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Gov. Mapp Gives Thanks For Sparing Lives During Hurricanes Irma and Maria

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — On the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Irma and Maria’s devastation in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Governor Kenneth Mapp has praised God for fortifying him, his colleagues and the people of the territory for the challenge of rebuilding their homeland.

In a stirring address last Sunday at the first of three thanksgiving events to mark the occasion, he told worshippers in St. Thomas that in the immediate aftermath of the devastation he could not fathom how the territory would rebound. In fact, he needed time to pull himself together before rallying his Cabinet and others to set to work.

“I had to ask for 10 minutes alone so I could get myself together,” Mapp recalled, after touring hurricane-hit St. John and St. Thomas. “Because the devastation I saw, I did not know how we were going to recover. I did not know how I will face the people of the Virgin Islands in this daunting task of natural mayhem.”

However, the self-confessed “continually growing Christian” who is “far from perfect” offered “personal thanks” to God for giving him the strength and wisdom to spearhead the territory’s resurgence in the past 12 months – and for “teaching me again that faith is real.”

“The folks that the Good Lord put me to work with in this Cabinet, our wonderful congresswoman (Stacey Plaskett), you, the people of the Virgin Islands, and some friends on a national level, we’ve figured a way through the mayhem,” he declared to the congregation at University of the Virgin Islands’ Sports and Fitness Center.

“We’ve figured a way to rebuild our territory, to get the resources that we need and the help that we need, that we could all take a disaster and turn it into opportunity.”

Reinforcing his belief that the resilience “had to come from a being stronger, better, and more powerful”, the Governor asked God “to bless the Virgin Islands, (and) to continue to protect the people of the Virgin Islands,” noting that other weather systems were heading towards the Caribbean as he spoke.

“I’m personally hurricane fatigued. But at the end of the day, I know that there’s somebody bigger than me. Somebody stronger than me. And somebody who will not give us more than we can carry,” Mapp said to the large gathering, including Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter and members of his cabinet.

Additional thanksgiving services will be held on St. Croix on Sunday, September 23, and on the island of St. John on Sunday, September 30.

The event on St. Croix will be held at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School and feature the renowned Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights as well as other inspirational groups. The thanksgiving service on St. John will be held at Franklin Powell Park in Cruz Bay.

The upcoming services will be streamed on another online newspaper’s Facebook page.

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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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