Assistant Secretary Babauta Announces Re-Establishment Of USVI Field Office

Last edited 11/30/2020

Washington, D.C. - Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta announced today the re-establishment of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) field office. The re-organization of the federal Government in 1995 closed the Office of Insular Affairs' (OIA) field office in the USVI and abolished the position of the OIA field representative. Assistant Secretary Babauta, conferring with senior OIA staff regarding the increasing workload on various complex issues presently facing the USVI, concluded that it was in the Department's interest to re-establish an OIA field office and to re-appoint a field representative.

Babauta appointed Basil Ottley, Jr., OIA's current Virgin Islands Desk Officer, to open and staff the USVI field office. Prior to joining OIA in 2008, Mr. Ottley was a member of the USVI Legislature. "Basil is a valuable member of the OIA staff. He brings a real competency, depth of knowledge and strong capacity to get things done. I will miss having him in my Washington office but am confident he will better serve our Department as OIA's field representative," said Assistant Secretary Babauta.

Mr. Ottley's initial responsibility will be to lend greater support to the USVI Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) initiative in fulfillment of the Memorandum of Understanding that Assistant Secretary Babauta signed with the Department of Energy and the Virgin Islands Government. He will also support existing OIA programs and new initiatives that are being considered with other federal agencies.

"I am pleased at the Department of Interior's decision to re-open the Virgin Islands field office, re-establishing the means for more interaction with the people on the many programs and services that are provided. I am sure that Basil Ottley will bring the energy and initiative necessary to making the office successful," said Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-USVI).
"The re-establishment of the USVI field office is great news," said Governor John P. deJongh. "The re-opening of this office will be of tremendous help as we continue to develop the working relationship between the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Basil Ottley has done a tremendous job on behalf of the Territory while working in Washington, D.C. and we look forward to him coming back home and leading our Department of the Interior field office. I want to thank Assistant Secretary Babauta for his leadership and his work on behalf of the USVI."

"Basil will continue to be the primary lead on all Virgin Islands issues and I am appointing Ms. Krystina Borja, my current OIA program analyst, to be the primary USVI contact in Washington. I am confident the re-establishment of the USVI field office and this reshuffling will provide for a more comprehensive, efficient and targeted handling of USVI issues," added Babauta.

Ottley is scheduled to relocate to the Virgin Islands early this summer.

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