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Daily News Executive Editor Gerry Yandel Reigns Supreme In Confederacy of Dunces Over USVI Confederate Flag Kurfuffle

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Gov. Kenneth Mapp was correct to object to the current state flag of South Carolina – it does have symbolism of the Confederacy in it — and Confederate ideals are tied in the American psyche to racism and slavery.

Virgin Islands Daily News Executive Editor Gerry Yandel took Mapp to task yesterday by falsely claiming that the South Carolina flag “has no Confederate symbolism on it.”

According to Wikipedia, the state flag of South Carolina is a blue version of the red “Sovereign/Secession” flag from the American Civil War.

On Tuesday, Mapp “ordered” Maj. Gen. Renaldo Rivera, the adjutant general of the Virgin Islands National Guard to remove the flags of South Carolina and Mississippi from VING armories in St. Thomas and St. Croix and deliver them to the governor’s office so the flags can be returned to their states of origin.

But Yandel’s historical inaccuracy Wednesday in an article published in the Virgin Islands Daily News forced Mapp to back down in the public dispute even though the governor’s information was absolutely correct. As the afternoon wore on, the governor said he only wanted the flag of Mississippi removed from display in VING facilities.

Yandel – who hails from the state of Georgia – a state that is one of seven American states that currently uses symbolism of the Confederate flag in their state flags – erred when he said South Carolina’s state flag has no connection to the Confederacy.  Although he has worked for the Daily News for five years, Yandel still has a mobile phone number with an Atlanta 404 area code.

The seven states that currently have Confederate symbolism in their state flags are:  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“While the Confederate Flag has its place in United States history, the negative affect that it has on people of color, particularly African-Americans, and its symbolism of hate, are the two things that many do not question,” Mapp said.

Mapp also cited the state of South Carolina’s recent decision to have the Confederate flag in front of their statehouse “relegated…to a museum, where it belongs.”

”The symbolism of hate that the Confederate flag represents has no place in a territory whose population is predominantly made up of people of African descent,” the governor said. “We are very hopeful that the elected leaders of Mississippi will come to a similar conclusion as their colleagues in South Carolina did and vote to remove the Confederate flag from flying above the state.”

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KING OF FOOLS: Queen Patricia Rogers, 1978 crowns Gerry Yandel, Virgin Islands Daily News Executive Editor as an honorary Carnival King. Yandel was able to bluff Gov. Kenneth Mapp into believing that there is no Confederate flag imagery in other state flags. As the Virgin Islands Free Press and Washington Post have reported: it exists in at least seven Deep South southern state flags.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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