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Fri Mar 16, 2018, 01:53 AM

District Court Orders Submission Of Plan For V.I. Govt To Pay GERS

ST. THOMAS — Virgin Islands District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez on Tuesday ordered the Government of the Virgin Islands and the Government Employees’ Retirement System (G.E.R.S.), to submit to the court either a joint or separate plans to assure payment by the government to the pension system for employee and employer contributions, along with a plan of avoidance to ascertain that the government does not renege on its statutorily obligated duty in the future. Judge Gomez ordered that the plan or plans be submitted to the court in one week following yesterday’s hearing at the District Court here.

The case, brought on the government by the pension system, was one of the most critical in a long time, considering G.E.R.S.’s quickly deteriorating condition (it is expected to collapse before 2023, according to new estimates). It sought broad enforcement of a consent judgement first ordered in 1984, and modified in 1994, but Judge Gomez, at yesterday’s court hearing, heard arguments only on the matters relative to employee and employer contributions being withheld from G.E.R.S. by the government.

The government’s defense, argued by Attorney Carol Thomas-Jacobs, was to contend two main points: 1) That the District Court did not have jurisdiction to hear to the case because the matter should be addressed by the local government, and 2) That the case be dismissed because it was coming some 25 years after the modified consent judgement in 1994. “The case laid dormant for 25 years; the court should not take up the matter,” Mrs. Jacobs-Thomas argued, adding that the case should also be barred by laches (an unreasonable delay in making an assertion or claim).

Judge Gomez, who would eventually allow the case to move forward, pointed to the waste water and V.I.P.D. consent decree issues that have been ongoing throughout multiple administrations in the District Court of the Virgin Islands.

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/featured/district-court-orders-submission-of-plan-for-govt-to-pay-gers/

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