Lieutenant Governor Tregenza A. Roach, Esq. has notified Governor Albert Bryan Jr. that he does not believe that only a private vendor can provide COVID-19 contact tracing services to the Department of Health (DOH). Lieutenant Governor Roach has requested that all contract negotiations cease and that the DOH, Bureau of Information Technology, and the University of the Virgin Islands lead in formulating the desired contact tracing approach.
Lieutenant Governor Roach issued his correspondence following the Governor’s public remarks that because he perceived a conflict of interest in executing such a contract, he would recuse himself, and would leave it to the Lieutenant Governor’s discretion.
In his correspondence to Governor Bryan, Lieutenant Governor Roach stated “I will not execute a contract with a private vendor in that regard, unless I am convinced that resources already at our command, including valuable work already done by the Department of Health, cannot adequately address this need.”
“The very definition of information technology by which our Bureau should be guided encompasses the area of software development used to manage the exact type of data that I believe contact tracing requires. In addition, our University with its varied research arms should already be poised to advise and direct this effort,” Lieutenant Governor Roach said.
“If we have at our disposal a million dollars to use for these purposes, these monies should be directed to assist and support our already existing government departments and our University which is already struggling with financial concerns resulting from the global pandemic,” said Lieutenant Governor Roach.
Lieutenant Governor Roach concluded his correspondence to Governor Bryan by stating, “I write this with the firm belief that the Bureau and the University must by their nature possess the skills and talents which are necessary to guide and work with the Department of Health in this critical moment. If working together they (DOH, BIT, UVI) cannot do this, and cannot do so urgently, then we are literally up the proverbial creek without a paddle.”