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Tue Jun 27, 2017, 10:09 AM

After Puerto Rico's debt crisis, worries shift to Virgin Islands

Last edited Fri Jun 30, 2017, 12:46 AM - Edit history (1)

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Virgin Islands The U.S. Virgin Islands is best known for its powdery beaches and turquoise bays, a constant draw for the tourists who frequent this tiny American territory.

Yet away from the beaches the mood is ominous, as government officials scramble to stave off the same kind of fiscal collapse that has engulfed its neighbor Puerto Rico.

The public debts of the Virgin Islands are much smaller than those of Puerto Rico, which effectively declared bankruptcy in May. But so is its population, and therefore its ability to pay. This tropical territory of roughly 100,000 people owes some $6.5 billion to pensioners and creditors.

Now, a combination of factors insufficient tax revenue, a weak pension system, the loss of a major employer and a new reluctance in the markets to lend the Virgin Islands any more money has made it almost impossible for the government to meet its obligations. In January, the Virgin Islands found itself unable to borrow and nearly out of funds for basic government operations.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/after-puerto-rico-debt-crisis-worries-shift-virgin-islands/sPUqtHhlU4uRD19nllDG9K/

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