Maekiaphan Phillips lives in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands with her family of fifteen. At least half of them haven’t been paid for work they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria. Two Category Five Hurricanes that hit nearly two years ago.
“That’s a lot of money to lose in one household,” Maekiaphan Phillips, the mother, said.
Phillips offered to provide insurance to Woodforest Construction when they came to the USVI to help in the recovery efforts. Her son, husband and family provided the employees. The only local None of them have been repaid.
“I worked from maybe December 2nd to the new year and haven’t been paid and the check that they even tried to give me wasn’t even equivalent to $100 a day,” Tu’Shouney Phillips one of the employees left unpaid for recovery work said.
We first met the Phillips family back in March when they thought they were receiving their paychecks from another construction company – ALLCO. Instead, they walked away empty handed.
Since then the Phillips have been trying to go about daily life. But had to miss Christmas and St. Thomas Carnival because of their dwindling finances. The family normally organizes their own troupe. This year they had to let it go.
“We were set back three months. Three months of nonpayment so we were set back three months. Now we’re literally playing catch up on everything. Our rent, school tuition, I mean everything, when you have to pay your bills is what we’re three months behind,” Another son, Nathaniel Phillips said.
The family said they had a positive meeting with the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority three months ago. They sat down with all the heads of the companies and hashed out the issues. The Phillips family thought that would be the end. They are still waiting for their paychecks.
“I am really hurt because, too many locals are the ones that are suffering and the local people are the ones that went through the storms,” Mrs. Phillips added.
Mrs. Phillips said she’s on the brink of moving from the Virgin Islands.
But Tesroy Phillips, the father, said he is holding out for elected officials to do the right thing.
“I’m trying not to get lawyers involved because it is going to cost more money you realize that you made a mistake just fix it and be done with it so we can move on to the next stage.”
USVI NEWS reached out to both Woodforest and ALLCO for comment.
We did not receive word back by time of airing this broadcast.