ST. CROIX — A very large crowd of St. Croix residents came out to a Bryan-Roach campaign event, dubbed Voter Appreciate Jam 2, on Sunday night at the campaign’s headquarters in Estate La Reine, boosting the team and giving it a sense of inevitability as it heads into the final stretch of campaigning before the general election, which is set for November 6.
Part of the reason for the massive turnout was the event’s main performance, Kes the Band, which is known for its ubiquitous hit “Hello”, that has taken the world by storm, and has been viewed well over 20 million times on YouTube alone. The band rapt the crowd from the onset, delivering hit after hit while attendees loosened up themselves and moved to the enticing rhythms. And from corner to corner all that could be seen was a sea of people unlike any this reporter had seen at any other campaign event.
In fact, the crowd was so large that placed side by side, it could have easily matched a major night of performances at the Crucian Christmas Festival Village.
2018 St. Croix Democrats demonstrated unity during the Bryan-Roach campaign’s Voter Appreciation Jam event on St. Croix, on Sunday, Oct. 21. (Credit: Cruselda Roberts, VIC)
It was the perfect night, then, for Albert Bryan and Tregenza Roach to demonstrate a visual of comity among Democratic Party members seeking reelection, and those pursuing office for the first time. The campaign did just that: Ahead of Kes the Band’s performance, Democrats running for Senate lined the stage, called out by John Engerman, territorial head of the Bryan-Roach campaign, and demonstrated a show of unity.
Then, the new leaders of the Democratic Party took to the stage as supporters and onlookers cheered. Mr. Roach, who encouraged attendees to enjoy the event, later took aim at Governor Kenneth Mapp, chiding him for the apparent fear of attending political events that is said to have engulfed government employees.
Kes the Band performs at the Bryan-Roach Voter Appreciation Jam on Sunday, Oct. 21, at the campaign’s Estate La Reine Headquarters (Credit: Ernice Gilbert, VIC)
“It is so amazing to me to look out into the audience this evening and to see so many wonderful faces. You know why? Because all along this campaign trail people have been afraid. They’ve been afraid that if they come by that door (Mr. Roach was referring to the campaign headquarter’s entrance in La Reine), or the door in Market Square in St. Thomas, or by the Plaza in Cruz Bay, that they’re going to lose their job,” Mr. Roach said. “They have been afraid to express their political opinion to support another candidate different from the governor. But you know what? By seeing your presence here tonight, it tells me that that reign of terror is going to end, and people are not going to have to hide in the shadows because they want to come and hear some of the best musicians — not in the Caribbean — in the whole world.”
Bryan with wife Yolanda, right, and his youngest daughter Sumayah Bryan, share a moment on stage. (Credit: Cruselda Roberts, VIC)
He also encouraged eventogers to vote — be it early or on November 6.
“I also have to tell you that it is a time of anxiety,” he said. “November 6 is drawing close, and even though we’re out here to have fun, I got to remind you that as citizens, you have to go out and do your duty on November 6 because we can’t change course now without your help.”
Mr. Bryan said he was overwhelmed with humility as he looked out at the seemingly boundary-less crowd. “I’m going to tell you, it just takes my breathe away when I think about how hard we’re going to work for the people of the Virgin Islands,” he said.
The candidate spoke of his experience while canvassing, mentioning the many homes in the territory with blue roofs over a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria’s passage. Mr. Bryan also spoke of the USVI’s broken health care system and residents still battling insurance companies, as he sought to arouse emotion within attendees.
“So if you could come here and wine up tonight, that means you could do the work that we’re going to have to do in order to get these Virgin Islands on the right course,” Mr. Bryan said.
According to Mr. Engerman, last night’s Voter Appreciation Jam was the last of its kind before the general election. He said the campaign will focus on canvassing and promoting its events territory-wide all the way to November 6.
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