Update: The debate has been canceled because Governor Mapp has said he won’t be able to attend, citing “a very serious conflict with something that we rescheduled three different times.”
The Consortium apologizes for any inconvenience the cancellation may have caused.
Original Story: ST. CROIX — With three weeks remaining before Virgin Islanders head to the polls to vote in this year’s general election, The Virgin Islands Consortium will host a gubernatorial debate on October 22, just 14 days before voters cast ballots for governor and Senate candidates.
The event is expected to reach the most Virgin Islanders among similar events, along with the most diverse crowd, as it will be broadcast live on VI Consoritum’s Facebook platform which includes over 111,000 followers, and its popular website via YouTube embed code. The debate will also be televised on WTJX Channel 12, streamed on the venerable station’s Facebook page, and aired on its 93.1 FM radio station. Participation of other radio stations are expected to be announced in the lead-up to the event.
Invitations have been sent to all candidates, and all teams — Governor Kenneth Mapp, Albert Bryan, Warren Mosler, Adlah Donastorg, Soraya Diase Coffelt, Janet Millin Young and Moleto Smith — are expected to participate.
The debate will be moderated by VI Consortium Founder and Publisher, Ernice Gilbert.
It will take place at the Starlight Lounge Bar & Nightclub, located in Five Corners. Audience will include a mix of invited guests and Virgin Islanders who want to be part of the event live. Seating capacity at Starlight Lounge is 240, however about 50 seats will be reserved, and some space will be utilized to make space for cameras. Virgin Islanders who want to be part of the live audience are encouraged to show up early, as unreserved seating will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m., followed by a meet and greet at 5:30 p.m. The first round of the debate commences at 6:00 p.m. and will run until 7:30 p.m. There will be an intermission from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., followed by round two of the debate from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
“There’s a lot a stake during this election year, not least of which is the territory’s future. Therefore, it is important that voters in our beloved USVI get a clear opportunity to hear the candidates make their case as to why citizens should cast ballots in their favor,” said Mr. Gilbert, who has interviewed all but one of the gubernatorial candidates, Moleto Smith, on VI Consortium’s popular Virgin Islands Political Consortium (VIPC) broadcast. (Mr. Smith said he had been booked throughout October and would not be able to participate in a VIPC interview.)
Mr. Gilbert, who has covered extensively virtually everything government-related for the last four years, is well versed on the challenges facing the USVI. He moderated the VI Consortium/WTJX Democratic Forum held in July, which is widely believed to have given Albert Bryan an edge over his then-Democratic opponents.