Recently the Jamaica Observer wrote an article on our plans to establish a thriving music industry and music tourism market here in the U.S. Virgin Islands: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/USVI-politician-wants-to-expand-island-s-music-industry
I recognize the power of music to unite people of all races, creeds, and nationalities. I also recognize and am a strong supporter of the tremendous musical talent that we have right here in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have so many talented Virgin Islands artists who leave our islands in search of a more robust musical landscape to showcase their talents, rarely returning because our Territory has failed to support and encourage them. As such, one of our priorities is to establish a thriving music industry to become a hub for our local and regional artists and develop a music tourism market to bring more visitors to our shores and provide a venue to showcase our Virgin Islands talent to the world.
We have a grand opportunity as the only culturally West Indian territory of the United States to capitalize on the ease of travel from the United States (no passport required!) and our Caribbean location that is proximate to our many Caribbean island neighbors to attract tens of thousands more visitors each year with a large annual music festival featuring major reggae, soca, R&B and other recording artists along with our local Virgin Islands and other Caribbean talent. Our music festival will not only provide enjoyment for our visitors, but also for our local Virgin Islanders to come together in peace, love, and music. Imagine how our music tourism will also support our hospitality industry. As a result, we will need more restaurants, accommodations, transportation, and new venues to be built. We will also experience more cruise ships and overnight visitors who will come to enjoy the festival and more.
We want to bring life back to the U.S. Virgin Islands and this is one of the many initiatives we will accomplish in our first year in office.
We have a beautiful product – our islands and our music – that rivals the world’s greatest and it is time to put the U.S. Virgin Islands on the musical map. Jamaica has already taken notice, let’s ensure that visitors from all over will flock to the USVI to enjoy our sun, our sand, our sea – and our sounds. Let’s Do It!
Today, Angel and I attended the Positive Guidance Small Fry Tournament today at Central High School on St. Croix. It was refreshing to see that amidst what many consider to be one of the most troubling economic times in Virgin Islands history, our children remain our priority and I felt a great sense of hope as, through our collective efforts, we will soon begin to cultivate and witness the rise of our next generation of leaders. We commend the organizers of this weekend’s events for their role in ensuring that our children remain our glimmer of hope for our future.
We have both been advocates for sports and other extracurricular activities for Virgin Islands’ youth, with Angel being a current and longtime Little League coach on St. Croix and I having been an active supporter of many sporting programs throughout the Territory including tennis, swimming, baseball and others. I have spoken often about what we both believe are essential characteristics such as persistence, perseverance, dedication, tenacity, sportsmanship, discipline, focus, goal-setting, camaraderie, and many others that are gained through athletic and extracurricular participation, all of which serve to contribute to their ultimate personal and professional success. Exposure to extracurricular opportunities allows children to build a well-rounded socio-academic foundation that broadens their ability to develop critical thinking and analytical skills that are crucial for them to perceive the need for and pursue a higher level of leadership.
If we are going to truly progress as the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is important that we begin from the ground up and that is with investing in our young leaders. It is our responsibility as their Village to ensure that we prepare them with the academic and extracurricular tools necessary to lead us into the future of the U.S. Virgin Islands. If we fail them, then we fail all of us as the cycle of socioeconomic decline long caused by inefficiencies, ignorant negligence, and the inability to capitalize on much needed innovation will continue.
As such, it is our priority as the Donastorg-Torres team to invest in our future leaders, not only via enhancements to the educational system, but through promoting the availability of and participation in sporting and extracurricular opportunities to all of our children. In our beautiful island home, children can enjoy year-round activities including swimming, sailing, snorkeling, soccer, baseball, tennis, horseback riding, yoga, visual arts, performing arts including dance, instrument lessons, theatre, cultural arts such as stilt-walking and masquerading, and many academic clubs including chess, technology, and others too numerous to name; however, the disparity in which many of our children do not have access to or are not participating in these activities is alarming. We must level the playing field and help ensure that all children have the opportunity to engage in these very critical enrichment opportunities for their overall development. We may have in our midst the next Tim Duncan, or the next Julian Jackson, or the next Emile Griffith, or the first of many young phenoms who are yet to come. We must begin to invest in our children, our future leaders. We will only realize our promise once they realize theirs. Let’s Do It!
We would like to thank all of our Friends who attended the Friends of Donastorg-Torres Meet and Greet Social last night. It was a joyful evening filled with food, fun, and lots of dancing as we gathered to celebrate with optimistic hope our vision for the future of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We were extremely humbled and thankful to be surrounded by Virgin Islanders from all walks of life who expressed throughout the evening that they believe that we are the team who will bring real and positive change to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Your belief, trust, and confidence in us is not taken lightly; we fully embrace the responsibility that we have taken to ensure that your voices are heard and that your calls for prosperity and change are answered. We have spent countless hours with you, listening to your concerns and your needs, whether you are a teacher, taxi driver, retiree, parent, small business owner, unemployed, University student, college graduate, fisherman, farmer, and so many more Virgin Islanders whose voices we echo in our quest for change. We are on this journey for Virgin Islanders just like you and me who are ready to live a prosperous life, who are ready to have a fair chance at economic success, and who are ready to see our beautiful islands flourish like the beautiful flora that surround us each day. Thank you for walking on this journey with us. It is encouraging to know that as we have your backs, you also have ours. Our time is now. Let’s Do It!
Today, Mrs. Donastorg and I visited with Kindergarten students at the Alexander Henderson Elementary School on St. Croix. I am always inspired by the energy of young children because it is a reminder of the huge responsibility that we have as their parents, caretakers, and communities to channel this great energy to remain positive. My favorite part of our visit today was our story time. They were so excited for me to read them a story and I enjoyed every moment of it. Young children experience a joy in learning and as they jumped up and raised their hands to participate, I began to wonder why this same love of learning seems to decrease as our children grow older. What can we do to make sure that our children continue to be inspired by learning not only in their early years, but through high school and throughout their lifetime? School should always be this exciting! I believe it is our responsibility to create an environment that is nurturing to our children and this is a responsibility that is very important to both Adlah and me. It is our goal to make sure that all of our students have a safe, enriching, innovative, and modern environment with all of the curricular, co-curricular, extracurricular, program, and supporting tools necessary to continue to inspire them to learn and to be excited by learning just like the group of Kindergarteners today. It is through learning that we grow and by growing, we experience success. This is the success that we want for all of our students and in their success, we as a Territory will experience our true success.
We would like to thank the Kindergarten students and their teachers Ms. Oliver, Ms. Rivera, Ms. Forde, and Ms. Henley for the warm welcome today. We would also like to thank third grader Nadirah Nieves. She did an excellent job today as our hostess! We are looking forward to visiting you again soon.
We would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our Friends who attended the St. Thomas Headquarters Grand Opening and Post-Announcement Celebrations on both St. Thomas and St. John. We are extremely thankful to all of those coordinators and volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure a wonderful evening and to the various speakers and Cool Session Brass for making each event memorable. We are especially grateful to the overwhelming support and words of encouragement that we received from our fellow Virgin Islanders who have put their faith and trust in us to lead our Territory into its prosperous future. We are certain that given the opportunity, we will indeed build a better U.S. Virgin Islands – together. Thank you for believing in us.
We understand that we are embarking on a long and arduous journey that may be filled with unexpected obstacles and roadblocks; however, we assure you that we are ready and we are prepared to navigate this difficult course, but we cannot do it without you – our Friends of Donastorg-Torres. Over the last year, I have traveled throughout the Territory listening to your concerns, sharing in your pain, and feeling your overwhelming loss of Pride and Hope – you, our fellow Virgin Islanders, who just like us are ready to finally realize all of the promise that we have yet to fulfill for our Territory. We have taken up your troubles, bearing your burdens, and carrying your crosses, because we believe in one U.S. Virgin Islands, “United in Pride and Hope”, and in the prosperity for ALL Virgin Islanders and not just those who wield the power. We are ready to uphold YOUR agenda, the agenda of the People of the U.S. Virgin Islands – not our agenda – because we are an extension of you, and you are an extension of us. However, in being your voice, we will also need you to be our voice – in your families, communities, workplaces, churches, schools, businesses, clubs, and other institutions – because “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is time for us to break our silence.
Be proud to be an agent of change! Be proud to be optimistic about our future under a Donastorg-Torres administration. Be proud to walk a path that seems uncharted instead of the usual beaten path which has lead us nowhere. Be proud to be able to bear witness to the dawning of a new day in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We – all of us together – can finally put an end to many of our vexing problems that continue to plague us. Our time is now and you, me, we are ready. Let’s Do It!
Yesterday, we spent the day celebrating “el Día de la Independencia Nacional de la República Dominicana” in St. Croix and what an amazing set of festivities it was! I always enjoy these opportunities to experience the various cultures of our Virgin Islanders and it is celebrations like these that remind me of how blessed we are to live in such a diverse society where we can all be enriched through cultural exchange. As such, it remains our priority to display and protect not only our indigenous Virgin Islands culture, but also embrace, encourage, display and protect the cultures of all Virgin Islanders no matter their national origin, because we are all Virgin Islanders.
Thank you to all of the organizers and participants of the various celebraciones de el Día de la Independencia Nacional de la República Dominicana 2014 in St. Thomas and in St. Croix and thank you for the continued opportunities to share in your cultural pride. Felicidades a todos nuestros amigos de la República Dominicana! Vamos a Hacerlo!
I would like to express my greatest appreciation to all of the Friends who joined us yesterday on the Friends of Donastorg-Torres Boat Ride from St. Thomas to St. Croix for AGRIFEST 2014. Your support was overwhelming as there were approximately 215 people who attended! However, it is not the support of our organization to which I refer; I am overwhelmed by your tremendous support for our fellow Virgin Islanders, no matter on which island we reside, which truly demonstrates our motto of being “United in Pride and Hope.” We are four islands, yet we are one Territory. Yesterday’s excursion proved this to be true as eager travelers from St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island were welcomed with open arms by our St. Croix brothers and sisters to enjoy the Big Island. It was a wonderful day spent with family and Friends and especially by ending it with horse racing, which is one of our richest traditions. I would like to commend all of the organizers, vendors, and participants of the 43rd Annual Agriculture and Food Fair of the U.S. Virgin Islands who continue to ensure year after year that we are exposed to our agricultural richness as well as the richness of our culture through our tradition of local craftsmanship. Through your vision and commitment, our culture continues to be showcased and for this, we are thankful.
It was indeed my pleasure to take part in uniting Virgin Islanders this weekend. We are not only Crucians, St. Johnians, St. Thomians, and Water Islanders, we are Virgin Islanders. Water should be the only division between us; let us strive to continue to build bridges of Virgin Islands Pride. Let’s Do It!
The honor of your presence is requested at the candidacy announcement of Adlah A. Donastorg for Governor and Angel A. Torres for Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday, February 7th in Frederiksted, St. Croix. We are ready to move forward. Virgin Islanders, are you ready? Let’s Do It 2014!
We are excited to announce the upcoming release of our official documentary “Let’s Do It!: Adlah A. Donastorg”! Click to view the official trailer and be sure to Become a Friend to receive more information and exclusive access to the movie premiere in March 2014. Let’s Do It!
This week, we celebrated what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King’s 85th birthday. Each year, as we pause to reflect on the significance of this day, I always reflect on what Dr. King called “life’s most persistent and urgent question”: what are you doing for others? What am I doing for others? This most persistent and urgent question is what inspires me today, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, and every day I arise with the island sun.
It is no secret that I have dedicated my professional life to service to my fellow Virgin Islanders, and it is a dedication to which I have devoted myself seeking no accolades nor acknowledgement, no entitlement nor enterprise; my reward is in witnessing the betterment of our Territory – our home - and all who reside within its shores. Therefore, this evening, as I recapped the events of the last few days, it is not surprising to me that we spent the majority of our time doing what I love most, tending to the needs of my fellow Virgin Islanders.
On Wednesday, Dr. King’s actual birthday, we met with a large group of concerned Crucians and discussed their vision for the future of St. Croix. How can we assist in ensuring that St. Croix shines like the brilliant jewel it is? On Thursday, we met with another large group of Virgin Islanders, this time in St. Thomas, with yet another set of concerns. How can we assist in ensuring that St. Thomas thrives though increasingly faced with symptoms of social and economic decline? On Friday, we met with a large group of concerned St. Johnians; how can we assist in ensuring that the infrastructure and other concerns of St. John residents are addressed in the midst of those of St. Croix and St. Thomas? Throughout this period, we also met with numerous small business owners, who expressed their concerns regarding their decreasing ability to properly sustain their businesses because of increasing energy costs and other concerns. How can we assist them by ensuring that their enterprises, which are in fact the lifeblood of our communities, remain positioned to be viable not only for their survival, but for their future growth?
I am convinced more than ever that our most persistent and urgent question remains – What are we, as Virgin Islanders, doing for our fellow Virgin Islanders? – and it rings true moreso today than at any other point in our recent history.
On Saturday, our focus turned to our children, our most precious treasures, for they hold the key to our future. Like Dr. King, we have a dream that our little children will one day live in a Territory where they will be provided the greatest of social and educational opportunities to build the content of their character and help them reach their highest potential. We attended a Little League baseball game at the Alvin McBean Recreational Complex in St. Thomas where our children played their hearts out on a field that was less than optimal. Our children deserve the best facilities. We also attended the Short Course Championships sponsored by the Virgin Islands Swimming Federation featuring the St. Thomas Stingrays, St. Croix Dolphins, and BVI swim teams and was delighted to see our youngest Virgin Islanders demonstrating their swimming prowess, yet was disappointed that more of our children are not exposed to swim instruction. We then attended the MLK Invitational Basketball Tournament at Ivanna Eudora Kean H.S. and watched with pride as our young men and women from teams throughout the Virgin Islands demonstrated tremendous athletic talent, yet they often struggle financially to travel to tournaments outside of the Territory to be our athletic ambassadors. All of the aforementioned activities and others build strong character in our children – determination, teamwork, diligence, camaraderie, sportsmanship, focus, discipline, physical and mental endurance – and our most persistent and urgent question remains “what are we doing for our children?” On Saturday evening, we were privileged to join Virgin Islanders at the Sprauve School Gala in St. John, who are indeed living in the legacy of Dr. King by being instrumental in ensuring that our children have the tools they need to ensure their future success and the success of all of us as their Village.
Yesterday, we attended the 17th Annual Bordeaux Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Food Fair in St. Thomas, where we were surrounded by the richness of our people and our culture – melodic sounds from the steel band, locally grown produce and healthy dishes prepared from the fruit of our soil, and the unbreakable bond between our Virgin Islands brothers and sisters – a constant reminder of our mission to help preserve the U.S. Virgin Islands in its entirety: economically, socially, and culturally. What are we doing to assist our farmers and support the growth of our agricultural industry? What are we doing to cultivate healthier families and communities? What are we doing to ensure that our culture remains the fabric within which we are all interwoven? What are we doing for others?
Today, as we attended the 20th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in St. Croix, I was reminded of another one of his famous quotes: “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” My Friends, it is time for us to break the silence. It is time for us to join together in service to each other and service to our beloved U.S. Virgin Islands to ensure that we reach the Mountaintop and reclaim our Paradise as our Promised Land. We will not be deterred by our past, but inspired by our future. We will not be discouraged, rather, we will be encouraged. As Dr. King has shown us, we already possess within us, collectively, the persistence, patience, and power to change the course of Virgin Islands’ history; however, we must take the next step in Faith although we may not see the entire staircase and whatever we do, we must keep moving forward. What will be our legacy? The time is now. Let’s Do It!