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Mapp’s Tranfer Day Message: V.I.’s Relationship With Feds Must ‘Evolve’ In The Next 100 Years

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FREDERIKSTED — Virgin Islanders have much work to do as we begin our 99th year as a United States territory, Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Thursday.

“Contemplating our history is important, however this must serve as a time to shape our future relationship with the Federal Government and to determine how we want to grow and evolve over the next 100 years,” the Governor said.

It’s critical that we lay plans now to create economic opportunity, ensure public safety and improve education, he said. The Governor urged citizens to treat the occasion of the Transfer Centennial as a time of both serious reflection and preparation.

“I encourage you to continue to speak up and speak out,” he said. “This is our community and we must decide what to tolerate, what to reject and how we can take the rich, woven fabric of our history and set a path forward.”

Mapp, who attended Transfer Day ceremonies on both St. Thomas and St. Croix, shared a platform with the keynote speaker, United States Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who was making her first official visit to the Virgin Islands. The Secretary said that the Administration supports the territory’s right to determine its status and described the Governor’s efforts to address climate change as visionary. Governor Mapp signed an Executive Order in regard to climate change last October.

In his remarks, the Governor reiterated the call for President Barack Obama to visit the United States Virgin Islands. Secretary Jewell pledged to “take back the enthusiasm” of Virgin Islanders and encourage the President to come to the territory, particularly in light of our upcoming centennial.

A naturalization ceremony was incorporated into the St. Croix Transfer Day program with 44 residents receiving their citizenship. The Governor and the Interior Secretary congratulated the new members of the American family.

“We welcome you,” Governor Mapp said.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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