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Senator Genevieve Whitaker applauds Committee passage

Senator Genevieve Whitaker applauds Committee passage of her Resolution honoring and commending Hillary “Baga” Rezende

St. Croix, Virgin Islands (U.S.) — Senator Genevieve Whitaker, on Friday, August 6th, 2021, thanked her colleagues for the passage of her Resolution, honoring and commending Mr. Hillary “Baga” Rezende during the Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection hearing.

Bill No. 34-0061-A Resolution honoring and commending Mr. Hillary “Baga” Rezende for his many contributions to steel pan music and his dedicated service to the people of the Virgin Islands, was passed unanimously by the Senators present at the Senate Government Operations Committee held on Friday. Mr. Rezende (“Baga”) was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1937, and was first introduced to musical steel pan not too long after its creation and moved to the island of St. Croix in 1967, where Bill Bass of the Mellow Tones invited him to build and tune pans for his band. In 1975 the VI Commission on Youth offered Baga, the director of a teenage band, to build Steelpan instruments and instruct students; The band was located in the De Chabert Housing Project at Richmond Penitentiary and was called the Ebonites. The Ebonites Band became a successful and highly coveted steel pan ensemble, being invited to play in various activities of the Crucian Christmas Festival on St. Croix, the St. Thomas Carnival, the opening events of the Agricultural Fair, and performing the National Anthem at the first ever Triathlon; In the summer of 1989, Baga joined other Virgin Islands cultural artisans to demonstrate his art of making steel instruments at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, staged on the Washington Mall.

While introducing Mr. Rezende, Senator Whitaker also highlighted his involvement with the Virgin Islands Youth Commission, which was instrumental in creating a platform for Baga and the Ebonites organization to thrive. Senator Whitaker stressed the importance of Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. moving forward in appointing the youth members of the Virgin Islands Youth Commission to support the redevelopment of our youth infrastructure. “I will continue to stress the importance of this organization whose efforts helped promote the establishment of structured, music and sports-oriented activities for children in the territory as well as provided opportunities for training and employment of local personnel,” stated Senator Whitaker. “We need the Commission on Youth to be fully resurrected now more than ever.” Senator Whitaker said.

Senator Whitaker again thanks the Government Operations and Consumer Protection Committee members for their votes in support of her measure to honor a great man who has played and continues to play an essential role in the Virgin Islands through music education, a vital component in the education of our youth, crime prevention and as it is linked to the economic development of the Virgin Islands of the United States.

To stay focused, you must discipline yourself in whatever you do.” Hillary “Baga” Rezende


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