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St. Thomas Prepares for Carnival Horse Races; Bryan Enthusiastic About USVI Tourism and Infrastructure Opportunities

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. provides updates during a Government House weekly press briefing Monday. (Photo courtesy Government House of the V.I. Facebook)
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. provides updates during a Government House weekly press briefing Monday. (Photo courtesy Government House Facebook)

During Monday’s weekly Government House press briefing, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. celebrated the upcoming horse races at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas during Carnival. Bryan also shared updates and enthusiasm regarding the future of tourism and improved infrastructure across the territory.

Bryan was joined by Calvert White, commissioner of the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation, who provided details about the highly anticipated horse races scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. May 3. Numerous upgrades have been made to the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack, which has been closed for the past seven years.

Calvert White, commissioner of the Sports, Parks and Recreation Department, provided details about the highly anticipated horse races scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. May 3. (Photo courtesy Government House of the V.I. Facebook)
Calvert White, commissioner of the Sports, Parks and Recreation Department, provided details about the highly anticipated horse races scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. May 3. (Photo courtesy Government House Facebook)

“It is important to clarify that it was always DSPR and Southland Gaming’s intention to produce and give the community a better experience than we previously had [at the racetrack],” White stated.

White explained that the grandstands are now three times the size of the original, and the height has been elevated to 10 feet, providing enhanced visibility from the bleachers. A VIP section and numerous bars and vendors throughout the facility will be available, providing various food options for attendees. Folding chairs will also be available for purchase.

Six horse races are scheduled for May 3, with the first race commencing at 1 p.m. and subsequent races starting every 45 minutes afterward. A seventh race is currently being planned. In addition to the horse races, there will be activities and entertainment during the event, including music.

Details were provided about horse races May 3 at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy Eventbrite and Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack)
Details were provided about horse races May 3 at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy Eventbrite and Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack)

Tickets may be purchased at the racetrack or online before the event on Eventbrite. Admission for adults is $25 and $5 for children under the age of 12. Parking will be available for $5 at Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School and the Ezra Fredericks Ball Park. Shuttles will provide transportation to and from the racetrack and the parking lots for $2 each way.

“I encourage individuals to purchase [tickets] ahead of May 3,” White said.

White expressed his appreciation to the organizations involved in keeping the event safe and shared his commitment to the security of guests.

“Safety is and always will be our number one priority,” White stressed. “Security will be tight. There will be metal detectors and scanners at the gate to ensure that people attending the event are as safe as possible.”

Tourism and Infrastructure Advancements in the USVI  

Bryan touted his recent experience attending the annual Sea Trade Global Conference, a meeting with global cruise industry partners. Bryan expressed excitement for the future of tourism across the territory, particularly on St. Croix.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. recently attended the Sea Trade Global Conference, a meeting with global cruise industry partners. Bryan expressed excitement for the future of tourism across the territory. (Photo courtesy Government House of the V.I. Facebook)
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. recently attended the Sea Trade Global Conference, a meeting with global cruise industry partners. Bryan expressed excitement for the future of tourism across the territory. (Photo courtesy Government House Facebook)

“We participated in a series of very productive and insightful engagements with some of our cruise industry ship partners, and [we also met] with some of the executive leadership of the major cruise lines,” Bryan explained.

“We exchanged a host of innovative ideas that we realize to be exciting prospects for our islands, especially the island of St. Croix, where there is the most potential for growth in our cruise industry,” Bryan said. “The potential for enhancing our cruise arrivals is immense and promises to bring vibrant new energy to our shores,” Bryan added.

When asked by the Source about specific developments within the tourism industry on St. Croix, Bryan noted that further details will be provided in the near future.

Bryan also revealed the recent acquisition of two large warehouses, along with commercial and industrial land on St. Croix, aimed to benefit the community.

“I am excited to announce a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance the infrastructure of the Virgin Islands Government,” Bryan declared. “We have successfully secured the purchase of two state-of-the-art warehouses totaling 200,000 square feet of space on St. Croix,” he continued. Eighteen acres of undeveloped commercial and industrial land adjacent to the warehouses were also acquired.

Bryan noted that the warehouses are expected to improve storage capabilities and will especially benefit the Department of Education and the Department of Property and Procurement by adding refrigerated food storage facilities. Bryan noted that the extra space is expected to provide more room for safe and sanitary food storage, including food for school lunch programs.

Portions of the warehouses are anticipated to be rented to large construction companies for added revenue, and rental space for the Federal Emergency Management Agency is also being considered for storage of emergency supplies.

“[Renting space to FEMA] would help us bring more emergency supply storage onto the island rather than in Puerto Rico and other locations [to generate a faster response to an emergency situation],” Bryan explained.

“This acquisition is a testament to our commitment to the wellbeing and the prosperity of the Virgin Islands,” Bryan added.

Additionally, Bryan noted his support for the recently announced U.S. Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) program in the USVI, and he celebrated the opening of the new Charles “Tappy” Seales Fire Station and Multi-purpose Complex on St. Croix.

“As we move forward, we want to make sure that we’re constantly reminding people about these groundbreaking [events], and the recovery [of the USVI] is moving. There are a lot of new projects coming in,” Bryan proclaimed.

Finally, Bryan explained that he would be out of the territory for several days starting Tuesday. The governor is traveling to St. Louis for a semi-annual Jobs for America’s Graduates meeting, for which he serves as vice chair.

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