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MAPP: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix Residents Deserve Full Voting Rights And Political Representation

WEIGHT TRANSFER: Ceremonial Gov. Kenneth Mapp is all smiles as he greets the crowd gathered in St. Thomas for official Transfer Day events.

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Gov. Kenneth Mapp says residents of these islands deserve full voting rights and political representation.

Mapp spoke Friday evening during a ceremony marking the centennial of the Virgin Islands’ transfer from Denmark to the United States. He said the island’s residents also deserve equitable treatment in federal programs.

The governor said the territory has experienced stellar growth over the past century and now has advantages such as disaster assistance and military protection because of its special relationship to the United States.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke read a message from President Donald Trump during the ceremony hailing the territory’s contributions to the United States’ vibrancy and strength.

The Virgin Islands Republican Party said that “Trump has shown an unprecedented commitment to the Virgin Islands as the U.S. territory celebrates 100 years under the American flag.”

“We thank God for the U.S. Virgin Islands, for its wonderful people, and for making the U.S. Virgin Islands part of the United States of America,” the president said in a prepared Transfer Day statement.

The statement came on the same day that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was on St. Croix for the Transfer Day commemoration.

“Today is a testament to the Virgin Islanders whose commitment, vision, expertise, and sacrifice built these islands, enriched our shared history and contributed to our national security,” Secretary Zinke said. “Since joining the American family, Virgin Islanders have distinguished themselves in education, medicine, engineering, politics, law, entertainment, and sports. And many of their sons and daughters have honorably served and are serving with distinction in the U.S. Armed Forces to provide for our Nation’s defense. As we celebrate the history and heritage of your islands, President Trump has asked me to convey his heartfelt congratulations and very best wishes to the people of the Virgin Islands on this historic occasion.”

“The fact that Secretary Zinke chose St. Croix and the Virgin Islands as the first territory to visit speaks volumes about the administration’s commitment to ensuring a better, brighter future for all Americans, including Virgin Islanders,” said Virgin Islands GOP National Committeeman Jevon Williams. “No president and no secretary of Interior have been there for Virgin Islanders like President Trump
and Secretary Zinke.”

President Trump’s complete remarks on Transfer Day can be found here.

CRUCIAN CONFUSION: People gathered on St. Croix near Fort Christiansvaern for Transfer Day events.

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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 50 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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