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Thursday, February 22, 2024


Op-Ed: Remembering Ambassador Terence A. Todman, a Brilliant Virgin Islander

For this Black History Month, I will mention a Virgin Islander who served as a great diplomat and became an extraordinary ambassador for the United States government. His name is Terence A. Todman, the son of Racheal Callwood and Alphonso Todman, who was born on St. Thomas on March 13, 1926. He grew up during the U.S. Navy rule of these islands and the first appointed civilian governor of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Paul Martin Pearson.

Op-Ed: Coffee’s Long History in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Coffee originated from Africa. Its spread to the rest of the world can’t be contained in a book on how this plant influenced cultures globally. Today, the world cannot do without drinking coffee, which made its way to the Caribbean islands through colonization, trade, and cultivation.

Op-Ed: Confronting Colonialism Together, Virgin Islanders Attended Right to Democracy Summit in NY

Drs. Jessica Samuel and Hadiya Sewer share more about their experience at the Right to Democracy (RtD) Summit on U.S. Colonialism, which focused on coalition building, media literacy, decolonial advocacy, and philanthropy.

Op-Ed: An Ode to the St. Croix Avis

It was with a heavy heart to hear the news that the St. Croix Avis newspaper will cease publication in 2024 after 180 years serving the people of the Danish West Indies, now the United States Virgin Islands.

Op-Ed: Snakes in the V.I., from the Endangered to the Invasive

The other day, I got a text about snakes, particularly the red-tailed boa (Boa constrictor), which is becoming a major invasive species on the island of St. Croix. The text came from one of our local TSA officers. As I spoke to the person, it got me thinking to write an article about snakes, although I have written about snakes in the past. Then I really began to think and say, why not mention the Virgin Islands tree boa (Chilabothrus granti)?

Op-Ed: The Modernization of Estate Bethlehem’s Sugar Industry, Part 2

In the article prior to this one, I spoke about the Royal Commission in relationship to Estate Bethlehem becoming a modern sugar factory. Let us dig a little deeper into the history of the 19th century sugar industry of the Danish West Indies. We all should know that sugar from the colonies of the West Indies was processed into raw sugar and then shipped to different European countries where it was refined for consumption. During the 1800s, Great Britain dominated the sugar industry in the West Indies, both by shipping and refining, and tried to maintain that status.

Op-Ed: The Modernization of Estate Bethlehem’s Sugar Industry

I consider it a gift. Dr. Michael Connors gave me a book titled "The Sugar King Jacob Lachmann In the Skane and Danish West Indies Sugar Industries," written by Bengt Lachmann. As a cultural historian, I love reading, research, and passing knowledge and the history of these islands to the next generation of Virgin Islanders. I found the book of interest because it shed some light on Estate Bethlehem’s modern sugar industry.

Op-Ed: Endangered Agave Plants are Not the USVI’s Unofficial Christmas Trees

Some people thought the Agave eggersiana was our traditional cultural Christmas tree. It is not. The Inkberry (Randia aculeata) tree is our islands’ unofficial territorial Christmas tree.

Op-Ed: Let’s Revive the Inkberry Christmas Tree Tradition in the Virgin Islands

We have become so Americanized that we’ve lost the tradition of using the Inkberry as a Christmas tree. Many of us don’t realize that the Inkberry tree was also a story-telling tree during the Christmas season. I am talking native story-telling about our culture and the history of these islands.

Op-Ed: Castle Nugent Farms Could Become a National Park With Delegate’s Help

In 2009, I testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in Congress in support of the measure to establish Castle Nugent Farms as part of the National Park System. The bill passed the House Committee with a vote of 25-14. Castle Nugent Farms came one step closer to becoming officially a National Historic Site managed by the National Park Service. Nonetheless, the bill never arrived on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. 

Letter to the Editor: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Former Delegate Donna Christensen advocates for unity among residents to address community challenges and propel the territory toward a brighter future.

Op-Ed: CEO Smith Responds to Lawsuit with Commitment to Solutions for St. Croix Water Customers

This week, the Source reported that more than a dozen St. Croix residents have filed a class action lawsuit against the V.I. Water and Power Authority and Seven Seas Water Corporation over lead and copper contamination in the island’s water supply. WAPA’s CEO responds to the suit in this statement.

Op-Ed: The Truth About the Industrial Development of St. Croix’s South Shore

Roger Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, famously said, “Innovate or die.” Economies must evolve as well, even small economies like ours. In the early 1960s, the sugarcane industry was dying, and the territory was forced to pivot. Thankfully, Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky had the foresight to transition the territory to the next era, and that decision paved the way for the Virgin Islands' economic prosperity for the next 50 years.

Op-Ed: Let’s Take the Government to Court Over St. John Land Swap

I would say to the people of St. John and the entire Virgin Islands community, let us sue the government for their illegal action of swapping Whistling Cay, the people’s cay, to the Virgin Islands National Park Service.

Opinion: Remember Larry Bough Whenever You See A Mahogany Tree

A few months ago, I attended Holy Cross Episcopal Church, which is located at Estate Upper Love, to surprise two special persons, Lisa Doward and Jackie Riviera Richard, for their birthdays. To my surprise, I met a great friend and a legend in the field of forestry — Larry Bough — at the church. The Bough family name is prominent in Virgin Islands cultural history. Having not seen each other for a while, Larry and I chatted about the old days of St. Croix. With a sad note, I never thought it would be the last time I would see Larry.

Opinion: Don’t Confuse Hog Plums With September Plums

Recently, I wrote an article on the hog plum tree and its cultural, natural, medicinal, and traditional uses in the Virgin Islands. However, the public at times might get confused while identifying plants. Some might look alike but their physical structure may be different in terms of the fruits, trunk, leaves, etc. The September plum, which produces fruits in September, looks like the hog plum fruits, but calling the same fruit September plum is incorrect as they are two different fruits and trees.

Commentary | State of the Territory: Fulfilling Promises on Cannabis Legalization and Expungement

There is an immediate, pressing need for immediate action to harness the immense potential of the cannabis industry and expunge the records of those with past convictions, writes former Sen. Janelle Sarauw.

Opinion: A Call for Equity: Land, Legacy and Learning on St. John

Say one, say two, the creation of the Virgin Islands National Park has been both harmful and beneficial to the people of the Virgin Islands as expressed by the critics and defenders of the land swap between the National Park Service (NPS) and the Government of the Virgin Islands.

Opinion: Hog Plums a Rich Part of Virgin Islands History and Culture

Long ago children knew, especially those who grew up in an agricultural society in the Virgin Islands, that school would open in September due to the arrival of the yellow or orange-yellowish fruits of the hog plum tree.

Op-Ed: Flamboyant Trees Offer a Feast for the Senses

I cannot help but admire the beautiful blossoms of the Flamboyant trees, whether in people’s yards, along the roadsides, highways, or in forest settings. If we are sad or depressed for whatever reason, believe me, the brilliant masses of large red or orange flowers of the Flamboyant tree (Delonix regia) will bring smiles to our faces, despite the challenges we encounter in life. Nature is a medicine and it is free to all of us.


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