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Executive Branch

The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the Governor of the United States Virgin Islands. The Governor is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by the Legislature and, to that end, appoints the heads of Cabinet departments and agencies. The Lieutenant Governor is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the duties of Governor should the need arise or when the Governor is away from the Territory.

The Executive Branch in its current form was organized under Section 11 the Revised Organic Act of 1954:

The executive power of the Virgin Islands shall be vested in an executive officer whose official title shall be the “Governor of the Virgin Islands”. The Governor of the Virgin Islands, together with the Lieutenant Governor, shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast by the people who are qualified to vote for the members of the legislature of the Virgin Islands. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be chosen jointly, by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both officers. If no candidates receive a majority of the votes cast in any election, on the fourteenth day thereafter a runoff election shall be held between the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor receiving the highest and second highest numbers of votes cast. The first election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be held on November 3, 1970. Thereafter, beginning with the year 1974, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be elected every four years at the general election. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall hold office for a term of four years and until their successors are elected and qualified. No person who has been elected Governor for two full successive terms shall be again eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened. The term of the elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall commence on the first Monday of January following the date of election.

No person shall be eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless he is an eligible voter and has been for five consecutive years immediately preceding the election a citizen of the United States and a bona fide resident of the Virgin Islands and will be, at the time of taking office, at least thirty years of age. The Governor shall maintain his official residence in the Government House on Saint Thomas during his incumbency, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto, is hereby transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands. While in Saint Croix the Governor may reside in Government House on Saint Croix, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto is also transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands.

The Governor shall have general supervision and control of all the departments, bureaus, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands. He may grant pardons and reprieves and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses against local laws. He may veto any legislation as provided in this Act. He shall appoint, and may remove, all officers and employees of the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands, except as otherwise provided in this or any other Act of Congress, or under the laws of the Virgin Islands, and shall commission all officers that he may be authorized to appoint. He shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws of the Virgin Islands and the laws of the United States applicable in the Virgin Islands. Whenever it becomes necessary, in case of disaster, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, or to prevent or suppress lawless violence, he may summon the posse comitatus or call out the militia or request assistance of the senior military or naval commander of the Armed Forces of the United States in the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, which may be given at the discretion of such commander if not disruptive of, or inconsistent with, his Federal responsibilities. He may, in case of rebellion or invasion or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, proclaim the islands, insofar as they are under the jurisdiction of the government of the Virgin Islands, to be under martial law. The members of the legislature shall meet forthwith on their own initiative and may, by a two-thirds vote, revoke such proclamation.

The Governor shall prepare, publish, and submit to the Congress and the Secretary of the Interior a comprehensive annual financial report in conformance with the standards of the National Council on Governmental Accounting within one hundred and twenty days after the close of the fiscal year. The comprehensive annual financial report shall include statistical data as set forth in the standards of the National Council on Governmental Accounting relating to the physical, economic, social, and political characteristics of the government, and any other information required by the Congress. The Governor shall also make such other reports at such other times as may be required by the Congress or under applicable Federal law. He shall have the power to issue executive orders and regulations not in conflict with any applicable law. He may recommend bills to the legislature and give expression to his views on any matter before that body.

There is hereby established the office of Lieutenant Governor of the Virgin Islands. The Lieutenant Governor shall have such executive powers and perform such duties as may be assigned to him by the Governor or prescribed by this Act or under the laws of the Virgin Islands.

Cabinet agencies are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement and administration of local laws. These departments and agencies have missions and responsibilities as widely divergent as those of the Department of Public Works and the Police Department to the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

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