Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Albert Bryan
9th Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
Assumed office
January 7, 2019
LieutenantTregenza Roach
Preceded byKenneth Mapp
Personal details
Born
Albert Bryan Jr.

(1968-02-21) February 21, 1968 (age 56)
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse
Yolanda Cabodevilla
(m. 1998)
Children2
ResidenceGovernment House
EducationWittenberg University (BA)
University of the Virgin Islands (MBA)

Albert Bryan Jr. (born February 21, 1968) is an American politician serving since 2019 as the ninth governor of the United States Virgin Islands.

Early life and education[edit]

Bryan was born on the island of St. Thomas, to Albert Sr. and Genevieve (Pilgrim) Bryan, the oldest of five sons. He grew up in the Savan neighborhood of Charlotte Amalie, the territory's capital. As a teenager, Bryan moved to St. Croix, where he graduated from St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School in 1985. Bryan earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wittenberg University in 1989. He received a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix Campus in 2003.[1]

Career[edit]

In 2007, Governor John de Jongh appointed Bryan as Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Labor. When de Jongh's term ended in 2015, he returned to the private sector. Bryan was CEO and President of Aabra Group, a consulting firm, and Master Strategies, a recruiting firm. He also was executive director of the Virgin Islands chapter of Junior Achievement.[1]

2018 gubernatorial election[edit]

  • Campaign slogan: Change Course Now

In April 2018, Bryan officially announced his candidacy for governor and chose Tregenza Roach as his running mate.[2] They won the August 4 Democratic primary with 39.23% of the vote, defeating former Finance commissioner Angel E. Dawson Jr. and former Senator Allison "Allie" Petrus.[3] The team campaigned on restoring trust to government, stabilizing the economy, modernizing infrastructure, education, healthcare, reducing crime and poverty, affordable housing, and attracting rum distilleries to rescue GERS. Bryan led the 2018 general election with 38% of the vote and defeated incumbent governor Kenneth Mapp in a runoff with over 55% of the vote. He is the second Democrat to unseat a sitting governor since Charles W. Turnbull in 1998.[4]

2022 gubernatorial election[edit]

Bryan launched his reelection bid on May 11, 2022.[5] In the August 6 primary, he defeated Kent Bernier Sr. with 65.04% of the vote. He won the November 8 general election, defeating Senator Kurt Vialet and two other candidates with 56% of the vote.[6]

Political career[edit]

Inauguration[edit]

Bryan was sworn in as the 9th governor of the United States Virgin Islands by Rhys Hodge, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands on January 7, 2019, at the David Monsanto Bandstand, which was built by his grandfather Ulric “Sappy” Pilgrim in Emancipation Gardens on St. Thomas. Before the ceremony, Bryan and his family attended an inaugural mass at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. The inauguration proceed with military parades and inaugural balls held on all three islands.[7]

First term[edit]

Bryan requested an extension to the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program, which FEMA approved.[8] Due to shortage of psychiatrists, he issued an executive order declaring a mental healthcare state of emergency in the territory.[9] In April 2019, Bryan said a new major hotel would be built on St. Croix during his first term.[10] Bryan paid off all outstanding debt to the Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority for 2019 and prior years, making the government up to date on payments.[11] In August 2019, Bryan faced criticism from Senators Kurt Vialet and Janelle Sarauw following his response ahead of Hurricane Dorian.[12] Bryan launched the Envision Tomorrow program to assist homeowners and landlords whose properties were damaged by two hurricanes in 2017.[13]

A member of the National Governors Association, Bryan was appointed in February 2021 to co-chair the NGA Task Force on Community Renewal.[14] On August 27, 2021, he sued to prevent the implementation of Act 8472, which reduces the WAPA board from nine members to seven.[15]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

On March 13, 2020, Bryan declared a state of emergency with the arrival of coronavirus.[16] On March 19, Bryan lowered gatherings to 10. Effective March 25, Bryan ordered all non-essential businesses to close and residents stay at home. On April 8, Bryan postponed in-person public school classes for remainder of the 2019–2020 school year.[17] A month after transitioning from "Safer at Home" to the "Open Doors" phase, Bryan required travelers entering the territory from several states such as Arizona, Texas, Florida to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. He also moved to close beaches early at 4pm starting July 3 to July 5, ahead of the holiday weekend while bars and nightclubs closed at midnight until further notice. On August 4, Bryan requested the legislature to extend the current State of Emergency order through October 9. Amid a COVID-19 surge, Bryan reinstated his "Stay at Home" phase which shuttered non-essential businesses including churches and school campuses for two weeks. On September 8, he said that all inbound travelers must provide a negative PCR test upon arrival or face a mandatory 14-day quarantine. On November 24, Bryan ordered a soft two-week shutdown for government agencies. On February 1, 2021, he requested from the legislature a 30-day extension of the State of Emergency to March 8. In June 2021, Bryan announced his Vax-to-Win lottery incentive. On July 26, 2021, he expressed frustration with the territory's low vaccination rate as he aimed to get 15,000 residents vaccinated by September. On March 14, 2022, Bryan lifted the indoor mask mandate but left it in place at ports of entry, medical facilities, nursing homes and schools. In June 2022, he issued an executive order extending the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency until June 30, 2022.

What is your overall opinion on Governor Albert Bryan’s handling of COVID-19?
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Respondents Approve Disapprove
VI Tech Stack April 4–5, 2020 600 ± 3.99% Territory-wide
St. Thomas-St. John
St. Croix
59%
63%
54%
25%
25%
32%

Cabinet[edit]

Agency Commissioner/Director
Department of Finance Clarina Modeste-Elliott (acting)
Bosede Bruce (2021–2023)
Kirk Callwood (2019–2020)
OMB Jenifer O’Neal
Department of Education Dionne Wells-Hendrington
Racquel Berry-Benjamin (2019–2022)
Department of Sports, Parks & Recreation Calvert White
Department of Public Works Derek Gabriel
Nelson Petty (2015–2021)
Department of Justice Ariel Smith
Carol Thomas-Jacobs (acting)
Denise George (2019–2023)
Department of Labor Gary Molloy
Bureau of Internal Revenue Joel Lee
Department of Property & Procurement Lisa Alejandro
Anthony Thomas (2019–2023)
Virgin Islands Police Department Ray Martinez
Trevor Velinor (2019–2021)
Department of Tourism Joseph Boschulte
Department of Human Services Kimberley Causey-Gomez
Department of Health Justa Encarnacion
Department of Personnel Cindy Richardson
Dayna Clendinen (2019–2021)
Bureau of Motor Vehicles Barbara McIntosh
Virgin Islands Fire Department Darryl George
Office of Veteran Affairs Patrick Farrell
Bureau of Corrections Wynnie Testamark
Department of Agriculture Dr. Louis Petersen
Positive Nelson (2019–2023)
Department of Planning & Natural Resources Jean Pierre Oriol
Virgin Islands Energy Office Kyle Fleming
Bureau of Information Technology Rupert Ross
Office of Collective Bargaining Joss Springette
VITEMA Daryl Jaschen
Department of Licensing & Consumer Affairs Richard Evangelista
Law Enforcement Planning Commission Angela Campbell
Ray Martinez (2019–2021)
Virgin Islands National Guard Col. Kodjo Knox-Limbacker

Proposed legislation[edit]

  • January 28, 2019: A bill allowing the attorney general to serve for six-year terms.
  • October 25, 2019: The Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services System Act to merge Fire Services with EMS.
  • December 2, 2019: An amendment called “Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act” to the enacted Medicinal Cannabis Patient Care Act
  • January 16, 2020: The Virgin Islands Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Act
  • May 19, 2020: Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act[18] (resubmitted amended version to 33rd Legislature)
  • August 11, 2020: Matching Fund Securitization Act
  • August 15, 2022: A bill to increase the amount of funding for retroactive wages from $25 million to $40 million to repay government employees. (Senate approved: 08/30/2022; enacted by governor: 09/16/2022)

Travels[edit]

No. Date(s) Destination Reason
1 January 17–18, 2019 Miami, Florida Met with cruise ship executives of Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Disney Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises
2 January 29–30, 2019 San Juan, Puerto Rico Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network meeting on Post-Disaster Recovery
3 February 21–27, 2019 Washington, D.C. NGA Winter meeting
4 March 26, 2019 Puerto Rico Visited FEMA Distribution Center in Bayamon and met with Governor Ricardo Rosselló in San Juan.
5 April 4–11, 2019 Miami, Florida, Washington, D.C. Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami and met with FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor in Washington, D.C.
6 May 8, 2019 Atlanta, Georgia Met with Delta Air Lines
7 May 21–23, 2019 Miami, Florida Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit
8 June 29–30, 2019 St. Kitts St. Kitts Music Festival
9 July 7–9, 2019 Orlando, Florida Met with Margaritaville Enterprises
10 July 15–16, 2019 West Palm Beach Met with Cigna
11 September 20–22, 2019 Washington, D.C. Meetings with federal agencies
12 October 25-November 9, 2019 Washington, D.C. Meetings with members of Congress and federal agencies
13 December 5–9, 2019 Washington, D.C. Job for America's Graduates annual meeting
14 February 4, 2020 Tortola Inter-Virgin Islands Council conference
15 February 7–11, 2020 Washington, D.C. NGA Winter meeting
16 July 8–12, 2021 Atlanta, Georgia Hosted a government job recruitment fair for Virgin Islanders living abroad to return home.
17 July 27-August 1, 2021 Miami, Florida Met with transportation and shipping companies
18 October 23–29, 2021 Denver, Colorado To learn about the cannabis industry
19 January 28-February 2, 2022 Washington, D.C. NGA Winter meeting
20 March 31-April 7, 2022 Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. Attended Women's NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis to see Aliyah Boston followed by official meetings in Washington, D.C.
21 April 12–19, 2022 Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida Attended National Conference for Workforce Development in D.C. and spent Easter with family in Miami.
22 March 27-April 1, 2023 Taiwan [19]
23 May 2, 2023 Boston Attended Boston Red Sox Game.[20]
24 July 18, 2023 Las Vegas, Nevada Attended Basketball event in Las Vegas, Nevada[21]
25 September 12, 2023 New York Attended New York Jets Game.
26 September 19, 2023 - October 2, 2023 Chicago, Illinois Took government officials on trip to discuss marijuana and other matters.[22]
27 November 20–26, 2023 Location and Reason for Expenditures Undisclosed to Public[23]

Residence[edit]

Bryan lives in Government House in Christiansted on St. Croix. In March 2019, the West Indian Company authorized monthly rent payments of $3,500 for a condo where Bryan would stay while on St. Thomas on behalf of his request.[24]

Epstein scandal[edit]

In May 2023, court filings by JPMorgan revealed Bryan allegedly suggested Jeffrey Epstein donate $50,000 to certain local schools, $30,000 to the VI Little League and a $25,000 private gift to his inaugural committee in 2018. He was deposed on June 6 in New York.[25]

He fired Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George, who had vigorously prosecuted Epstein-related cases, in December 2022. In July 2023, "George testified under oath that Bryan had personally lobbied her in 2019 to issue a special waiver to the territory’s sex offender law so that Epstein could travel freely, without special notifications or restrictions."[26]

Personal life[edit]

The FBI arrested both of Bryan's parents on charges of stealing various expensive items after Hurricane Hugo devastated St. Croix.[27] Bryan and his wife, Yolanda Cabodevilla, have been married since 1998. They have two daughters, Aliyah and Sumuyah.[1] In November 2023, Bryan filed for divorce from Yolanda and requested that the United States Virgin Islands Superior Court seal the case in its entirety. The sitting judge, who will be up for reappointment to the bench by Bryan in 2024, granted the request and sealed all proceedings.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Governor Bryan". Government of the United States Virgin Islands. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2021-12-14.
  2. ^ "Albert Bryan Picks Sen. Tregenza Roach as Gubernatorial Running Mate". St. Thomas Source. 23 April 2018. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "Albert Bryan And Tregenza Roach Win Democratic Primary". VI Consortium. Archived from the original on July 24, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "Albert Bryan Becomes Ninth Elected Governor Of US Virgin Islands". VI Consortium. November 20, 2018. Archived from the original on November 19, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  5. ^ "Bryan and Roach announce bid for reelection". Virgin Islands Daily News. 2022-05-11. Archived from the original on 2022-10-09. Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  6. ^ "Bryan Routs Vialet in Gubernatorial Race, Winning Reelection". VI Consortium. 2022-11-08. Archived from the original on 2022-11-18. Retrieved 2022-11-24.
  7. ^ "Bryan, Roach take oath in Emancipation Garden". 8 January 2019. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  8. ^ "FEMA Approves Bryan's Request For Extension Of Home Repair Program". VI Consortium. January 30, 2019. Archived from the original on September 26, 2022. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
  9. ^ "Gov. Bryan Declares 'Mental Healthcare Emergency' Due To Shortage Of Psychiatrists". Virgin Islands Free Press. March 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "Governor Bryan Says New, Major Hotel Will Be Built on St. Croix During His First Term In Office". VI Consortium. April 11, 2019. Archived from the original on February 15, 2022. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
  11. ^ "Government's Outstanding Debt to WAPA Paid Off, Bryan Says". St. Thomas Source. August 14, 2019. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "Bryan Under Fire After Botched Address To Community On Tropical Storm Dorian". Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  13. ^ "Governor Bryan, ODR And VIHFA Announce Envision Tomorrow". VI Consortium. September 19, 2019. Archived from the original on May 10, 2022. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "NGA Community Renewal Task Force Appoints Bryan as Co-Chair". St. Thomas Source. March 1, 2021. Archived from the original on February 8, 2022. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  15. ^ "Bryan Sues to Stop WAPA Board Changes". St. Thomas Source. September 2, 2021. Archived from the original on September 28, 2022. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  16. ^ "Gov. Bryan Declares State of Emergency, Cancels St. Patrick's Day Parade, Says Carnival 'Will Most Likely' Be Canceled in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic". VI Consortium. March 13, 2020. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  17. ^ "Bryan Announces Cancelation of In-Person School Classes for Remainder of School Year; 'Virtual' Ceremonies Planned For 2020 Graduates; Coronavirus Cases Rise to 45". VI Consortium. Archived from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "N/A" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-06. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  19. ^ "U.S. Virgin Islands Special Economic Envoy to Taiwan Anthony Weeks called on Director General Chou". Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami. 2023-03-27. Archived from the original on 2023-09-08. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  20. ^ "Bryan Kicks Off Red Sox/Blue Jays Game with Ceremonial First Pitch at Fenway Park". The Virgin Islands Consortium. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  21. ^ "Aliyah Boston Partners With USVI". 29 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Bryan Takes Two-Week Trip for High-Level Meetings in Washington and Cannabis Conference in Chicago". The Virgin Islands Consortium. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Bryan and Roach Out of Territory for Thanksgiving; Gov't Employees Get Friday Off". The Virgin Islands Consortium. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  24. ^ "WICO board OKs $42,000 lease to house Bryan, family". The Virgin Islands Daily News. March 16, 2019. Archived from the original on October 28, 2022. Retrieved October 28, 2022.
  25. ^ "Jeffrey Epstein had 'close ties' to Virgin Islands governor who fired crusading AG behind JPMorgan suit: Doc". Law & Crime. May 25, 2023. Archived from the original on June 1, 2023. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  26. ^ "Fired AG Leading Epstein Inquiry Reveals V.I. Governor Pressured Her on Pedophile's Behalf: Doc". Lee Fang's Substack. Aug 16, 2023. Archived from the original on August 16, 2023. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  27. ^ Branigin, William (31 October 1989). "Hurricane Hugo Haunts Virgin Islands". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  28. ^ "Court Grants Bryan's Request to Seal Divorce Proceedings".

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
2018, 2022
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Political offices
Preceded by Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
2019–present
Incumbent