2019 US Virgin Islands Code
Title 23 - Internal Security and Public Order
Chapter 10 - Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Act
Subchapter I - Emergencies and Major Disasters
§ 1005. The Governor and emergencies or major disaster
(a) The Governor is responsible for meeting the dangers to the Territory and people presented by emergencies or major disaster.
(b) The Governor may cooperate with the President of the United States, the heads of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard Bureau, FEMA, or the Department of Homeland Security, and with any other appropriate officers or agencies of the United States or the several States or Possessions thereof, and in connection therewith, take any measures which the Governor may deem proper to effectuate any request of the President and appropriate federal officers and agencies for any action requiring emergency management coordination and cooperation, including, but not limited to, drills, exercises, tests, and mobilization of VING. Appropriate measures may be taken to control the conduct of civilians and the movement of pedestrians and automobile or vessel traffic during, prior to, and subsequent to drills, exercises, or actual emergencies to include the evacuation of the civilian population.
(c) The Director shall serve as the principal assistant and advisor to the Governor with respect to emergency management and disaster preparedness planning for the Territory and in this capacity shall act on behalf of the Governor, as required, in coordinating and directing governmental and nongovernmental emergency service agencies. The Director shall take such actions and promulgate such rules and regulations as are consonant with federal and territorial law or policy necessary to carry out the functions assigned to him by law or by direction of the Governor. The Director shall resolve interagency issues relating to emergencies or emergency management and shall utilize VITEMA as the single territorial agency responsible to the Governor for administrative supervision of emergency management activities under this chapter. He shall render periodic reports of those activities to the Office of the Governor.
(d) A state of emergency on account of an emergency or major disaster may be declared by a proclamation of the Governor if he finds that an emergency or major disaster has occurred or that the occurrence thereof is imminent. The state of emergency shall continue until the Governor finds that the threat or danger has passed or that the response and recovery has progressed to the point that a state of emergency no longer exists, whereupon he shall terminate the state of emergency by further proclamation. No state of emergency may continue for longer than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor. The Governor may renew the initial state of emergency for one additional 30-day period. But to extend the state of emergency beyond the two 30-day periods, before the expiration of the second 30-day period, the Governor shall submit legislation to the Legislature requesting an extension of the state of emergency. The request must include the specific reasons for the extension, the time-period of the extension, and a plan of action to address the conditions that necessitate the extension of the state of emergency. All subsequent requests for an extension must be submitted to the Legislature before the expiration of the extension that is in effect. The Legislature shall consider a request for an extension of the state of emergency not later than five days after its receipt. If the Legislature fails to consider the request within the five-day period, the state of emergency is automatically extended for an additional 30 days. All proclamations issued or acts under this subsection must indicate the nature of the emergency or major disaster, the area or areas threatened the conditions which have brought it about or which make possible the termination of the state of emergency. All proclamations or acts must be disseminated promptly by means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public and a copy filed with VITEMA.
(e) A proclamation of a state of emergency may activate the disaster preparation, response and recovery aspects of the territorial and inter-jurisdictional emergency and major disaster plans applicable to the area in question and, if they are so activated, the proclamation shall also authorize the deployment and use of any forces to which the plan or plans apply and the use or distribution of any supplies, equipment, materials, and facilities assembled, stockpiled, or arranged to be made available pursuant to this chapter or any other provision of law relating to emergencies or major disasters. The Governor may, by proclamation, also authorize alternative means for activating the Plan.
(f) During any state of emergency or major disaster the Governor shall be commander-in-chief of all forces available for emergency duty. To the greatest extent practicable, the Governor may delegate or assign command authority by orders issued at the time of the emergency or major disaster.
(g) In addition to any other powers conferred upon the Governor by law during any state of emergency, he may for the purpose of coping with the emergency, do any of the following:
(1) Suspend the provisions of any statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of territorial business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any territorial agency.
(2) Utilize all available resources of the Territory.
(3) Transfer the direction, personnel, or functions of territorial departments and agencies or units thereof.
(4) Subject to any application requirements for compensation under section 1130 of this title, commandeer or utilize any private property.
(5) Direct and compel the evacuation of all or a part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the Territory.
(6) Prescribe routes, modes of transportation and destinations in connection with evacuation.
(7) Control ingress and egress to and from an effected area, the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises, including barges, boats, ships and other watercraft therein.
(8) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles, or any other materials deemed to be critical for the health and safety of the people of the Territory of the Virgin Islands.
(9) Make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing.
(10) Through the Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, take action necessary to freeze and maintain costs of goods and services to the public at a price level existing immediately prior to the Governor's proclamation of the state of emergency. Such price freeze shall include, but not be limited to, food items, water, beverages, health and medical care products, fuel, rents, construction goods and services, clothing, furnishings, and such other goods and services as are deemed appropriate under the circumstances presented.
(11) Take any other action he deems necessary.
(h) The Legislature may limit or modify the powers granted to the Governor in subsections (b) and (g) in any act passed pursuant to subsection (d).