States and Puerto Rico.
HEALTH AND SANITATION The commissioner of health in St. Thomas reported that the municipal slaughterhouses, nightsoil removal dump, and harbor pollution continue to be serious health hazards.
This year the legislative assembly enacted an inadequate ordinance to govern the production, inspection, and sale of milk, While it is better than no statute at all, it is hardly a means to safeguard the people of the islands from the ill effects of unsafe milk.
The legislative assembly also adopted an ordinance dealing with sanitary regulations for slaughterhouses and meat-selling places. This law required implementation by regulations. Such implementation was afforded in the municipality of St. Croix. In the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John the ordinance is still virtually useless because of the failure of the municipal council to adopt the necessary supplementary regulations.
The benefits of the United States Public Health Service grants have been extended to the Virgin Islands. Under these grants, public health nurses have been trained in special health work in continental United States. A photo-sluoroscopic outfit for mass chest pictures in the case-finding campaign against tuberculosis has been ordered. It is planned to send sanitation inspectors to Puerto Rico for training.
During the year under review, epidemics have been gratifyingly scarce, and the general health of the islands is good. Slight improve ments were made in hospital buildings and facilities in St. Thomas.
In St. Croix, the general health standard was good. Work on tuberculosis control and venereal disease control was continued successfully with the assistance of the United States Public Health Service.
Considerable attention was devoted to the increasing incidence of murine typhus on the island of St. Thomas. The United States Public Health Service recommended a program of rat extermination for the permanent reduction of rats. After a long delay, and appeals for further assistance to the United States Public Health Service, the municipal council of St. Thomas and St. John belatedly adopted an ordinance to protect the public health by controlling the spread of endemic typhus fever and authorized a fund of $15,000 to finance its operation and the purchase of necessary materials. This ordinance generally provides that all business places in the city of Charlotte Amalie shall be ratproofed, freed of rats, and maintained in a ratproof and rat-free condition under the supervision of the department of health. Actual ratproofing is expected to commence in the fall of 1945 as soon as materials which have been ordered are received. The Public Health Service bas stated that when endemic typhus fever breaks out in a community, its advance is not spectacular, but it advances like a steam roller and kills between 5 to 30 percent of its victims. Two cases were reported in St. Thomas in 1942, 8 cases in 1943, 23 cases with 1 death in 1944, and 7 cases up to June 30, 1945.
UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH GRANTS
In keeping with the provisions of the Venereal Disease Control Act of 1938, the United States Public Health Service, Federal Security Agency, allocated the sum of $14,000 for the support and expansion of the program to suppress venereal diseases in the Virgin Islands during the fiscal year 1945. The fight against these diseases has been waged since 1939 with regular annual Federal aid, cach year bringing an increase in the appropriation.
Noteworthy projects out of these funds have been the enlarging and supplementing of the clinic rooms at the municipal hospital in St. Thomas to provide more space for examination and privacy, and the training of a supervising public health nurse for the municipality of St. Croix.
Under the provisions of subsection (b) of section 314 of the Public Health Service Act for the fiscal year 1945, the Virgin Islands likewise received the sum of $4,025 for months of May and June, to be expended in the control of tuberculosis.
It is anticipated that a general health appropriation will be given in addition to the venereal disease and tuberculosis appropriations for the next fiscal year to initiate the training of sanitation inspectors and operate a program to eradicate endemic typhus fever.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE
Improved finances permitted this department to render more adequate assistance to the poor in the form of cash assistance, community grants, services of various kinds, and institutionalization of the aged.
about 25 prospective homesteaders, most of whom have deposited approximately one-fifth of the total selling price. There will be approximately 150 house plots to be allocated on these estates. The St. John homesteads will range from a low of 2 acres to a high of 15 acres, or an average of 5 acres; with prices ranging from $25 to $375, or an average of approximately $125.
PUBLIC UTILITIES During the year under review, considerable attention was given to the major problem of electric light and power conversion as a postwar necessity. In St. Thomas, the electric current used is 220 volts direct current, and is supplied by a private company under the supervision of the public utilities commission. In St. Croix, the towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted are equipped with 110 volts direct current systems furnished by a private company under supervision of the light and power commission. Operating costs are high, resulting in abnormally high rates to consumers. The rural districts of St. Croix however, are supplied with a low rate 110 volts alternating current service by the rural electrification division of the Virgin Islands Co.
In St. Thomas, the private company which has been furnishing electric light and power to the consuming public over a great many years, requested a long-term franchise as a condition precedent to obligating itself to convert to alternating current. This company secured the services of consulting engineers from the United States and made an exhaustive report on new generating facilities and distribution system conversion. Because the proposed investment and resultant estimated rates were considered abnormal, thé public utilities commission of the municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, with the approval of the municipal council and the Governor, appealed to the Secretary of the Interior for professional assistance for the purpose of making an independent survey, The chief engineer of the Division of Power, Department of the Interior, was assigned to investigate the power supply situation of Charlotte Amalie. His report, submitted shortly after the close of the fiscal year, recommended that cheap alternating current service be made available to the people of St. Thomas by a municipal electric system to be supervised by a power board. The estimated investment was given at $371,500 with an average return of 3.39 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is less than one-half the 7.5-cent return called for by the consulting engineers of the private utility. . On the island of St. Croix, the municipal council was in process of considering a report from its light and power commission recommend ing the renewal for 25 years of the private franchise for light and power for the two towns with slightly reduced rates, when the chief