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trw
 trw
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August 7, 2009 9:08 am  

i called peter this morning to see when he's going to reopen and he told me friday night,now peter and i don't agree on alot of things and have butted headsin the past but i feel we as a community need to go over there and support him and his staff,no one needs to say anything just show up and eat or have a drink or get some takeout,he and his staff need the communities help to get through this, because of work i can't get there till tues night


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trw
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August 7, 2009 9:26 am  

y'all are talking too much


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stxfoodie
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August 7, 2009 12:45 pm  

Yes I am talking about St. Croix. My neighborhood has an active crime watch which we didn't have years ago. I don't scoff at this. It is not the answer to everything or a panacea for all of our ills, but it does make a difference. I don't participate in the various marches, because I don't think they effect any change, however, if it makes people feel good and that they are doing something about the problem then good for them.

Thanks to the efforts of a few individuals in conjunction with the VIPD we now have this. It is effective. I now actually have a phone tree to call when there is a problem. I know where a few key members of the community live (think retired stateside cop who has firearms and is well versed in how to use them and lives only 3 minutes away). Our neighborhood had the opportunity to hear some basics at a community meeting (clearing of poorly lit areas of brush - having a boat horn - alarm systems, making sure the roads have signs so you can find them). I will routinely call my neighbor when i see a car or truck hanging about the neighborhood that seems like it doesn't belongs to a neighborhood resident. It is a start and it is effective.

Bringing in Statesiders will not be tolerated or allowed here because it will be called colonialism, racism, or some sort of ism that is not sensitive to our culture. Our change must come from within. I do my part by voting, but I'm not sure what else to do - other than joining the marksmanship association, learning proper firearms techniques, obtaining a concealed carry permit etc etc.

Regards -


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antiqueone
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August 7, 2009 12:57 pm  

stxfoodie~ Certainly, Crimestoppers and Neighborhood watch are steps in the right direction, but don't act as if we live in a world of our own with no responsibility to the rest of the world whatsoever. If we islanders can't get our act together and make this place safe , if we can't limit the outrageous levels of graft and corruption in government and the police, we can [i]expect statesiders to come down and fix it for us. And we won't like it. We are already under a "federal decree" in several areas of government and only have a limited time left before they get tired of our rebellious ways and send in the troops like they did in Watts and elsewhere.


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jogetz
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August 7, 2009 1:22 pm  

This is truly a horrible tragedy..

I am not on island, but if I was, I would join those in going to the Pickled Greek and showing my support for them and against mindless thugs who have so little regard for human life.

This senseless taking of a life coming itself on the heels of the murder near the Carambola is both sad and disturbing. It is bad enough when murders between people who know each other are taking place, but when innocent bystanders become victims of petty crimes and petty infighting, the line has been crossed.

As I said, I am currently off island, but on the day when I am there on a more permanent basis, I will participate fully in whatever community crime prevention is available. In the meantime, I will join with those sending notice to the governor that his economic successes will be all but wasted if he does not ally those success with strong and immediate action to deal with corruption and ineffectiveness in the crime prevention in the territory. I consider him a good man with the people's best interests at heart. While I don't hold him to the standards of perfection, I do want to see determined efforts toward change even if the change itself must take time.

I don't think tragedies will ever be fully preventable everywhere, but clearly more needs to be done to minimize it there. Here in my own corner of the world, it seems that we are in a cocoon that has insulated us from the tragic News headlines paraded across the TV screen seemingly every night. Yet if any of you have seen the news about the recent shootings at the LA Fitness center near Pittsburgh, you know that the citizens here have been shaken from their slumber as well. The incidence of deadly crime in this area is extremely rare. Perhaps one every few years or so. Yet only a short drive from my home, this has now happened. It only serves to remind us that there is no hiding from such things and that we must be diligent to deal with them head on and with resolve when they occur.

I share the sadness of you all there in my heart, and stand with you in extending my prayers and sympathy to all who have been touched by this sad tragedy.

JG


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stxfoodie
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August 7, 2009 1:54 pm  

Antiqueone -

I have no idea what the following comment means.

"Don't act as if we live in a world of our own with no responsibility to the rest of the world whatsoever"

Please elaborate so that I can understand what you are getting at.

Sincerely,

Stxfoodie


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DixieChick
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August 7, 2009 2:25 pm  

I emailed anderson as well. (wanted to ask him out also) but got to more important matters like the crime. I hope he gets enough email to at least investigate. Someone also suggested Greta VanSustern (sp) i think she is with FOXX. And FOXX has a local syndicate don't they?

Lets hope this helps.
PS If anderson needs a place to stay i volunteer.


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stxscuba
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August 7, 2009 3:00 pm  

Call in the media and highlight to the world the crime problem on St. Croix. What a wonderful idea! I'm sure Peter would have approved of this....well other than when he lost his job at Hotel on the Cay because of the lack of tourism......or when there were no bands to play with because the entertainment venues had all shut down......and of course there would be no need for his column in the AVIS because there would be no one left to listen to bands or go out to dinner. Hmm has anyone actually thought this through?

My company spends a buttload of money trying to attract tourists to this island. More than probably anyone else other than DOT. We exhibit in 9-19 tradeshows a year. It's amazing that in probably half of those shows I get asked about Fountain Valley. Are you kidding me? 37 years ago? Way more than half of my 23 employees (all of whom depend on tourism by the way) weren't even born then. The questions are being asked at shows in big cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles where 8 murders in a night wouldn't be an abnormal occurence.

Don't get me wrong, I get that we have a crime problem. I too have known Peter for a long time. His death is horrific. MOST of the crimes being committed here though aren't happening to tourists. Getting CNN here will only accomplish ONE THING. The death of tourism. It's not going to cause anyone on the federal level to wake up and decide to spend money worrying about a couple of islands with a population of 100K.

Because of "screen names" or "handles" being used here I don't know who among us are those that are advocating running screaming to the media but I have to assume that you're not dependent on tourism. I can tell you one thing though, Peter's life was heavily dependent upon tourism. I can guarantee you that he wouldn't be in favor of having his death result in the death of tourism to our islands.

Ed Buckley
SCUBA


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nforbes
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August 7, 2009 3:18 pm  

i totally agree, Capt. Ed. Tourists are already more wary of St. Croix than other islands, we don't need to cut off tourism to relay effectively that crime and murder is an issue.


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Trade
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August 7, 2009 3:38 pm  

Well said, Ed.


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Betty
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August 7, 2009 4:49 pm  

Actually crimes to tourist and locals is way up. Granted it's not murders that are way up, but robberies and muggings are. Its scary to go to downtown C'sted at night now. I know five people that have been mugged in the last 3 weeks in downtown. 3 were right on the boardwalk in well lite areas. I think it is bad and I think we need media attention. I'm writing letters to everyone I can think of. I'm tried of the criminals and the corrupt politicians and just accepting that that's the way it is.

Edited to add: All of these people were robbed at gun point!!!


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changesinlattitide
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August 7, 2009 5:52 pm  

I feel for the tourism related industry. However, that does not make it right to lure people to the island. The crime and corruption must be dealt with. It is bad and it is past the point of tolerating and sugar coating.

We are going to Key West this year. I know there is crime there as well, but at least I won't be afraid of the police.

I don't see us returning until there is some real change.


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DixieChick
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August 7, 2009 6:06 pm  

and what about use who live here year round. we have to live in fear so maybe a tourist will come and by a t-shirt.

and yes tourists are being attached also.

what would have happened if that had been a family from say........iowa sitting in that rest. and one of the kids shot and killed???
which could happen.


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Juanita
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August 7, 2009 6:08 pm  

Ed is absolutely right! Talk about cut off your nose to spite your face.


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Margy Z
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August 7, 2009 7:03 pm  

As a visitor who now counts STX as her favorite island in the USVI, I am saddened. I hope for eventual peace and comfort for the family. I also hope that the perpetrators are found and punished and that the people who were present or who own or work at the venue are able to recover from witnessing this crime or having it happen at their establishment.

I have never posted on "this side"of ViNow but felt compelled to do so today. Folks - not for nothin' but you may want to find another forum for this discussion. If you don't think that tourists come here to just read - think again. I post on several travel boards but I do come here regularly to check out this board and what's happening on STX from the residents' perspective (trw's posts just make my day sometimes - I have missed meeting him a couple of times but hope to meet him eventually - lol). From what other travelers have quoted to me, I know they lurk here, too. I am a long time visitor to the USVI and I fell in love with STX on our first visit in '07 (what the heck took us so long?), have been back each spring since and am currently working on our fourth trip for '10. I am a tireless cheerleader for more tourism to STX and encourage everyone I speak with about travel to the VI to try it and prepare to be pleasantly surprised. I've even been able to "turn" a few STJ-centrics and they are a tough crowd, believe me. On our trips and those of the folks I have convinced to come we spend a little bit more than the cost of a t-shirt, I would think, but regardless of how much or how little we are contributing to the economy and to keeping folks employed who are associated with tourism, the folks I have sent there always return with good things to say and a plan to return. BUT, it's such a tough sell to get someone to even TRY STX. Folks still remember "something" about tourists being murdered there (Fountain Valley) and it does not seem to matter how long ago this happened. Then there's the whole myth thing about why the cruise ships stopped coming and that keeps coming up as a reason not to go to STX - if it's not good enough for cruisers then there must be a problem - PLEASE. I guess there's no statute of limitations on this kind of info as it just keeps going around and coming up. I've put up so many posts trying to negate this bad rap that I have the verbiage stored in a Word document, ready to cut and paste - lol.

Of course, there is a problem with crime and with local government's response to the problem. We have that here, as well, and we are frustrated that the problem continues. Crime is getting worse in our sleepy suburb of Chicago. I don't mean to minimize the situation you are experiencing on STX and I have nothing constructive to offer as to how to solve the problem, BUT, airing the dirty laundry on a forum so closely connected with a travel forum and involving the international media could have repercussions for years to come. Even folks who live in high crime areas of the states seem to expect a Utopian type of crime-free experience in the Caribbean. That's unrealistic, of course, but so is thinking that perception is not reality in the tourism industry and these forums shape perception. Just sayin'...

- Margy


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Irijah
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August 7, 2009 7:32 pm  

screw the tourists right now...
truly...
LIFE and QUALITY of LIFE is more important at this time...
clean schools and competent hospitals and a slew of other things are important at this time.
a NON CORRUPT government that CARES about it's citizens is more important at this time.
the problem has always been there in one shape or form...
because it has been allowed to continue and because ones turn their heads, either out of fear or loss of business, the problem has now grown to one that is out of control.
14 murders in 7 months averages out to two murders a month.
not counting other crimes that have been committed.
there HAS to be a unified people in order to take care of the problem.
HELP IS NEEDED...legally, by whatever means necessary.
al sharpton would love to hear about this...but in my opinion, the media needs to step in, because if the media steps in and the problem is seen nationwide...PERHAPS it would get the attention of the government as a whole...from washington to here, and something done.
THEN EVERYONE would feel safe...including tourists.
the people of the USVI need to feel safe first.
you all that live there need to feel safe and are much more important than a tourist.
to care for a tourist dollar before the safety and quality of life of residents is presumptuous and greedy....IMHO


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Margy Z
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August 7, 2009 8:09 pm  

screw the tourists right now...
truly...

Thanks, Irijah, it's always good to know where I and my fellow travelers stand. Send up a signal when you're finished creating Utopia and want us back, will ya?? Of course, we may be on to other places by that time to vacation from our own problem-ridden communities - on to places where we will be welcome (even if they, too, have issues with their governments) - but, give us a shout... BTW, I think Al's got a few bigger fish to fry than helping out on STX - fish with far more media exposure and camera time than you could promise him but, hey, offer him a nice suite at the Buc - there will most likely be rooms available.

I hope to heaven that others on island do not feel as you do and will work within the system of government to try to effect change rather than knee-jerking the island's economy into further free-fall than even this global recession has brought.

- Margy


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stxfoodie
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August 7, 2009 8:40 pm  

Dear Margie -

We need and want tourists to come here and enjoy our beautiful island. Our island needs to be much safer for tourists, snowbirds, and year round residents alike.

Not that it makes any of us feel any better, but statistically speaking, St. Croix's crime rate is significantly less than St. Thomas's this year. The streets are much cleaner, and the residents are (I'll caveat this by saying this is my personal biased opinion which I'm sure I'll take lots of flak for), much friendlier to all. It is too bad that word is not out that even with tragedies like this, we are statistically safer than our sister island who receives oh so many more visitors than us. But we know that being statistically safer doesn't mean squat.

Most of us understand the economic consequences of tourism, and we understand that precious tourist dollars may be spent in other places very very easily. I truly hope you will come visit us as the residents here do not for the most part have a "screw them" attitude.

At least I don't.

Sincerely,

STXfoodie


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StubbleInParadise
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August 7, 2009 8:42 pm  

Margy -

The entirety of the U.S. Virgin Islands is comprised of about 100,000 citizens. In total, this wouldn't be a large city in the states.

However, it would be a city with a per-capita murder rate seven times higher than the national average.

It would be a city with an annual homicide closure rate of around 30% - less than half the national homicide closure rate.

It would be a city that, based on murder rates for the last four years, would have over 120 unsolved murders. And those who committed the murders walked away with impunity - free to commit more murders. The odds are, after all, stacked highly in their favor.

These are just the murders. Other violent (non-fatal shootings, muggings, stabbings, machete ! attacks) and non-violent crimes (robberies, car theft) have equally dismal arrest and closure rates.

So, let's not wave the gilded calf of "Tourism" and ask us to keep things quiet on an internationally-known message board. How would you like these types of events landing in your "sleepy suburb of Chicago?"

And by the way - it's just as easy for a bored wanna-be traveler in Podunk, Iowa to find these statistics as it is for someone living right here on St. Croix.

I say "Shine a Light!" Let the world know we can use some help here, because decades of uncaring politicians have brought a reign of ruin on a beautiful place filled with beautiful people.

In the long run, by whatever measure, peace WILL bring prosperity.


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changesinlattitide
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August 7, 2009 8:42 pm  

Margy,

I have to agree with Irijah on this.

However, you know the island. You are free to decide where you want to vacation. The crime issue should not be swept under the rug in the name of travel and tourism based industries. The people of the USVI (STX) need to be safe. Once this issue is addressed, the travel and tourism will return. I don't understand why anyone would want to dupe unsuspecting tourists into risking their lives for the price of a hotel room and a few t-shirts.

If President Obama could only see what life is really like in "America's Paradise". What ever happened to life, liberty ,and the pursuit of happiness? How can the residents of the island achieve this with all the crime and corruption by the very people who should be ensuring their safety???

Just curious of where your suburb of Chicago is. I live in Sandwich, about 1 hour SW of Chicago. We used to live in the area of Hermon Hill on STX.

Changes


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Juanita
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August 7, 2009 8:58 pm  

I hope to heaven that others on island do not feel as you do and will work within the system of government to try to effect change rather than knee-jerking the island's economy into further free-fall than even this global recession has brought.

Thank you, Margy. I believe there are many on STX who do not want this knee-jerk reaction and understand the long term devastation that more negative attention would bring. I believe an outcry to our police and government officials is much more appropriate and would be more effective. The long term solution is education and birth control. I don't mean to take away anyone's civil rights. I can't imagine that young, unwed women really WANT 4 or 5 kids by different fathers who don't support them. Pay them to take birth control, or even just make it free, and I think they will be lined up. Wouldn't they?? If not, then it's a whole other social ailment that I will admit is beyond my comprehension.


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Betty
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August 7, 2009 9:20 pm  

"Pay them to take birth control, or even just make it free, and I think they will be lined up. Wouldn't they?? If not, then it's a whole other social ailment that I will admit is beyond my comprehension."

I don't know if you can get it free here, if there's any type of planned parenthood or the like here. But there is stateside and the same problem exists. Some people are just worthless and do not want to better themselves. Some are just ignorant and lazy. Some just want to destroy themselves and don't care how it affects others. If you can't afford a child, you should give it up to adoption or have an abortion.


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Bombi
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August 7, 2009 9:37 pm  

here's the basics. the young men commit murder for a couple of reasons, none which is race related. (imo). They get a gun and suddenly have power because as welfare children and drop outs, they have no real power.Then there is the drugs, which is mostly shitty swag from Arizona that comes in via the USPS. So someone buys an ounce or two and breaks it into 20 dime bags and a kid can make $100. Then there is the complications of involving emotions and perceived power in the business structure with no real rules. Cash is king.and if they want it they take it. So maybe part of everyone's sentence and detention they are required to attain at a minimum a GED. or....
Another approach would be to decriminalize and regulate cannabis. that would take the entire low life nickle bag gansta mentality away, at least from cannabis. As a result there would be fewer people incarcerated and fewer reasons for violence. The shift in the enforcement paradigm would free up police and the courts for the important stuff and if legislated properly could add revenue so we could hire a few more govt. employees or police officers.
The second reason for the violence is passion, generated from the cultural interpretation of applied morals. Most of the missing pieces of that puzzle are missing because of the cultural view of fatherhood and commitment. What can you do about that? I don't know.
maybe when a women has a child and she receives aid , a clock could start ticking. She is cool for a fixed period of time but agree to enrol in a GED program and a Parenting program. Maybe cap the amount of aid at 2-3 kids so there is no monetary motivation to have more children without parental support. Same with anyone that goes to prison, you can't get out or get parole until you get a GED and career and relationship counseling.

I just see decisiveness developing and sides being taken and it's counter productive. All it's takes to be a political activist is a letter or an email directed to the appropriate officials in a civil manner. Put your energy towards change. what are some real thing that we have the power to do?


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caribemj
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August 7, 2009 9:54 pm  

This seems to have come a long way from what actually happened Tuesday night to a strong, passionate about St. Croix and life, member of the community, Peter des Jardins. Can the whole "we know how to fix the crime situation" discussion be moved to another place? Right now, for those still in shock and not just seeing this as "another" crime, it's pretty painful to see what started as a 'personal in public' outpouring of feelings about Peter and what happened and his life turn into a debate on crime in the USVI and the world in general.

Yes, issues need to be addressed. But would you burst into a wake and make your perhaps valid points or go to a more appropriate place to do so?

Just a thought.


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Trade
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August 7, 2009 10:27 pm  

Get the media involved. Kill the tourism business. You'll have the press here questioning local authorities who will posture & pound their desks & make more promises which they won't fulfill. Then the media will leave, the powers that be will still collect their fat paychecks & the tourism business is gone. Yeah, that'll work realy well. *-)


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