David Mapp, the brother of Governor Kenneth Mapp and executive director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority, announced his retirement this afternoon just over a year after taking the helm at the sprawling autonomous entity, which has over 120 properties.
The announcement, long rumored, comes amid concerns about Mr. Mapp’s leadership at V.I.P.A. The authority has seen a number of dismissals and retirements in recent months, along with a letter of no confidence in the authority’s leadership, crafted by employees, which among other concerns questioned V.I.P.A.’s bidding process.
In March, an exclusive Consortium story examined a contract that V.I.P.A. had signed with contractor Lemartec, which included language that placed the responsibility of paying gross receipt taxes for Lemartec on the port authority. Mr. Mapp issued a statement to The Consortium through Monifa Brathwaite, V.I.P.A.’s public information officer, stating that Lemartec was advised that it must pay gross receipt taxes. Asked why Mr. Mapp had signed a contract that included language passing the responsibility of paying gross receipt taxes from Lemartec to V.I.P.A., Ms. Brathwaite said all she was told is that Lemartec was advised that it must pay its gross receipt taxes.
Mr. Mapp rose to the top of V.I.P.A. in March 2017, after the authority abruptly fired Carlton Dowe. On Friday, he spoke of an authority — through its successes and missteps — that has played its part to enhance the territory economically. He will retire on January 31, 2019.
“During the past 32 years, I have seen significantly more highs than lows, as the Agency experienced growth in both the aviation and marine operations, economic up and downturns, changes in the Port’s vision to align with changes in Administrations, all with the intent to make the territory’s economic gateway better for visitors and residents alike,” said Mr. Mapp, whose career at V.I.P.A. begain in 1986, according to the authority.
The Consortium on July 10 learned from a top administration source that Mr. Mapp would resign or retire. The publication on the same day sought a response from Mr. Mapp, but he did not respond.
Even as he gets ready to leave, V.I.P.A. said Mr. Mapp’s commitment to the port’s growth remains steadfast. According to the authority, Mr. Mapp expressed his “full and earnest efforts” to complete the airport terminal designs on St. Croix and St. Thomas, and to help preside over continued increases in new and expanded air service to the territory as well as additional cruise calls, particularly to St. Croix. “I deeply appreciate the trust that each of you has placed in me and see nothing but upswing for the authority in the coming years,” Mr. Mapp told V.I.P.A. board of directors. “Thank you for having given me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The executive director’s notice of retirement to the board gives it time to search for new leadership to carry forth the vision to grow visitor arrivals, facilitated by improved and technologically advanced aviation and marine facilities, while serving the needs of Virgin Islanders and visitors to the territory, V.I.P.A. said.
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