Former Government House Hopefuls Leading Different Lives Now

April 27, 2007 — They were some of the territory's most enduring political faces — some with decades of service as senators or stints as lieutenant governor.
They risked it all in bids to take Government House in November, ultimately losing to John deJongh Jr. — a financial consultant who had never held elected office before.
So where are Vargrave Richards, Lorraine Berry, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Kenneth Mapp and Almando "Rocky" Liburd now?
Some are relaxing after so much time at the center of the political stage. Others are stewing. And others we just don't know about.

Off the Political Roller Coaster
Former Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards said he's decompressing after 14 years in office.
"It's defrosting," he said of civilian life. "It's been, in a funny way, very exciting."
Richards, 49, joined the Senate in 1995 and rose to Senate vice president in 1997, then served as president in 1999. He left the Senate in 2003 and was elected lieutenant governor under former Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. His bid to take over after Turnbull's two terms failed in the Democratic primary election in September.
"What I find is, I was on a roller coaster, and I wasn't as conscious of it as I thought," he said Thursday. "Now that I'm off it, I feel a little relief of pressure."
Richards is contemplating opening a consulting firm where he can use his knowledge of V.I. government procedures to help new business start up in the territory.
"Clearly, it affords me an opportunity to learn and explore the private sector," he said.
Preparing Her Memoirs
Lorraine Berry, probably the most recognizable face in V.I. politics, first took office in January 1983 as a member of the 15th Legislature. And there she remained for 24 years — taking the Senate presidency in the 22nd and 26th Legislatures.
She ran for lieutenant governor under gubernatorial candidate Judge Edgar Ross, who briefly retired after losing in the primary. He's now a Superior Court judge.
Berry seemed to always be in the public eye. Then, suddenly, she was gone.
"I'm retired," Berry said in March. "I don't know what the future will offer."
She plans to chronicle her near quarter-century in office by writing a memoir, but admits it isn't an easy task.
"It's a lot of work because I have a lot, a lot of files," she said. "And, of course, I'm unwinding after 24 years in office."
Berry said she is devoting her newfound free time to her husband, three children and new grandson, born in November.
She's also getting back to the more simple things many of us take for granted, such as eating home-cooked meals at regular hours.
"Because I ate and worked," she said. "I didn't have time to leave the office unless it was a luncheon meeting. It's a real change of pace and it's enjoyable."
Preparing for More Battles
Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg joined the Senate in 1995, where he remained until his failed bid for governor last year.
Donastorg made a name for himself as a senator by fighting uphill battles.
He took on Jeffrey Prosser, questioning EDC benefits for Innovative Communications Corp. and sparred with Kenneth Blake and the Carnival Committee, demanding that they open their books and show how they had spent public money on the annual festival. He even took on his own government, suing for timely issuance of income tax returns.
Donastorg's sometimes adversarial style earned him respect, but also a list of perceived enemies.
In an interview last week, the nine-term senator called Gov. John deJongh Jr.'s administration "The Wicked Clan" and said he did not want to reveal too much about his recent activities and future plans for fear deJongh may try to undermine him.
"DeJongh and the wicked clan may try to hurt me," Donastorg said. "They continue to attempt to destroy me."
He plans, among other things, to pen a regular news/editorial column detailing V.I. government mistakes, and how others take credit for work he did while a senator.
"You see the viciousness and attacks," Donastorg said. "At times you question yourself and ask if it's all worth it. Now that I'm out (of office), my family and I see that it was worth it. But I'm getting ready to break my silence."
He also plans to get into consulting, helping businesses new to the territory learn the labyrinthine bureaucracy.
But first he's taking a short break. "I just wanted to take a grace period," Donastorg said. "I've worked 18 years continuously without a vacation."
"Off the Mapp" and Under the Radar
The other unsuccessful candidates for governor now out of office are Kenneth Mapp and running mate Almando "Rocky" Liburd.
Mapp served in the 15th Legislature and briefly in the 18th, before being declared ineligible and forced out in 1989. He was lieutenant governor under Roy L. Schneider from 1995-1999.
Mapp did not return messages requesting an interview. When finally reached by telephone, Mapp declined to answer questions, saying he would call right back, which he did not do.
Almando Liburd was in the Senate from 1991 to 2005, serving as President of the 24th legislature.
Liburd did not immediately answer phone messages seeking comment for this article.
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