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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Responding to the news reports that a national young people's sports event was foundering on St. Croix this week, members of the Virgin Islands community have killed the fatted calf to make some 800 young athletes and their parents welcome.
Well, at least three lambs and a pig.
The president of the 23rd Legislature, other public officials, businesses and youth athletic group volunteers are now engaged in a full-scale attempt to save the 2000 World Youth Games, slated to continue through Sunday.
Because of miscommunications and lack of coordination between the V.I. World Youth Games Committee and the national organization, the annual athletic event, being held for the first time in the Virgin Islands, got off to a bad start. The approximately 500 young athletes and the 300 adults accompanying them found themselves without adequate transportation and food, and the opening ceremonies set for Tuesday night in the Paul E. Joseph Stadium were canceled because there was no way to get the youngsters there.
Hearing of the situation, Senate president Vargrave Richards set up an emergency meeting with officials of the Housing, Parks and Recreation and Tourism Departments and Government House officials. Thursday, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News, Richards was personally assisting the kitchen staff at a local elementary school and had his staff busy making appeals to the business community for contributions.
"I realized something had to be done," Richards said. "For whatever reason, this is a fiasco. There just wasn't any preparation to accommodate these young kids – and, frankly, this reflects on all of us in the Virgin Islands."
Richards praised the men and women who volunteered to help turn what was looking to be a major pappy show into a successful experience that will leave the visitors with positive memories.
Kitchen workers at the John H. Woodson Junior High School have worked around the clock preparing meals. An island resident donated three lambs and a pig to be dressed and served for meals, according to an executive at Annally Farms.
Assistant Tourism Commissioner Monique Sibilly-Hodge has been shuttling between St. Thomas and St. Croix offering assistance, and Nemy Ophelia Williams-Felix of Housing, Parks and Recreation stepped up to take charge of coordinating the competitive events.
In addition to Annally Farms, Hovensa, the West Indian Co. and the Sunny Isle Shopping Center have donated money or services. Abramson Enterprises and Vitran have been providing transportation services. Many St. Croix hotels and volunteers with the national World Games Committee have also lent a hand, Richards and Sibilly-Hodge said.
Hans Lawaetz of Annally Farms, in his capacity as president of the V.I. Olympic Committee, joined in soliciting last-minute donations to organize a Sunday closing ceremony. Richards and his crew have gotten an agreement from Hotel on the Cay to play host for a Saturday night banquet.
Lawaetz said competitions in basketball, bowling and golf took place Thursday and by Friday organization of the remaining athletic events was coming together. Those still to be scheduled included volleyball, tennis, track and field events and a Quiz Bowl-type academic competition.
"Everyone is pulling together, and we're going to make sure everyone has a good time," Lawaetz said.
WSTA/Lucky 13 Radio put out an appeal over its "Good News Headlines" program Friday morning for people willing to help. Anyone wishing to do so is asked to call Richards at 712-2266 or Lawaetz at 778-2229.
"For those who are still interested in giving something, we need some money, because we're trying to cover trophies," Richards said. Additionally, "anything along the lines of food in terms of buns and breads . . . and sodas and anything you know kids can appreciate is welcome," he added.

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