Official status and government

As under Danish rule, the US Virgin Islands consist of the three islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, but the islands are now a colony of the United States with the same status as Puerto Rico and Guam. They have the status of ‘territories’. The nearest neighbours are the islands of Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands, but many other Caribbean islands like Haiti, St. Lucia and Martinique can be reached by plane in less than an hour. The land area is a total of 346 km2 with a total coastline of 188 km. 

As a ‘US Territory’ the citizens of islands may vote in the primaries that are a prelude to the US presidential election, but they cannot vote in the actual presidential election. In 1954 the US Virgin Islands were given their constitution, which stated that local government was based on US law and that the islands were administered from Washington’s Ministry of Internal Affairs in the ‘Office of Insular Affairs’. The Governor of the Islands and the local Senate’s 17 representatives are elected for a four-year term. 

The US Virgin Islands are represented in The US Congress by a spokesman/woman who has no vote there.