Plaskett says shutdown is already hurting V.I. residents, workers

It’s day 18 of the partial government shutdown, and its effects are seen across the Virgin Islands.

Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) addressed the shutdown during a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Henry Rohlson Airport Terminal, St. Croix.

Right now, 58 National Park Service employees are furloughed on the Islands, meaning they are on leave without pay. Plaskett also says passports are not being processed.

Among the looming effects, employees in the Federal Emergency Management Agency could soon be furloughed, as well, Plaskett said, which could result in a devastating blow to the U.S.V.I.’s hurricane recovery continues.

There’s still no real end to the shutdown in sight, as President Trump demands $5 billion for his border wall on the U.S. Southern border.

“This was something that the President promised the American people was going to be paid by Mexico,” Plaskett said. “We do not understand why the American taxpayers have to pay for it at this time.

“President Trump’s wall is a 5th Century answer to a 21st Century challenge,” she added in a statement. “It’s wasteful, and anyone with a ladder knows it won’t work.”

Plaskett fears funding like supplemental food program SNAP and school lunches programs could run out if the shutdown runs through the end of the month.