By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST THOMAS, USVI — Democrat Albert Bryan has emerged victorious over incumbent US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp in a runoff election on Tuesday to become the ninth elected governor of the USVI
Bryan ended the night with 11,796 votes to Mapp’s 9,766, according to the Election System of the Virgin Islands. Mapp conceded the election just after 9:30 pm on Tuesday night at his St Thomas headquarters.
Mapp is only the third incumbent governor in USVI history to be defeated after their first term; the other governors to experience a similar fate were Roy Lester Schneider, who was roundly beaten by former Governor Charles Turnbull in 1998, and Melvin Evans in 1974.
With the slogan “Change Course Now”, calling on US Virgin Islanders to abandon the current administration’s style of governance for something different, the Bryan-Roach campaign was able to successful capitalize on Mapp’s many self-inflicted wounds, much of which were caused by the governor’s character and unbridled tongue, the Virgin Islands Consortium reported.
According to some political observers, Mapp’s defeat was not because he failed to move the US Virgin Islands forward, but because of a character and demeanour that was rejected by residents.
Mapp worked to secure contracts for two state-of-the-art horse racing facilities on St Croix and St Thomas, both of which are currently in the development phase. His efforts led to a deal with Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC to operate an oil storage terminal on the south shore of St Croix, where the former HOVENSA oil refinery sat idle for years. The terminal brought more than 700 jobs to St Croix.
Recently, a deal for oil refining on the big island was reached with British Petroleum, which is expected to add another 700 jobs to St Croix.
Following the 2017 storms, Mapp led a successful strategy – with the help of Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett – and secured $8 billion for the recovery of the US Virgin Islands.
Calling for unity after Tuesday’s run-off election, Mapp urged all Virgin Islanders to come together to support the territory’s recovery efforts under the leadership of the newly elected administration.
“We have had our election and now let’s refocus on the future and the prosperity of the Virgin Islands,” he said. “Let’s bring the Virgin Islands together and put our political differences aside so that the new administration can come in and take up the task.”