BVI and USVI celebrated the 46th annual USVI/BVI Friendship Day, starting at the Crown Bay Centre and ending at the Mark C. Marin Centre on St Thomas, USVI, on Saturday October 19, 2019.
It was a day that saw many cultural displays by the USVI youths, songs, dances, food, speeches and of course gift exchanges.
The USVI Governor, Albert A. Bryan Jr (D), and the Virgin Islands Premier, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1), reaffirmed the bonds of friendship. Hon Fahie noted there is a new generation of leadership in both territories and it’s “no longer about just talk but about substance.”
Governor Byran agreed and noted that he looks forward to the day when there is ‘free movements’ between both islands.
Tortola was kind to me- USVI Lieutenant Gov Roach
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Tregenza A. Roach Esq, spoke emotionally about his fond memories of Tortola, when he had to come in as an immigrant to have his passport stamped as having left the USVI as was mandatory for persons on special visas in the USVI at the time. He noted how well he was treated by the people of the VI and his positive experiences at the then Beef Island Airport.
Later in the day there were more celebrations of the bonds between the Greater Virgin Islands. Senate President of the 33rd Legislature Hon Novelle E. Francis (D) noted at the Mark C. Marin Center how proud he was of the people of the Greater Virgin Islands and also presented a gift to Hon Julian Willock, the Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA).
Hon Willock in turn moved a toast to the people of the USVI and called on both the Premier and the Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) to join him in presenting a gift to the Senate President, as he noted his gift was on behalf of the HoA.
Also, VI’s First lady Mrs Sheila E. Forbes-Fahie presented a gift to USVI’s First Lady Mrs Yolanda Bryan. The day had a large gathering of USVI Cabinet officials, staff, and many Virgin Islanders, who have relatives in both territories.
Also part of Premier Fahie’s delegation were Acting Deputy Premier Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5), Minster for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Carvin Malone (AL), Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL) and Deputy Speaker of the HoA, Hon Neville A. Smith (AL).
There were also senior public officers from both sides.
The first VI/USVI Friendship Day was held on October 21, 1972 in Tortola. Leading the Official USVI Delegation at that time were Governor Melvin H. Evans and senate President Earle B. Ottley.
On the VI side, in 1972, the delegation was headed by the Chief Minister Dr Willard Wheatley, and Speaker of the House Howard Penn.