The Office of the Lieutenant Governor on Friday announced that the St. Thomas Recorder of Deeds Division, located at Suite 1 B Ground Floor of the Nisky Center, will resume regular operating hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Monday.
The operations of the Recorder of Deeds have been significantly interrupted over the course of the last month, said the office, citing a breach of computer systems the office suffered that “severely impacted all of its divisions as well as other government agencies.” Later, a Covid-19 outbreak in the Recorder of Deeds Division at the Nisky Center caused further interruption.
Realtors said the Recorder of Deeds office being offline had impacted their ability to conduct business for a month, an interruption that came at a time when the real estate market in the territory has been experiencing a notable increase in activity.
“We moved with haste to address the computer issues,” Mr. Roach said. “However, as soon as the offices appeared to be getting back on track and were addressing the resulting backlog in services, then a Covid outbreak occurred with the Recorder of Deeds Division being particularly hard hit.”
He added. “We then activated sanitization protocols, and COVID screenings of the employees at that site. In adhering to guidelines by the Department of Health, employees were then quarantined for varying periods, and offices closed for more than a week.”
Mr. Roach added that it has been “a real coco bay pon top a yaws situation,” meaning that the Offices predicament of one calamity compounding the effects of another. “We recognize the importance of the services that this Division provides, but the temporary closure was both necessary and unavoidable to protect the health and safety of both our employees and the members of the public,” he said.
The lieutenant governor apologized to clients and customers for any inconveniences caused by these events.
Recognizing employees’ efforts during the disrupting events, Mr. Roach stated, “We also commend our employees, some of whom have continued to work, even while in quarantine, on addressing the backlog so that the Division may reopen with substantial efficiency.”
Mr. Roach also warned of delays as the division reopens with employees he said were “traumatized” by the Covid-19 outbreak. “Please bear with us when we reopen, as there may still be come delays. Covid is not over, so we recognize that some employees are still somewhat traumatized by this Covid close call and are still mindful of the realities of the pandemic, its uncertainties, anxieties, and other facets that may be immediately outside of our control,” Mr. Roach said.
The Offices of the Tax Assessor and Tax Collector, Cadastral Unit, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), V.I. Medicare/Virgin Islands State Health Insurance Assistance Program (VISHIP), and cashiers re-opened on Tuesday, April 20 and resumed regular business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
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