June 23, 2020
St. Thomas, USVI – Senator Donna Frett-Gregory is demanding the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority terminate the employment of Mark Kragel, a top attorney employed by the Authority who made racist and inflammatory statements on his personal Facebook account this past weekend. The Authority’s CEO, Lawrence Kupfer, issued a statement following Kragel’s remarks, but many believe the statement fell short and did little to address the blatant racism displayed by Kragel. Senator Frett-Gregory is one of them, and believes that not only should Kragel be fired, but that WAPA’s poor response to the incident is a clear reflection of the Authority’s poor leadership.
“Kragel’s employment with WAPA must be terminated immediately,” Sen. Frett-Gregory expressed. “We absolutely cannot allow someone with racist views to continue to hold a position of this much influence and power in our community”.
“More so, I was deeply disappointed with the CEO’s response to the blatant racism, but not at all surprised,” added Frett-Gregory. “This is the very same display of weak, nonchalant leadership that my colleagues and I have been dealing with since taking office last year. These are the people leading the Territory’s utility system right into the ground,” said the senator.
WAPA has been a point of contention in the Virgin Islands community for years, and many have called its leadership into question. This latest incident now adds fuel to an already burning house.
“If we don’t address this overtly racist behavior, we’ll be sending the wrong message to our community, who are in fact, majority Black,” said Sen. Frett-Gregory. “Not only should WAPA fire Kragel, but management should conduct an investigation to ensure that none of Kragel’s decisions as the Authority’s attorney were racially biased or motivated in anyway.”
“This is not only about Kragel,” stressed Frett-Gregory. “This is about people like him having incredible amounts of influence in our community, and our ability to recognize it, and ensure that we do not tolerate it—ever”.
Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory