On Tuesday the Legislature approved resolutions honoring a former ferry owner, boat captain, a retired teacher, former police officer, radio host, a centenarian and a musician.
It approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Myron Jackson honoring former V.I. Sen. Bingley G. Richardson Sr. Along with business and political success, Richardson was active in the "free beach" movement, working to get legislation to rollback the closing off of hotel beaches from black V.I. residents.
Richardson was also a major local supporter of the Pan African movement and a one-time candidate for lieutenant governor, but one of his greatest accomplishments was spearheading the V.I. government’s purchase of the West Indian Co. Ltd.
Born in Savan on St. Thomas, Richardson attended high school both on St. Thomas and in the Bronx, N.Y. He developed an interest in mechanics and aviation, and later served in the U.S. Air Force. In 1968 Richardson returned to St. Thomas, where he held positions in the V.I. Department of Housing and Health. He also began fishing as a supplement to his income.
Later Richardson left government service and got a Coast Guard certification to operate 100-ton, then later, 500-ton vessels and worked for a ferry service.
In 1978 Richardson bought one of the ferries and became an independent operator. His son said Richardson ran daily ferry services between downtown Charlotte Amalie and Tortola including special trips to Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke with charters to St. Croix and Anegada.
He also opened the Tortola Wharf Bar & Restaurant, which specialized in local cuisine.
Richardson successfully ran for a senator in 1986 and, after reelection in 1988, he served as vice president of the 17th Legislature. He testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, authored legislation and chaired a commission to create the territorial seal that is used today. In 1990, he ran for lieutenant governor unsuccessfully as running mate to former Gov. Juan F. Luis.
Richardson was reelected for a third Senate term in 1992 and served as president of the Legislature.
After leaving the Legislature, Richardson started piloting barges that were given to the V.I. government by the U.S. Army and ran weekly routes between St. Thomas and St. Croix carrying government supplies.
Then Richardson was recruited by the British Virgin Islands government and became marine manager and security officer for the BVI Port Authority, where he developed a comprehensive port security plan that ensured all ports and harbors for each of the British Virgin Islands met U.S. readiness standards.
Richardson is a certified scuba diver and an aquatic instructor. He also was the director of the Sea Explorers program and the associate director of Aquatics Northeast Region Camping School for the Boy Scouts of America.
He also produced, directed and narrated several educational films on V.I. history and culture.
In 2007, Richardson traveled with a contingent of Pan Africanists and other Virgin Islanders to Ghana in recognition of its 50th year of independence.
The Legislature also approved a resolution to honor and commend Irvin “Brownie” Brown for more than 50 years of radio broadcasting service and for many other contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands.
“Brownie is an icon in the Virgin Islands. He is also an ambassador. He embodies the Virgin Islands pride and have represented us all throughout the United States,” Sen. Almando “Rocky” Liburd said
Similarly Sen. Terrence “Positive” Nelson stated that it is an honor to recognize Brownie for all of his outstanding contributions to this community both on-air and off.
It also approved a resolution honoring Brown’s son, V.I. reggae artist Delyno “Pressure” Brown.
Legislators commended retired Police Cpl. Renholdt “Rookie” Jackson for his contributions and years of service with the Virgin Islands Police Department and his continued outstanding and dedicated service to the community.
Another resolution commended Winthropp A. Hector Sr. on the celebration of his centennial this year.
Senators honored former teacher and principal Leona Wheatley by renaming the amphitheater at E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School after her.
It declared Sept. 27, 2016, to be "R. City Day" in honor of St. Thomas rapping and singing duo Rock
City, composed of brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas.
The Legislature also approved a resolution petitioning the U.S. Congress to offer full care medical services for veterans living in the Virgin Islands. Currently veterans must travel to Puerto Rico to Veterans Administration facilities. The resolution asks Congress to provide care within the territory.
And it approved a resolution changing the V.I. Legislature’s rules so that when legislation is preempted by another senator, meaning two senators have submitted similar legislation and one has priority, the senators are to be told who is preempting the legislation. (See Related Links below)