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New Library to Honor Former Gov. Turnbull


Senators approved a bill Monday naming the district’s new library and records center "The Charles Wesley Turnbull Regional Public Library" and conferring the V.I. Medal of Honor upon its namesake.

Sponsored by Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, the bill that debuted during Monday’s Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting honors former Gov. Charles W. Turnbull for his "outstanding public service and contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands," and in particular, his more than 40-year career in education.

"During his tenure as commissioner of Education from 1979 to 1987, many achievements were made in the field of public education, including upgrading the curriculum to make it more relevant to the needs of the students," the bill says, adding that Turnbull also established the department’s Cultural Education Division, was "influential" in helping along technical and vocational education in the territory, and worked to build new schools.

If passed by the full Senate, the bill directs Planning and Natural Resources — which oversees the Division of Libraries and Archives — to prepare and affix a "distinctive sign" bearing Turnbull’s name onto the new library, which is still under construction in Estate Tutu.

A bronze plaque of Turnbull, along with the bill’s inscription, will be mounted in a "protected area" of the new library "for all who utilize the facility to read," the bill says.

The bill appropriates $10,000 from the General Fund to finance the sign and plaque.

In a brief telephone interview Monday, Turnbull said he was "honored" by the Senate’s action.

"I have often said I received as much education from libraries as from the formal schools I went to," he said. "Libraries are a very important part of the community, and I thank the Senate for this great honor."

Senators said Monday that Turnbull’s reputation as an avid historian is fitting for the new archives center.

Turnbull said later that history has always been his "greatest joy," and while many in the territory will remember him as governor, he will always be a "history teacher at heart."

Voting in favor of the bill were Sens. Usie R. Richards, Ronald E. Russell, Sammuel Sanes, Patrick Simeon Sprauve and Celestino A. White Sr.

Sen. Carlton "Ital" Dowe was absent during roll call and Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen abstained.


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