As a concern citizen of the U.S. Virgin Islands, first Chief Conservator of The Government of The Virgin Islands, a 5th generation born native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, enthusiast of VI’s history and someone who cares about our culture and history, it has been bothering me that there is no articles, messages or even street gossip on the status of the Governmental artifacts.
I could remember my first day on the job as Chief Conservator, I was scrutinized and belittled by Gerry Yandel and Suzanne Carlson of Daily News of the Virgin islands for being 27 years old with such a high profile position, both were on a mission to question what were my qualifications and compared me with 3 Caucasian females that worked for the Smithsonian Institute and stated that those were the kind that needed to be in my position. Throughout my time in office, I received no assistance or guidance from anyone that attempted to do what I accomplished. Senator Historian, long time member of the St. Thomas Historical Society, and former Chief of Protocol Officer are supposedly “Virgin Islands Historians/furniture experts” never met or offered any assistance.
While preparing for Albert Bryan’s Inaugural Ball at Christiansted, Government House, and the former Chief of Protocol Officer actually told me he had a list of the artifacts as well, so he will use mine to compare. Keep in mind, these were people that assisted with decorating and selecting furniture for the Government Houses during the Administration prior to Mapp/Potter’s. If they had a list or they know so much, why was the pieces of furniture left in such bad conditions before I found them and restored them?
So, with that being said I cannot allow all my hard work go to waste, please answer the following:
Who is taking care of the Government Antiques? What are they qualifications?
Does the public know how much money was spent to restore the floors of Government House, Christiansted Ballroom? Does anyone know how it was damaged and when? I can personally confirm that it was done during the preparation of the Inaugural Ball. Did anyone care to question why the first couple press announcements were done at the Danish School in Frederiksted now the LT’Gov Office?
What is the status of the 3 Murals by Peppino Mangravite? Are they still being exposed to the outdoor elements inside St. Thomas Government House? Were they sent to be restored? I personally vetted 3 Mural Conservators and proposed 3 justification letters for the restoration of the Peppino Mangravite murals before I was terminated.
Is the Grand Piano and other antiques from the second floor of St. Thomas Government House removed? Where are the items being stored if they were moved out of Government Property?
When will the Government House, Catherineberg or the Battery in St. John begin its restoration process?
Are the Pissarro’s still in the Governor’s Office in Christiansted Government House?
Was the Governor and his family educated on how old the artifacts are in the residential floor of the Government House? Were they removed? Are they being maintained? Many of these pieces cannot be replaced if damaged.
And I know people will say that we were in Hurricane season but, were there procedures in place to secure the artifacts? I can go on forever of how unfair I was treated as a young Hispanic Virgin Islander by the Daily News and other political members because of the way I was portrayed.
At the end of the day I am in the Virgin Islands history as the first Chief Conservator of the Government of the Virgin Islands, as a Hispanic Virgin Islander at the age of 27 to complete a full assessment of over 3000 Government antiques in the 8 months that I served the people of the Virgin Islands and taken away by Governor Bryan.
I writing to the public to become more concern about our history and culture and question the status of these items.
Julio Encarnacion of St. Croix