Corruption Probe Forces Resignation of US Virgin Islands OMB Director

Jenifer O’Neal, the former Director Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Loop Caribbean
Jenifer O’Neal, the Director Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the US Virgin Islands, has tendered her resignation after it was requested by Governor Albert Bryan following a series of corruption investigations by federal authorities.

Bryan confirmed her resignation at a media conference on Monday afternoon, which he called to update the public on federal investigations that resulted in at least one public official and his wife being indicted.

Attorney General Gordon Rhea, who was also at the conference, told reporters that while O’Neal has not been formally charged, investigators have seized her cell phone and requested documents to assist with their corruption investigation.

US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan (left) and Attorney General Gordon Rhea addressing reporters at a media conference on June 17, 2024. Photo: Government House

The governor said her departure from the OMB is a “big blow” to his administration, but the finance commissioner remains in office to assist where needed.

More heads are expected to roll as Bryan has also requested the resignation of police commissioner Ray Martinez due to controversial contracts awarded to cybersecurity and surveillance company Mon Ethos Pro Support, which is owned by convicted felon David Whitaker.

The Virgin Islands Police Department paid US$3.31 million to Mon Ethos Pro Support for CCTV services.

There were reports that Martinez had resigned but Bryan said he did not receive it up to the time of the media briefing.

Martinez and Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White have also had their mobile devices seized.

Martinez has not been formally charged for any alleged wrongdoing.

When asked why he did not heed caution about signing contracts with Mon Ethos or Whitaker, the governor denied receiving any warnings.

But he however, remarked that police have been able to make progress in solving crimes using CCTV services provided by Mon Ethos.

“When you’re dealing with the person who is in charge of the security of the territory and they’re telling you this is the reason why we have been able to make arrests, find people, and to stop crime, you have to go with what works,” he said.

“The murder that happened right here in St Thomas in front of the Lutheran Church, it was those same camera systems that we were able to use to apprehend the perpetrator right away.”

The governor and AG added that they could not speak much on the matter as it is an active investigation.

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