Jan. 14, 2005 The Tourism Department's Welcome Center at the Havensight Mall now bears a new name.
During a ceremony Friday, native son John E. McCleverty was honored before friends and family as the governor and members of the 26th Legislature unveiled a sign naming the building after him.
Due to a resolution offered by Sen. Celestino White Sr. last year, unanimously approved by the 25th Legislature and OK'd by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, the building will now be called the John E. McCleverty Welcome Center.
McCleverty was the founder of "The Fabulous McCleverty's Show Combo," which featured himself and his brother, Carl McCleverty, a talented singer/dancer.
The show appeared on many major network television programs including the Ed Sullivan Show, the Steve Allen Show, and the Mike Douglas Show. For many years it was a main feature on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.
White, reading from the resolution, said the band served as constant promotion for the Virgin Islands.
McCleverty is not only known for his band and music, but he is also known for his time serving as manager of Cruise Ship Activities and Special Promotions for the Division of Tourism under the then Department of Commerce.
"During McCleverty's tenure as manager of the Cruise Ship and Special Promotions, the Virgin Islands gained the distinction of being the No. 1 cruise ship port in the entire Caribbean," White said as he read from the resolution.
Ed Thomas, West Indian Company president, in giving remarks, said, "We're really proud today to name this building after Mr. John McCleverty."
Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards presented McCleverty with a plaque from the department and thanked him for his contributions to the tourism industry.
Cyril Romney, former chief minister of the British Virgin Islands and cousin of McCleverty, also gave remarks.
"It would seem fit to recognize his accomplishments at this hour," Romney said, making mention of the fact that the government had not waited until McCleverty had died to honor him in this way.
Turnbull also expressed thanks and appreciation to McCleverty.
"You've worked very hard to put these islands on the map with tourism," Turnbull said. "This is just a small token of appreciation from the community for all of your efforts."
McCleverty, accepting a plaque, said he was "indeed grateful and humbled" to have been chosen for such an honor.
He added, "I have toured the John McCleverty Building and have found it to be strong and durable, just like its namesake."
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