Earlier this month, officials released a spreadsheet listing limited information about more than $16 million worth of donations that government received after Hurricane Irma.

In response, the Beacon asked government information officers for basic details that appeared to be missing from the document.

Rather than answering, officers promised that a press conference would be held this Tuesday to address the donations.

“At this briefing, it is expected that questions and concerns will be addressed and answered,” Chief Information Officer Desiree Smith wrote in an e-mail that also asked the media not to report on the donor names included in the spreadsheet, which she described as “sensitive information.”

On Tuesday morning, however, the briefing was cancelled.

“I will advise the media when it has been rescheduled as soon as confirmed,” Ms. Smith stated in a message to this reporter, without giving further details behind the decision.

Barebones info

Ms. Smith initially e-mailed the list of donations to members of the media on Oct. 2 after a reporter for the news website BVI Platinum asked for “the figures in terms of hurricane relief” during a press conference the previous day with Premier Dr. Orlando Smith.

The spreadsheet lists 199 separate donations, as well as donor name and donation “type” and value, but some of that information appears to be missing. A column listing the dollar value of 47 donations, for example, lists “0” for 152 others, and no date is provided for 122 of the entries.

The list also does not specify how exactly donations were used in most cases, though it appears to list the government agency that received each one and the surname of a senior official in that agency.

According to the document, private individuals, companies, non-profits and other governments have given donations worth about $16.12 million to the Virgin Islands government since Irma.


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