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Senator Gittens: Transfer Day Is Important For All U.S. Virgin Islanders

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Senate President Kenneth L. Gittens invites the community to attend the official commemoration of the 102nd transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Capitol Building on St. Thomas.

Transfer Day is recognized each year on March 31 and marks the day in 1917 that the sale of the Danish West Indies to the United States was formalized.

The islands were purchased from Denmark by the U.S. for $25 million in gold.

The 1917 ceremony took place on the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront on the grounds of the Capitol Building, as will Sunday’s commemoration.

The ceremony will include remarks from Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Senate President Gittens,Senate Vice-President Donna Frett-Gregory, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Danish Consul General in New York Anne Dorte Riggelsen and the 33rd Legislature’s Executive Director and Chairwoman of the Transfer Day Centennial Commission, Pamela C. Richards.

Senate President Gittens said he is pleased that the Legislature could once again host the commemoration of this important historical event. No official ceremonies were held in 2018 as a result of the devastation wrought months prior by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“In March of 2017 we marked the 100th anniversary of our transfer to the United States with great pomp and circumstance, but it wasn’t until later that year, as we faced those horrific storms and their aftermath, that many of us learned the true value of being a part of the American family,” Senator Gittens said. “While the assistance we received was imperfect and our recovery is ongoing, most Virgin Islanders remain extremely grateful for the resources our status afforded us. Each year, Transfer Day marks an opportunity for us to evaluate our past and present relationships with both Denmark and the Federal Government. I urge my fellow Virgin Islanders to treat the occasion of Transfer Day as a time for reflection.”

The Legislature’s Transfer Day ceremony will also include cultural presentations, to include moko jumbies, bamboula dancers and the Burning Blazers Steel Orchestra.

March 31 is a legal holiday in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This year it will be observed on Monday, April 1 and all Virgin Islands Government offices will be closed.

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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.

1 Comment

  1. March 27, 2019 at 8:53 AM — Reply

    John Mccarthy. Kudos to you for an excellent job, for keeping it real and not sugar coating the real news. V.I.C needs to take notes and learn from the true veteran, and stop their mediocre kids news.

    It is good to read these type news articles, because it educates the incompetent and ignorant people that keep believing the people of the Virgin Islands own the U.S Virgin islands and that the United States Federal Government has no say or no power over these islands. News Flash we were bought for $25 million in GOLD wake people!!!!!! AND STOP BEING SO IGNORANT !!!!!

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