Sept. 11, 2002 – A state funeral with observances in four locales is being planned for former Governor Alexander A. Farrelly, who died Tuesday after a lengthy illness.
Government House special assistant James O'Bryan, who also served as chief of public relations in the Farrelly administration, presided over a Wednesday morning meeting to work out the details for four days of observances to mark the passing of the former chief executive.
There has not been a state funeral for a Virgin Islands governor since the death of Cyril King, who died in office in 1978, O'Bryan said. It is appropriate for the territory to honor Farrelly in this manner as a former governor and the only chief executive to have served in all three branches of government, he added.
Farrelly was named a judge in what was then Municipal Court and then served two terms as a senator before being elected to two terms as governor.
O'Bryan said final honors are to begin on Monday in Washington, D.C. Farrelly and his wife, Joan, had been living in the Washington area for the last few years. The former governor's body is then to be transported to the Virgin Islands on Tuesday.
The body will lie in state at Government House on St. Thomas on Wednesday. A memorial service is scheduled later Wednesday on St. John. Another memorial service will be held on Thursday at Government House on St. Croix.
Funeral services for Farrelly are scheduled to take place on Friday, at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on St. Thomas.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull is expected to lead hundreds of mourners in remembrance of his predecessor and fellow Democratic Party member.
O'Bryan said he agrees with several public officials who have expressed the view that of the many accomplishments of the Farrelly administration, acquiring ownership of The West Indian Co. ranks at the top. "That may be the one most significant event," he said.
But O'Bryan also pointed to a record of good labor relations, social service reform, capital improvements and modernization of ports and harbors, much of which was made possible with federal assistance after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
The Farrelly administration, O'Bryan said, "represented an era of economic progress that was uncontested. It saw great improvements in the infrastructure."
With nearly $1 billion in federal disaster aid in hand after Hugo, the administration rebuilt the St. Croix Hospital and the St. John Clinic. New road projects with drainage systems were undertaken, and the Water and Power Authority began to bury power lines as part of a hurricane mitigation program.
Also on the recovery list was Government House in Christiansted. Renovations to the historic structure began during Farrelly's term in office; they were completed and dedicated several years later.
WAPA also completed construction of a water desalination plant for St. John, almost at the same time as the installation of a new drainage system. Former St. John Administrator William Lomax recalled that until the drainage system was put in place, the town of Cruz Bay used to flood regularly after heavy rains.
The territory's transportation infrastructure got a double boost as expansion of Alexander Hamilton Airport on St. Croix got under way and work began on a new passenger terminal at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. The terminal was completed in 1990; work on the St. Croix facility — now named Henry E. Rohlsen Airport — is still under way.
Three marine facilities also were upgraded — the Frederiksted pier on St. Croix, which was damaged by Hugo, the Cruz Bay dock on St. John, and the Red Hook dock on St. Thomas.
Under Farrelly also came major changes in government services addressing human needs. Several social service agencies were merged to form the Human Services Department. Federal food stamp reforms within the department brought recognition by Washington.
The Farrelly years also saw the creation of a regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area — HIDTA, a partnership of local and federal law-enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. HIDTA was formed as part of then-President Reagan's "War on Drugs," with a focus on transshipment smuggling routes used to bring cocaine and marijuana from South America to the U.S. mainland.
Farrelly also is credited with providing nearly $20 million in retroactive pay for government workers, an action he took in the early years of his administration.
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