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V.I. G.O.P. Bigwigs Powwow With Congressional Leaders Over Territorial Rights Issues

Jevon Williams (left) and John Canegata.

WASHINGTON — The Virgin Islands delegation to the inauguration
of President-elect Donald Trump met with the U.S. Senate today to
bring awareness to critical issues facing the territory.

Leading the delegation in meeting with the Republican majority on the
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was territorial
Republican Chairman John Canegata.

“As leaders of the majority party in Washington, we are uniquely
positioned to advocate for our island communities,” Canegata said. “We
are making sure Congress understands what we’re facing and how it can
help to ensure a better, brighter future for all Virgin Islanders.”

National Committeeman Jevon Williams and St. Thomas businessman Gordon
Ackley, the 2016 GOP nominee for Congress, joined Canegata on Capitol

Earlier in the week, the Virgin Islands delegation met with the U.S.
House of Representatives Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska
Native Affairs.

Meanwhile, the territory’s three members of the Republican
National Committee joined GOP leaders from across the country in
electing the party’s new national chairman on Wednesday.

Republican Chairman John Canegata, National Committeewoman and former
territorial Sen. Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal, and National Committeeman
Jevon Williams cast their votes for Ronna Romney McDaniel to succeed
incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus as chairman of the
Republican National Committee.

“I’ve spent my entire career in public service fighting to create
opportunities for women,” said Belardo de O’Neal. “It will be great to
address the leader of our party as madam chairman.”

Canegata, Belardo de O’Neal and Williams have been in Washington all
week for meetings ahead of Trump’s inauguration Friday.

Later today they will meet with the Republican majority on the U.S.
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has
jurisdiction over the Virgin Islands and the other four U.S.

Each of the 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia
are represented on the Republican National Committee by three
members—the state chairman, national committeewoman, and national

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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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