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Bryan Promises ‘New Day’ In Agriculture By Tapping Former Senator Nelson As Commissioner

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan on Sunday announced former St. Croix Senator Terrance “Positive” Nelson as his commissioner nominee for the Department of Agriculture.

Nelson, a longtime educator and former seven-term senator for the district of St. Croix, is the sponsor of the Agriculture in the Classroom Act and was instrumental in the passage of the Sustainable Agriculture Act. He is also the prime sponsor of the Virgin Islands Medicinal Cannabis Patient Care Act, which Governor Bryan signed into law January 19. 

“I am excited to announce former Senator Terrence ‘Positive’ Nelson as Commissioner Nominee to the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture,” Bryan said. “Former Senator Nelson, as a lifelong educator and longtime advocate for farmers, will bring a new approach to the Department.”

Bryan said he hoped Nelson would lead the territory into a new era of agriculture that plays a “key” part in our economy.

“I am certain his relentless spirit and passion for teaching, coupled with his advocacy and legislative history will cultivate a new generation of farmers who will transform our agriculture industry to become a key driver of our territory’s economy,” Bryan added. 

As commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Nelson will focus his key initiatives around developing the Virgin Islands’ agricultural industry and creating a ready market for local foods and value-added products. 

“I will endeavor to build the Virgin Islands Agriculture Industry to a point where we recognize food production as a matter of national security, good health, and economic opportunity,” Nelson said. “I have a vision of an Agricultural Depot which will create a ready market, processing, storage, and wholesale/retail outlets. This, I believe, will incentivize growth, consistency, and availability of local produce, meats, and value-added products.”

Nelson said that he is up to Bryan’s challenge of bringing agriculture more to the forefront of the territory’s economy.

“I commit to bringing the V.I. Department of Agriculture up to the twenty-first century,” Nelson said. “A fresh source of food is equivalent to healthy living. I am, again, humbled but excited at being able to participate in this dawning of a new day.”

As commissioner, Nelson said that he intends to also focus on employee morale, food production, water restoration, market distribution and educating the next generation of farmers, as some of his immediate priorities. 

The former senator also said that he would also focus on restoration of indigenous plants, and forestry.

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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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