St. Thomas Source
For the last few months, I read and listened to the many comments surrounding Sinbad's Soul Music Festival 5. It is amazing, that during and after the Festival, how many people seemed to have jumped on the bandwagon claiming fame to its success. After reading former Lt. Governor Derek Hodge's letter to the Editor of July 23, 1999 and his comment, that Jean Etsinger "cleverly and fraudulently tries to give the credit for the Sinbad festival" to me, I felt I had to respond to set the record straight as to who was responsible for the success of the Soul Music Festival.
Does Mr. Hodge really believe an event of this magnitude just dropped out of the sky and landed on someone's lap? I think not! I was instrumental in bringing this event to the Virgin Islands after a year and a half of hard work, negotiation, and dedication in the position of Assistant Commissioner of Tourism. I would be remiss if I didn't credit Mr. Steve Bornn for bringing to the attention of former Commissioner of Tourism, Mr. Wylie Whisonant, and myself the possibility of the Festival coming to the Virgin Islands.
Mr. Whisonant and I then met with Mr. Mark Adkins, Sinbad's brother and executive producer of the Festival and the logistics managers, Mr. Phil Fisher and Mr. Michael Ferguson, during a Caribbean conference in Aruba.
I then went back to Aruba for Soul Music Festival IV, to follow through with Mr. Adkins, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Ferguson, and to obtain information that would ensure the success of Festival 5 coming to the Virgin Islands.
Upon my abrupt departure from the Department of Tourism, I made sure that I provided support to Mr. Cain Magras for a few additional days in order to provide a smooth transition, specifically with regards to the Festival.
Who was responsible for the success of the Sinbad Soul Music Festival? Most people failed to realize the success of an event of this magnitude required many dedicated people that put their heart, soul, and hard work into making sure that the event was successful.
I will attempt to provide an accurate list of the many contributors, and I hope that I don't offend anyone that I may have forgotten to mention: Sinbad, Mark Adkins, The Soul Music Festival Management Team and crew, Mr. Phil Fisher, Mr. Michael Ferguson, the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel Association and its members, Mr. & Mrs. Todd Hecht, the taxi associations, the Government of the Virgin Islands, the ICC Companies, the many sponsors, the many citizens who were ambassadors to our guests, and myself. The point that I'm trying to make is "let's not be selfish, give credit where credit is due!"
It was a distinct honor and pleasure to work for Sinbad, as his representative on island to ensure a successful Soul Music Festival 5. I am proud of my accomplishments during my tenure with the Department of Tourism to include Sinbad's Soul Music Festival 5. As a native Virgin Islander, I will always continue to be a true ambassador for our beautiful Virgin Islands in whatever role I can.
Judith A. Watson, St. Thomas
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