March 31, 2005 — Senate President Lorraine L. Berry Thursday delivered remarks to a packed Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall commemorating the 88th anniversary of the Virgin Islands transfer from Danish rule to a United States territory.
Berry chronicled the time line of the historic purchase of the islands saying that the United States purchased the islands for $25 million in bullion gold, "a treaty and price per square mile that is not duplicated anywhere else on this planet."
Berry said in today's money $25 million in gold bullion is approximately $300 million.
Berry said it was important to honor and remember the strong ties the V.I. shares with Denmark. She said the transfer did not end the strong familial ties and the sense of gratitude many citizens felt while they were "subjects of the Danish crown."
She said, "As we honor our past, and pay tribute to the cultural ties we share with Denmark, we must be ever mindful of the eight decades of Americanism we have enjoyed.
"We are commemorating a historic process that impacted on the lives of our fore parents, our immediate parents, and even us — their descendants and others who came after them," Berry said.
Berry said ties with America have ensured freedom for Virgin Islanders and guaranteed democracy to all citizens. "We must also be mindful of the significant improvements to our quality of life this relationship has brought us," she said.
Berry also took the opportunity to emphasize the need for the Virgin Islands to "take a leap of faith" and adopt its own constitution, according to a release from her office. She said, "We cannot rest until we give the people of the Virgin Islands the government they deserve."
Berry said the call for municipal government coming from Crucians and St. Johnians can no longer be ignored.
"On this Transfer Day, we must pledge to build consensus on issues of self-government, and continue to improve the quality of life for all our people, by adopting the form of government they desire," she said.
Other senators present at the historic ceremony included Shawn-Michael Malone, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Craig Barshinger and Louis Patrick Hill.
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