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Breaking News / Featured / News / Politics / Top Stories / Virgin Islands / August 8, 2018

“Because we believe in a “Better Tomorrow” (Angel Dawson’s slogan), we are now officially “All In” (Allison Petrus’s slogan), to “Change Course Now,”” (Albert Bryan’s slogan).

Those were the words of John Engerman, the territorial chairman of the Bryan-Roach campaign, while giving opening remarks at a press conference that all three democratic teams that participated in the gubernatorial primary election attended.

Mr. Engerman was well into his speech when he made those remarks, but his opening comments were even more audacious: “Today is a monumental day for the Democratic Party as we are truly taking a major step — one that we haven’t seen in many, many years — where we are really prepared to illustrate and demonstrate true unity for the Virgin Islands and Virgin Islands politics,” he said.

Of the three former candidates, Mr. Petrus was the first to take the mic: “We made a commitment and we’re here to live up to our commitment,” Mr. Petrus said. He recalled the loss of Bernie Sanders in the last U.S. Democratic primary election, when many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters vowed not to support Hillary Clinton — a vow they kept. “And because of that, today we have Trump. The critical thing here, because of that, he has the ability to appoint perhaps three Supreme Court justices — all because people stayed home,” he said.

“I’m asking people who supported me, who supported Dawson, to come out and participate. Don’t stay home,” Mr. Petrus said. He later added, “I know the players that we are competing against; I know them too well, the top players, and they are not good for the Virgin Islands.”

When Mr. Dawson took the mic, his endorsement was just as resounding as that of Mr. Petrus. “Today it is about our nominee, Albert Bryan and Tregenza Roach,” he said.

He added: “To everything there’s a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away. A time to rend and a time to sow. A time to keep silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace. Welcome to the time of peace,” he said as the crowed erupted with cheers.

The show of unity comes at a time when many have been questioning Governor Kenneth Mapp’s perceived strong standing in the race following Mr. Bryan’s victory on Saturday. The Democratic nominee has been channeling optimism that has captured the attention of many, and political observers have said it is an identity his campaign must continue to channel in his bid to claim victory over Governor Mapp.

For his part, Mr. Mapp has promised bombs and missiles.

Residents The Consortium spoke with have predicted a runoff election, citing independent candidates Janette Millin Young and Adlah Donastorg — the latter coming with St. Croix senator Alicia Hansen, who has thousands of diehard supporters, as the cause. The belief is no one candidate will gather over 50 percent of the vote to claim victory on November 6.

At the press conference, Mr. Bryan embraced his former opponents’ endorsement and described the feat they’re accomplishing as historic. “And I say historic because we have learned now that we can disagree without fighting…” he said. “We’re going to be historic because we’re going to show people that you can finish an election and still embrace your teams; that you don’t have to be discriminatory because somebody did not support you. But you must recognize that none of us work for a governor; we work for the people of the Virgin Islands.”

The Democratic nominee said his campaign will be historic because he will do what he says and complete what was said would be done. “We said we were going to be at this table together, we are at this table together,” Mr. Bryan exclaimed to applause from the audience.

Mr. Bryan also praised the three women who won in the Democratic primary race: Donna Frett-Gregory, Alicia Barnes and Allison DeGazon. And he vowed to incorporate young people in his administration, “Not just bring them into our campaign for eye candy and strut them around, but we’re going to use their ideas, we’re going to put them to work, and we’re going to look to them for guidance for this new Virgin Islands,” Mr. Bryan said, introducing Javan James, 31, who came in fifth in the primary race, to that end.

“We are going to unite the Democratic Party,” the nominee promised. “But not just the Democratic Party, the entire Virgin Islands because it’s going to take all of us to get it right.”

According to the Election System of the Virgin Islands, 7,839 people voted for one of the three gubernatorial candidates in the primary election. If the Democrats are able to convince their supporters to back the Bryan-Roach team, it will not be a ticket that’s easily defeated.

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Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected]

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