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Interior Gives $500,000 Grant to V.I. For Centennial Celebration

esther kiaaina

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Insular Affairs is giving the territory a half million-dollar grant to help prepare for V.I. Centennial celebrations in 2017, Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina said yesterday.

The grant will help the U.S. Virgin Islands Centennial Commission as it prepares to organize events and activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States on March 31, 1917.

In a statement Tuesday, Kia’aina said she was pleased to support Gov. Kenneth Mapp, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, the Centennial Commission and the people of the territory “as they plan their celebration of this significant milestone in the history of U.S.-Virgin Islands relations.”

“The next two years leading up to the actual Centennial Celebration presents a host of opportunities to showcase their rich history and heritage as well as the future of the Virgin Islands,” Kia’aina said.

The Virgin Islands Transfer Centennial Commemoration will be a territorywide, multiyear observation with events and activities beginning in 2015 through December 2017. The centennial will be marketed to local, national and international visitors and is expected to generate lasting impacts on the territory’s economy, stature and reputation. The commemoration will be used to build and reinforce local, state, national and global connections.

Official events on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John will range from parades, sporting events, concerts and multicultural celebrations to exhibitions and festivals featuring local art, dance and food. The program and activities are organized to highlight the continuum of historical events from the indigenous inhabitants to Columbus and early European arrival, settlement, forced migration of Africans and the transfer to the United States.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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