A Message from the Senator
We are at a little over the halfway mark of 2022, and I would be remised if I did not reflect on what we have been able to accomplish together thus far. After two years of being impacted by the pandemic, we are now at the endemic stage of the coronavirus and returning to normalcy.
There is an adage that says it matters to make your work matter, and throughout my service to you, I have remained committed to working to provide you with results! When I asked you for your support to represent you in the Legislature, I pledged to focus on the bread-and-butter issues that impact your lives daily. I have worked diligently to keep my promise. In August, we will participate in perhaps the most vital of civil liberties, voting. As you consider your choices for the 35th Legislature, I humbly ask that you consider my record of proven results on your behalf and support my re-election. The people of the Virgin Islands have voiced their concerns about our territory’s most prevalent issues, and I have worked tirelessly to provide solutions to those issues.
While we have accomplished much, we still have much work left to do. Affordable housing, education and job training, and access to quality healthcare all remain at the top of my agenda. Looking ahead, the vision of a better Virgin Islands for us and our children is within our reach, and as I have served in the last 3 ½ years, the vision is becoming clearer. We must continue to work purposefully to make the vision a reality. It is my hope that this newsletter will give you some insight into the work that I have been doing within the last quarter.
Appropriation for the St. Thomas Cricket Field (Amendment No. 34-556)
Amendment No. 34-556 to Bill No. 34-0167 provides a $1.5 million dollar grant to the St. Thomas Cricket Association through the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation for the development of the St. Thomas Cricket Field in Estate Nazareth. In addition to the money allotted for the cricket field, the legislation also mandates the implementation of a youth cricket development program in each district. Senator Frett-Gregory looks forward to a thriving cricket sport environment in the Virgin Islands.
GERS Annual Bonus Payment for Retirees (Amendment No. 34-558)
Retirees in the Virgin Islands are well on their way to being made whole with Amendment No. 34-558 to Bill No. 34-0167 which appropriates $3,434,994.14 to pay the retirees of the Virgin Islands their outstanding annual bonus payments for 2018, 2019 and 2020. Ensuring the livelihood of retirees has been one of Senator Frett-Gregory’s top priorities. Act 7070 requires the transfer of $2,270,000 from the V.I. Lottery to the Government Employees’ Retirement System, however since the 2017 storms that obligation has not been met. Amendment No. 34-558 appropriates the funding to cover the shortfalls for FY 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Summer Employment and Intern Program Funding (Amendment No. 34-560)
Youth development is something Senator Frett-Gregory holds dear to her heart. Through Amendment No. 34-560 to Bill No. 34-0167, Senator Frett-Gregory provides for funding in the 2021-2022 operating expenses of the Legislature to employ students during the summer. With these funds, the 34th Legislature’s Summer Employment and Intern Program is well underway, allowing the enrolled students to gain transferrable skills that will help them along their professional journeys.
DFG At Work
Unveiling of the Agriculture Plan
In the 33rd Legislature Senator Frett-Gregory was successful in adopting Bill No. 33-0376, now Act 8404, a mandate to create a long-term comprehensive Agricultural Plan as a deliberate effort to increase productivity and efficiency of our local agricultural market. The legislation not only requires that a plan be established but timelines for completion were provided. Witnessing the unveiling of the Agricultural Plan was an absolute pleasure. Within the parameters of the law the Agriculture Task Force was able to produce an Agricultural Plan with 8 mandates that not only meet and exceed expectations but are of a caliber that other places can adopt and utilize. Senator Frett-Gregory remains committed to supporting the success of the Agricultural Plan through legislation and ensuring food security in our territory.
Key to The Virgin Islands Ceremony
It was an honor celebrating Ms. Ronaqua Russell and presenting her with the “Key to the Virgin Islands” pursuant to Resolution No. 1881. Her heroic achievements and extraordinary performance during Hurricane Harvey resulted in her becoming the first African American female aviator in the United States Coast Guard to receive the Air Medal. The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. A daughter of the soil this commendation was not only fitting but timely. Ms. Lorna Freeman Woodley, Mr. Randolph "Junior" Donovan, and Mr. Kashief "DJ General Kuntry" Hamilton were also presented “Keys to the Virgin Islands” during the ceremony held in the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Chambers. The Senator is a firm believer in giving individuals their flowers they so greatly deserve while they are still here.
Ms. Ronaqua Russell as well as family members and supporters are pictured during the "Keys to the Virgin Islands" ceremony held in the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Chambers.
Pictured from left to right are the "Key to the Virgin Islands" recipients Mr. Randolph "Junior" Donovan, Mr. Kashief "DJ General Kuntry" Hamilton, Ms. Ronaqua Russell and Ms. Lorna Freeman Woodley.
2021-2022 Legislative Youth Advisory Council
The Senator remains thankful for the opportunity to provide leadership training to our youth. Senate President Frett-Gregory reinstated the Legislative Youth Advisory Council. “Council” members are tasked with advising the Legislature on youth related policy and consulting with task forces on issues related to youth. Senator Frett-Gregory joined in celebrating these outstanding future leaders at the pinning ceremony held in the Earle B. Ottley Chambers in St. Thomas.
Celebration of African Liberation Day
Senator Frett-Gregory joined the members of the 34th Legislature in recognition of African Liberation Day. Held annually on May 25th, this observance is an important opportunity for reflection. The 34th Legislature’s 2022 African Liberation Day Ceremony featured raising of the African Liberation Flag, a public art show with a variety of visual art pieces, drum performances, singing and dancing. Senator Frett-Gregory truly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with all in attendance and reflect on a rich history.
Recognition of Virgin Islands Flag Day
On May 17th, Senate President Frett-Gregory joined in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of Virgin Islands Flag Day. Virgin Islands Flag Day is a celebration of what it means to be a Virgin Islander. Flags represent a group or entity and signal a sense of pride. With her VI flag raised, Senator Frett- Gregory honors the Virgin Islands’ rich history, beautiful culture, and the talents of its people.
NCSL Leaders’ Symposium
Senator Frett-Gregory attended the Leaders’ Symposium in Quebec City, Canada hosted by the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL). At the symposium, the Senator was able to connect with experts on legislative topics and exchange ideas with hosts and legislators from across the United States. Topics included understanding nonverbal cues to better interact in the legislative environment, the economics of investment, tips for becoming a better leader and clean energy relationships between Canada and the United States. Senator Frett-Gregory also met with Quebec’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nadine Girault. The Senator continues to maximize available opportunities to enhance her skills as a legislator and become better informed on avenues to aid in the advancement of the Virgin Islands.
Pictured to the left is Senator Frett-Gregory with Quebec’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nadine Girault.
Meeting with Minority Leader of the Puerto Rican Senate Eduardo Bhatia
As an elected official, it is important that Senator Frett-Gregory meets with other leaders to build relationships that translate to opportunities for our community. This quarter Senator Frett-Gregory was pleased to meet with Minority Leader of the Puerto Rico Senate, the Honorable Eduardo Bhatia. Minority Leader Bhatia and Senator Frett-Gregory had a robust conversation surrounding education reform and energy. Senator Frett-Gregory continues to explore opportunities for both territories to work together for common goals.
Senator Frett-Gregory is pictured meeting with the Honorable Eduardo Bhatia, along with other members of our community.
DFG In The Community
70th Anniversary of U.S. Virgin Islands Carnival
After a 2 -year hiatus, Senator Frett-Gregory warmly celebrated her all-time personal favorite cultural event with the return of in-person festivities for the 70th Anniversary of U.S. Virgin Islands Carnival. From the beginning of Carnival, marked by the Food Fair celebration recognizing Honoree Mrs. Helen Hodge, to Carnival’s close with an amazing firework show, each day was an awesome celebration of our culture and traditions. Highlights included sharing the stage with Festival Ambassadorial Queen Carmen Sibilly, the ribbon cutting of Carnival Village in honor of the legend and fervent public servant Ron De Lugo, the spectacular performers in "Deh Village de Lugo” and reconnecting with so many members of our community throughout the festivities.
Father's Day Celebration in Frenchtown
The 60th annual celebration of French heritage and culture in the Virgin Islands hosted by the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage in Frenchtown on Father’s Day Weekend was a blast. The dual celebration of Fathers and Carenage has over the years become a staple event of St. Thomas. Senator Frett-Gregory joined in this celebration by recognizing the dedicated baseball coaches of the Frenchtown ballpark. The ballpark is an integral part of the Frenchtown community, and these coaches work daily as father figures training and providing mentorship to our young athletes. The Office of Senator Donna Frett-Gregory recognizes these coaches for their contributions and gifted a banner to be hung on the fence at the Frenchtown Ballpark in their honor.
The banner is pictured. From left to right, we highlight Mr. Richard "Richie" Clendinen, Mr. Michael Bute, Mr. Elston "Bolo" Rhymer Jr., Mr. Leroy "Bird" Thomas Jr., Mr.Vaughn Jn' Baptiste Jr, Mr. Afibae Henley, Mr. Steven LeBlonc, Mr. Sam Daly and Mr. Vince Roberts
The DFG Community Impact Foundation of the VI, Inc. kicked off its second annual “Kid’s Kitchen” Summer Saturdays Meal Program on June 18, 2022. “Kid’s Kitchen” is an effort to tackle the ever-growing challenge of food insecurity in the community. Through the initiative, each Saturday in the summer, hot meals are provided to K-12 Students. With each year the program excitingly gets one step closer to its long-term goal of providing hot meals to children in all communities of the Virgin Islands every Saturday during the summer. Team DFG is pleased to have partnered with sponsors Chicken N’ Bowling and Mc Donald’s to provide meals in the Oswald Harris Court, Kirwan Terrace, Bellevue Village, Paul M. Pearson Gardens and Bovoni communities for the 2022 Summer. If you are interested in volunteering with this initiative, please feel free to reach out via the contact information listed at the end of the newsletter.
Keynote Speaker at the Conference of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR)
Senator Frett-Gregory served as the Keynote Speaker at the closing gala of the week-long Conference of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Held on St. Croix, this year’s conference focused on the theme “Breaking Barriers to Building Better.” While NAAHR focused on barriers in their respective field, it is not lost that the Virgin Islands also faces local and national barriers to building better, such as being able to vote for President or being eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Senator Frett-Gregory remains committed to our community’s advancement despite barriers and will continue to work to remove those barriers so the Virgin Islanders can be provided a better quality of life.
DFG 35th Legislature Campaign Kickoff
Senator Donna Frett-Gregory announced her candidacy for re-election to the 35th Legislature at her Campaign Kickoff hosted in the beautiful Palm Passage of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas at Café Amalia restaurant. It was a wonderful evening complete with good food, music and people. Senator Frett-Gregory was elated to have an in-person event where she could share laughs and engage in conversation with all in attendance. During the event, Senator Frett-Gregory took to the microphone and highlighted the work she has done and her continued focus on economic development, improving education, affordable and equitable healthcare, and moderate housing options for the next term. The night underscored that remarkable things happen when we come together.
Aliyah Boston Day
Aliyah Boston has made a name for herself on the world stage with her recognition as one of the biggest stars in college basketball. It is only fitting that this recognition includes a grand celebration in her home, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ms. Boston’s dedication to her craft, discipline, and her focus on paying it forward to other young players serves as a great inspiration for all. Senator Frett-Gregory is proud to have joined Ms. Boston’s family, friends, and supporters at the Aliyah Boston Day Ceremony and Parade recognizing Ms. Boston for all her accomplishments.
“Our Community Salutes” Ceremony
Senator Frett-Gregory joined in recognizing the brave young men and women who have just completed their high school studies and chosen the path of enlistment into our US Armed Services. During the first in-person “Our Community Salutes” ceremony on St. Thomas, the Senator supported these 12 recruit trainees as they took “the Oath”. Senator Frett-Gregory prays for their well-being and success in their next steps bravely protecting our country.
WTJX Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Senator Frett-Gregory joined the WTJX family at the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held to celebrate the new PBS dish and the acquisition of 2 towers. WTJX, our only public broadcasting system, has provided the territory with 50 years of remarkable service. With these new towers they can send stronger broadcast signals throughout the community. WTJX persists in its recovery efforts after the hurricanes and continues to provide quality programming to Virgin Islanders. Senator Frett-Gregory remains committed to the preservation of WTJX.
2022 St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair
One of the territory’s largest events, the St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair, is a vibrant representation of our Virgin Islands culture and our rich agricultural industry. The Senator delighted in our local farmers’ display of crops and livestock. While at the fair, the Senator also held a meeting with Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett and some of her colleagues to discuss support of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Plan and funding opportunities to support agricultural needs in the territory. Senator Frett-Gregory enjoyed the weekend and looks forward to more avenues to secure food sovereignty for the territory.
The Senator ensures her availability for radio broadcasts throughout each quarter to communicate with members of the community who may not be as active on social media. In these radio broadcast appearances, she remains connected with constituents to hear of issues, provide updates on her work in the community, and address inquiries. This quarter she was featured on “Pass It On” with Roosevelt David on WSTA.
2022 Graduation Ceremonies
Graduations are symbols of academic success and mark the beginning of a new journey. With a passion for academic development, Senator Frett-Gregory prioritizes attending as many graduations as possible to support the accomplishments of our community’s scholars. This year, the Senator is pleased to have attended graduations in both the St. Thomas- St. John District and the St. Croix District.
From left to right, Senator Frett-Gregory features photos highlighting the graduations of the University of the Virgin Islands, the Raphael O. Wheatley Skill Center, the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, the Charlotte Amalie High School, and the St. Croix Central High School
DFG Community Impact Foundation of the VI, Inc. Book Scholarship Recipients
The DFG Community Impact Foundation of the V.I., Inc selects recipients for its annual Book Scholarship to assist high school graduates as they transition to college. This year’s recipients are Ms. Nikaya Nibbs, Ms. Je’Raya Pickering and Mr. Kaiser Williams who also served as an intern in the Office of Senator Donna Frett-Gregory. Ms. Nibbs and Ms. Pickering will both be attending the University of the Virgin Islands to study Hospitality and Tourism Management. Meanwhile, Mr. Williams will be heading to Georgia State University to study Computer Science. The entire DFG team offers best wishes for success in the next steps of their journeys.
From left to right, pictured are Mr. Kaiser Williams, Ms. Nikaya Nibbs and Ms. Je'Raya Pickering
Get In Touch
Our office is always open to the entire Virgin Islands community to share concerns, ask questions, or pitch ideas that will positively impact our Territory. You can reach us right here on the website via "Get Involved" or you can:
· Email us at email@example.com
· Call us at (340) 693-3686