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Bryan Congratulates New Appointees; Promotes Support of 2024 District Spelling Bee and Agricultural Fest

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. congratulates Antonio Stevens (right) on his appointment as the director of VIFEMS during a Government House weekly press briefing on Tuesday. (Screenshot from V.I. Legislature Facebook live stream)

During Tuesday’s weekly Government House press briefing, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. celebrated new appointments to the V.I. Fire Emergency and Medical Services and the Law Enforcement Planning Commission (LEPC). Bryan also encouraged support for this year’s agricultural fair on St. Croix and the 2024 District Spelling Bee.

Bryan congratulated two government role recipients: Antonio Stevens, appointed as the director of VIFEMS, and Moleto A. Smith Jr., designated as the executive director of LEPC. Both Stevens and Smith joined Bryan at the press briefing for the announcements.

Antonio Stevens: Appointed Director of the VIFEMS

“Today, I’m proud to appoint Antonio Stevens as the director of the Virgin Islands Fire Emergency and Medical Services,” Gov. Bryan announced. “Antonio is a distinguished professional who has made significant contributions to both military and emergency response sectors,” he added.

Bryan said that Stevens has served in the military and worked with the VIFEMS since 2006. Stevens had previously held the position of assistant director with the department and as a Territorial Hazardous Material, Weapons of Mass Destruction coordinator. Stevens was initially moved into the role of acting director at the end of last year following the passing of VIFEMS’ previous director, Daryl A. George.

“His commitment to education, training, and leadership has solidified his status as a respected figure within the VIFEMS, where he continues to protect and serve this community with honor and distinction for the last 18 years,” Bryan stated.

Moleto A. Smith Jr.: Appointed Executive Director of LEPC

In addition to applauding Stevens, Bryan honored Moleto A. Smith Jr.’s appointment as the executive director of the Virgin Islands Law Enforcement Planning Commission. The Source previously reported news of Smith’s position in January.

Moleto A. Smith Jr. was appointed executive director of LEPC. (Screenshot from V.I. Legislature Facebook live stream)

“Mr. Smith brings to this role an impressive background with over three decades of experience across various sectors, including government operations, health care management, and emergency management,” Bryan stated. “His career has been marked by leadership roles that have significantly impacted our community’s well-being and safety,” he added.

“Beyond his professional accomplishments, Mr. Smith has been a steadfast advocate for community service throughout the Virgin Islands,” Bryan explained.

“I’m confident in Mr. Smith’s capabilities to lead the LEPC toward achieving new heights in law enforcement and planning,” Bryan said. “His leadership qualities, combined with his vast experience and dedication to community service, make him an exceptionally equipped individual for this pivotal role,” Bryan proclaimed.

Bryan praised all government cabinet members and expressed gratitude for their service to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I’d like to take this opportunity [to say thank you to] these two individuals for their willingness to serve, but also to my entire cabinet and all of our public servants who choose to work for this Virgin Islands government and strengthen this territory,” Bryan noted.

New President of the University of the Virgin Islands is Named

In separate community news, Bryan commended Virgin Islander Safiya George, Ph.D, on being named the sixth President of the University of the Virgin Islands. George is currently dean of Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and will begin her role as president of UVI in August 2024.

Gov. Bryan commended Safiya George, Ph.D., on becoming the sixth president of UVI. (Screenshot from V.I. Legislature Facebook live stream)

“Safiya George brings ten years of experience in academic and executive leadership roles,” Bryan stated. “She has demonstrated success in advancing academic achievement, research, innovation, and operational efficiency in higher education,” he continued.

2024 District Spelling Bee

The governor went on to recognize students and educators across the territory regarding the upcoming 2024 District Spelling Bee, which begins on Thursday, Feb. 15. Competitors who are successful at the local levels of the spelling competition may ultimately have the chance to compete on a national level in Washington, D.C. later this year.

The 2024 District Spelling Bee begins Thursday. (Screenshot from V.I. Legislature Facebook live stream)

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge and congratulate all of our students who will be competing in the 2024 District Spelling Bee,” Bryan said. “This event highlights the academic achievements of our youth and showcases their dedication to hard work,” he noted.

“Thank you to all our parents, teachers, mentors, and coaches that work with these young students and help them compete on a territorial level,” Bryan expressed. “I know that your guidance and encouragement that you give them every day, and your belief in their abilities, played a crucial role in making sure that they are ready [to compete] on Thursday,” he added.

“I encourage the community to go out and support these young individuals and cheer them on,” Bryan affirmed.

St. Croix Agriculture Fest and Food Fair 

Bryan encouraged residents and visitors across the territory to attend the 52nd Annual Agriculture and Food Fair (also known as “Agrifest”). The fair will be held at the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agriculture Complex on St. Croix From Saturday, Feb. 17, through Monday, Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees can connect with and support local farmers and artists and enjoy performances throughout the event.

St. Croix Agrifest takes place from Saturday, Feb. 17, through Monday, Feb. 19. (Screenshot from V.I. Legislature Facebook live stream)

“The theme this year is ‘Agriculture: Our Future and So Much More in 2024,’” Bryan explained. “Entrance is $6 for adults, $4 for children, and $5 for our illustrious senior citizens. Please support our local vendors and our people,” he said.

Finally, Bryan revealed that he will be away from the territory and working in Washington, D.C., starting on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The governor mentioned plans to meet with the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (part of the U.S. Interior Department) and attend a meeting with the National Governors Association. Bryan is scheduled to meet and talk with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, Feb. 23.




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