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  05/08/2019 AG Nominee Denise George’s nomination for attorney general advances in Senate  

AG Nominee Denise George’s nomination for attorney general advances in Senate


ST. THOMAS, V.I. – The Senate Committee on Rules and Judiciary on Wednesday unanimously advanced the nomination of Denise George to be Virgin Islands Attorney General.  George now awaits confirmation by the full Senate.

            “Thank you for your vote of confidence in me and you can be assured I will do the very best possible,” George told senators.

            George appeared before the committee of six of the members Wednesday afternoon to give testimony at her confirmation hearing.  She expressed her gratitude to the administration for selecting her to head the Department of Justice.

“I would like to thank the Honorable Albert Bryan, Jr., Governor of the Virgin Islands, and the Honorable Tregenza Roach, Esq., Lieutenant Governor of the Virgin Islands, for nominating me to this position,” AG Nominee George said.  “Having served over 18 years in the Department of Justice, I am honored to have been selected as the individual to serve as the Attorney General in the Bryan-Roach administration.   It will be an honor to lead the department that practically launched my legal career.” 

During her discourse, George, who assumed her duties approximately four weeks ago, provided senators with an insight into the status of the Virgin Islands Department of Justice.  While George extolled the exemplary work ethics of the staff at the Department and highlighted the many accomplishments, she acknowledged the severe staffing shortage.

“…The Department’s staffing levels are woefully inadequate.  In order to fully comply with the Department’s statutory obligations and duties, more critical staff are required… The Division of Paternity and Child Support staffing level is below critical mass,” George said.  A number of years ago, that Division had five case workers on St. Thomas that were equipped to handle the workload.  Today, that number is one.  There is only one case worker who is responsible for roughly 5,000 cases and only one Assistant Attorney General in each district.  This is unacceptable to me as the head of the Department of Justice, and even more unacceptable to the customers of PCSD.”

George told senators that the PCSD needs more case workers, customer service representatives and attorneys in order for “PCSD to achieve its mission and provide more reliable and efficient service to the public.”

George also brought to light the defunctness of the White Collar and Public Corruption Crime Division.  Citing Title 3 V.I.C. § 118 that requires the Department of Justice to establish and maintain a White Collar Crime and Public Corruption Unit to institute aggressive prosecution of white collar crime and corruption, George lamented that the unit has been virtually dismantled.

“For whatever reasons, members who once served in that division have been terminated, have moved on from the department, or were transferred to other divisions within the department, thus leaving a once active, robust and successful division to a mere shell of its former self,” George said and promised to rebuild the division by hiring trained and seasoned investigators and skilled attorneys with a background in White Collar investigations and prosecutions.

“This is important because undetected and unchecked corruption in our government can cause serious damage by undermining the public trust in government and wasting public resources and money by directing those resources to corrupt officials at the expense of members of our community who should benefit,” she said.

New hires with varying backgrounds will also be needed to staff the recently-approved Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).  That unit was created following its certification last December, according to George. 

George discussed other staffing issues, which she said necessitated the establishment of a Human Resources Division within the Department “to recruit skilled and highly-trained employees, handle collective bargaining issues, conduct professional development training, and administer FMLA, ADA and other workplace legal requirements.”

Outlining her vision for the Department, George said she intends to “administer the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality, and to perform our legal mandates and service to the public with excellence.  To accomplish this, our prosecutorial decisions and judgments must be made independently and objectively based upon the evidence, facts and applicable law, without influence of politics, public opinion, news reports, rumor or innuendo.”

At the end of the hearing, during which George answered questions from the senators, Senator Alicia Barnes who chaired the Committee announced that “the nomination of Denise George to serve as Attorney General for the Virgin Islands has been approved by the Committee on Rules and Judiciary and will be forwarded to the full body with a favorable recommendation.”

George’s nomination was also approved by Senators Myron D. Jackson, Kenneth L. Gittens, Novelle E. Francis, Stedmann Hodge, Jr., and Dwayne M. Degraff.  Sen. Steven D. Payne was absent.

  AG Nominee Denise George’s nomination for attorney general advances in Senate.pdf