The Family Support Network (FSN) was prompted to commence offering counselling sessions on Saturdays following an increase in the number of persons seeking services from the non-profit organization.
Executive Director of the Family Support Network, Dr. Sylvia Simmonds reported that the organization recorded a 12 percent increase in new clients between 2014 and 2015. Overall all Dr. Simmonds said that over 1,000 persons passed through FSN’s doors in search of services.
She said that there was a 58 percent increase in counseling sessions, which prompted FSN to begin opening on Saturdays. In breaking down the number of counseling sessions, Dr. Simmonds said: “That’s 681 counseling sessions in 2015, 138 for men, 437 for women, 106 for children.”
It was mentioned that 222 persons utilized the various services that FSN offers—this total includes 34 men, 161 women, and 37 children. There was a 129 percent increase in food distribution. In fact, 647 families accessed the FSN pantry.
The Executive Director thanked private donors that continue to assist the organization. She said: “We gratefully receive from people like Steve and Julie Cooper who, on their own steam created Quiz Nite for Charity at Bamboushay every wednesday night, and kind sponsors who match the dollars donated by the players. So thanks to FSN’s sponsor Conyers Dill and Pearman for graciously agreeing to match the contributions. It takes the entire community to keep up with the needs in our community. Thanks to everyone who heeds the call,” she said.
Additional judges have been appointed to the commercial court, and Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced on May 3 that the new appointments will greatly boost the court, which already has an international reputation.
During a press conference, Hon. Smith announced that Justice Gerhard Wallbank and Justice Jules Sher QC have been appointed to serve in the Commercial Court for specific periods.
In expressing thanks to the Chief Justice for making the appointments, Hon. Smith said: “Recognising the value of an effective and efficient judiciary to the Territory’s commercial sector, including the financial services industry, my Government is pleased that in recent weeks, the Chief Justice has appointed additional judges to the Court to keep pace with its growing and increasingly complex caseload, in order to maintain the efficiency of the court.”
Further, Hon. Smith said that he expects that additional announcements of further appointments and additional resources will soon be forthcoming.
“The judicial system of the Virgin Islands is critical to the social and economic health of the Territory, and my Government is committed to providing whatever support that we can to ensure that that judicial system is effective and efficient,” the Premier said.
Since its establishment in 2009, the Commercial Court has been very successful due largely to the efficiency with which matters have been listed, heard and decided. The Court now has a stellar international reputation which, in turn, has made it invaluable for the litigation of an increasing number and variety of significant commercial disputes.
In fact, the Premier described the efficient and effective operation of the court as a fillip to the Territory’s financial services industry.