The United States Virgin Islands is celebrating its Centennial Commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of the country’s transfer from the Dutch control to becoming a United States territory.

The yearlong celebration began on March 31, also known as Transfer Day, because it is the actual day the country went from the Danish West Indies becoming the United States Virgin Islands.

U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty, a St. Thomas native, said the Centennial Commemoration celebrates the history, culture and resilience of the people of the USVI.

U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty

“It really is an acknowledgment of 100 years under the United States of America as a territory. During this period, we’ve had a progression from naval oversight to appointed governors to the 1974 election where we had our first elected governor. There was a time where the islands were administered totally by the United States and now we have three branches of government that includes the election of our own governor,” Commissioner Nicholson-Doty said of the territory’s legacy.

As a result she said, “It’s given us the opportunity to reflect, to acknowledge and to appreciate where we’ve come from. We can have more self determination in terms of the actual day to day operation and administration of the territory.”

The USVI encompasses the three islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas that all have their own unique characteristics. While all three islands thrive as a result of tourism, the St. Croix Cruzan Rum Distillery is known as one of the largest suppliers of rum.

The goal of the Centennial celebration, the Commissioner said is to not only celebrate the country’s legacy, but it is also an opportunity for people from all over the world, especially the United States, to learn about and to visit the three islands.

“We’ve really been encouraging people to look at the historical and cultural activities that are available in the territory. For many, it may be the first opportunity that they’ve had to visit the Caribbean and why not make it the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the Commissioner said.

“This is a U.S. territory. You don’t need a passport to visit the Virgin Islands. We really want people to know that they have these three islands in the Caribbean that are your islands. When people plan their vacations, we want them to consider USVI.”

The USVI Department of Tourism has launched a Centennial Promotion, which offers travelers $300 in spending credits for historical/cultural tours and activities. To redeem, go to http://www.visitusvi.com.

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