Bryan to Deliver Fifth State of the Territory Address Against Backdrop of Gun Violence, Rising Cost of Living, and WAPA; Watch Live on Consortium
Governor Albert Bryan will deliver his fifth State of the Territory Address tonight, the first since his reelection and one expected to focus on moving the U.S. Virgin Islands toward “a new era of prosperity”, according to a flyer that Gov’t House has been promoting.
The governor will deliver his address before members of the newly elected 35th Legislature in St. Thomas at 7:00 p.m., including many newcomers, along with cabinet members and leaders of the territory’s judicial branch.
Details of the address have not been made public, however the governor is expected to highlight his administration’s past successes, while delving into planned and ongoing initiatives he believes will set the USVI on a path of success for its residents. The public should expect to hear about the modernization of the territory’s two airports, the future of energy based on Mr. Bryan’s plans for WAPA, and ongoing and upcoming disaster recovery projects. Mr. Bryan in late December told the Consortium that the USVI was cash-strapped, and he may provide an update on cash-on-hand — funds that are readily available for unexpected costs.
But the governor is addressing the Virgin Islands against a backdrop of a surge in gun violence that has impacted the territory in 2023, with three homicides recorded in the first three weeks of the year. Many blame such brutality on shortcomings of the territory, including a high poverty rate, and Virgin Islanders may seek a plan from the governor on addressing the poverty problem. The cost of goods, including groceries, has also pinched the purchasing power of residents whose finances are already stretched.
During his last address, Mr. Bryan declared the USVI stronger than ever, words that went on to become his campaign slogan. “There are wonderful opportunities permeating throughout our community. But to appreciate them, we must not succumb to the usual cynicism. Realizing greater progress and increased prosperity is indeed a community project,” he said. “We all must do our part as leaders and citizens. We all want the best for the Virgin Islands. Senators, if we put aside our personal ambitions and individual agendas just long enough, we can achieve greater results for the people of the Virgin Islands. Lieutenant Governor Roach and I are confident of this. So, let us move forward together on a path that builds on the trust that the people have placed in us to govern with competence and integrity.”
The Consortium will be carrying Mr. Bryan’s delivery live on both its website and Facebook platforms.
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