Big Kahuna

St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise!

Don’t come here. Don’t vacation here. Don’t get off your cruise ship for fear of death.

That’s the message Governor John deJongh Jr…

And Police Commissioner Novelle Franci Jr. might as well be sending. In my humble opinion they might as well have pulled the trigger themselves in today’s double homicide bloodbath.

Crime is so bad in the US Virgin islands that we just about lead the nation with 42 homicides, with a population of only 100,000 residents.

Today a young innocent girl, 14 years old from the Carnival Cruise Ship Victory, was gunned down in crossfire by brutal killers as she went to play on Coki Beach. The dirty little secret is out now, it’s just not bad guys killing bad guys; innocent people are now getting caught in the middle.

And why was she killed? Because last month there was a brutal shooting at Tutu Mall in front of Subway where a man was gunned down in the middle of the parking lot in broad daylight. Today’s shooting was retaliation against that killing. That day’s shooting was probably retaliation for a previous shooting…and so it goes…no end in sight.

The Governor and Police Chief have known of these issues for years and have done nothing to solve the gang related problems. More criminals have guns than the police force.

Today the Governor issued a statement, here’s a tidbit:

“Parents should be more vigilant at home and residents should turn their back on criminals.”

Really Governor deJongh Jr.? That’s your answer? You can read his entire response here. Please tell me where he outlines any solutions?

We need a serious attack on the wild west that you’ve been neglecting (in my opinion). Bring in the freakin’ militia. There should be raids, we should employ “stop and frisk” like New York. We need to do SOMETHING now!

Our police force is inept. They want no real outside help. Murders and criminals regularly walk free from crimes. All this is hidden from tourists. We don’t like to talk about it for fear of losing money. Well the cat’s out of the bag now!

Today is the saddest day of my residency in St. Thomas because today I can no longer tell tourists, readers, locals and anyone else that St. Thomas is safe. It’s not. Criminals aren’t just killing criminals, they’re killing innocents.

Until local government and police decide to crack down on this crime epidemic it’s just not safe to be here.

Today this letter was posted on our blog from Carnival Cruise Line (click to enlarge):

Carnival will no longer be taking passengers to Coki. That means Coral World as well. What will become of all the honest vendors and businesses there?

What happens when Carnival stops coming to St. Thomas altogether?

I’m holding Governor John deJongh Jr. and Police Commissioner Novelle Franci Jr. responsible for today and what happens going forward. This is it, it’s on you to take back control of our streets. Do what needs to be done.

Multiple Cruise Lines Pull Out Of Tours To Coki Area Click Here.

Read CNN’s Report here.

Read Yahoo’s Report Here.

Read The Washington Post Here.

Read CBS’s Post Here.

Read USA Today’s Post Here.


Scott and I have lived here for four years – we love it. We’ve had a lot of fun living down here. We’ve met excellent people. We tell a lot of people about the many positives of living down here while reminding them that this island is like a city, and should be treated as such. The recent afternoon shooting at Kmart gave us pause; today’s incident was no different. “Disgusting”, “Depressing”, “Heartbreaking” were the words that kept repeating over and over on facebook and from mouths as the news traveled this afternoon.

Do we want to write about this? No. Would I be able to sweep this under our virtual rug and ramble on about the sun and fun as if nothing happened? Absolutely not; not when there’s a family out there tonight that is going through unimaginable sadness. Not when there’s a ship of passengers who are now aware of the horror that happened today and are currently spidering it out over the internet to family/friends/fellow travelers. Today we are ANGRY.

What do you think STT – are we overreacting?

Our hearts go out to the family of Lizmarie Perez Chapparro and to all the other families that have been affected by this mindless violence.

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  1. July 12, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

    Island Girl Said,

    Some great points in this article:

  2. July 12, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Jason D: The area over by Coki always creeped my wife and I out. We loved to go there to feed the fish and snorkel but I am not surprised this happened over there. St. Thomas is a beautiful island but the poverty, crime, and neglect are depressing.

    Debi T: wow this is a bummer, I was thinking about a one way ticket to ride, I guess it will not be there.

  3. July 12, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    Anita Davis Said,

    this is not the first time that innocent people have been caught in crossfire; one local woman was shot in the leg in a dustup just last year. she did not die, but i am certain the trauma of the situation is not lost on her.

    i think it’s a shame that when the victim is a visitor it always receives greater attention than if the victim is a virgin islander.

    i feel that if the u.s. virgin islands are made safer for ME, they will automatically be safer for our guests.

    also, this did not begin yesterday, it’s 10-15 years in the making. for those who don’t agree with providing more money for social services, particularly early childhood, food and nutrition, day care and intervention programs, this is the outcome.

    and, it is happening everywhere.

    it’s time we grown-ups get our priorities in order and decide what we really want.

  4. July 12, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Anita I agree but things are just escalating exponentially. And let’s not lose sight that tourism is our primary industry here. Scared cruise ship people mean loss of business.

  5. July 12, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    Island Girl Said,

    Anita – I remember that shooting last year…another one that took place in broad daylight in front of many.

  6. July 12, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Shaine G: “Today is the saddest day of my residency in St. Thomas ” – Scott White

    I agree Scott.

  7. July 12, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    amber Said,

    and now cnn, not a long article but at least it made international news!

  8. July 12, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Jamie H: I read your blog. I agree 100% and I’m angry with the beating-around-the-bush lack of enforcement and “stepping up to the plate” actions that need to be taken that are being neglected. Excellent writing in the blog!!

  9. July 12, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    Floatie Said,

    We have visited st Thomas yearly for the past 30 years. Today we witnessed the death at coki beach. The gun fire hiding under tables, blood running down the street and the body baked in the hot sun for two hours. Hearing about the death of an innocent girl. We will never return ! We are sickened by the days events and our hearts are saddened for the grieving families and for the islanders who will lose income because of this.

  10. July 12, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

    Pam Costa Said,

    This has been going on for years. The police are related to the criminals and in some cases they are the criminals.

    Cruise ship passengers walking to town from Havensight on the wrong side of the road across from the former Yacht Haven in front of the projects hit in the head with a brick and robbed in the morning.

    A guy getting beat up next to Blockbuster at noon time for a bag of books that he was carrying.

    Our servicemen murdered using a pay phone, shot to death in Crown Bay, causing the military ships to not come to St. Thomas for R&R for more than two years.

    A friend calling to complain about the noise coming from a ruckus in front of her apartment and the police coming and arresting HER.

    All of this was in the early 90s. Oh it has been going on forever.

    When we would walk in town, they would suck their teeth and say Whitey go home in the tourist areas.

    And biggest shame of all, the 85′ charter yacht Paradise having “survived” Hurricane Marilyn, her crew battered and the boat up on the Seaplane dock hard aground after a horrific night fighting the storm, have guns shoved in their faces so the thieves could steal their dishes and anything else they could find of little or no value.

    As for social services, when I was provisioning for a charter at Pueblo I commented on how crowded the store was, that it must be payday and the Manager of the store says “Are you kidding, everyone got their welfare checks today!”.

    The only difference from then until now is the internet and the blogs.

    I hope that your outrage and the popularity of your blog will help bring attention to it, but I have my doubts that anything will change, only get worse.

  11. July 12, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

    Chantal Said,

    Our family are going on the Victory in a couple of weeks. With the crime rate and everything that I have been reading today about St-Thomas, we are staying on the ship ! If it would have been an isolated incident on a peaceful island, it would have been one thing but looking at the homicide stats since the beginning of the year, that is just too much !!! Much worst than many shady areas in the USA. Why would I want to expose my family to this ? Sincerely the cruise ships need to rethink this destination till the crime rate stabilizes…. I am certainly not going to chance it…. My prayers go to the family of the victims. This is just horrible…

  12. July 12, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Jennie R: so sad, my rose colored glasses turned dark last year after my little boy and i got caught in the cross fire of a drive by while we were getting the car washed at four winds, just thankful i say the writing on the wall soon enough to get out alive, and i lived there a decade, birthed a baby there, and married a “local”.

  13. July 12, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Oran F; This has been steadily increasing for years. We tend to pay more attention to tourist incidents but I know half-a-dozen people senslessly shot in as many years. Left my house in Mandahl after 2 killings in 3 months on the beach, a dive buddy shot in a minor car crash, the guy stabbed to death in stj last year, the rioting in stj 5 years ago, the Americans killed outside Frenchtown 5 years ago, shootings on Megans in broad daylight, and on and on and on.

    Everyone blames ‘down-islanders’ but it isn’t all them and judges repeatedly let everyone off to committ more. This island needs to wake up and stop blaming everyone else-take personal responsibility dammit!

  14. July 12, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Love To Lime Network:

    Krissy R: What I find so outrageous is that STT police officers regularly gun around in their official flashy state of the art vehicles, sirens and lights ablaze, while most times seem to be going absolutely no where – or at least so it seems. Obviously “the Law” loves the pomp and circumstance of being “cops”, but has a major problem actually addressing and enforcing the law. This entire Coki Beach episode is not only disquieting, it is totally disgusting and unacceptable. The police department and local officials should be ashamed of their response to this crime and others like it. All of us who have a vested interest in the territory and our island need to rise up and DEMAND that officials take immediate action to get a handle on these gangs and their weapons and make St. Thomas a safe and welcoming tourist destination.

  15. July 12, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

    Shaine Said,

    This morning I sat on the balcony and watched the Carnival Victory sail into port this morning. Unknowingly,that ship was bringing a little innocent girl here to be murdered. That’s difficult to grasp, it’s haunting. It will forever change my perspective of that almost daily ritual.

  16. July 12, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

    someone who loves the virgin islands! Said,

    It’s a terrible thing that happened there today. Sadly this is something that goes on it seems now on a daily basis. It does seem that it only gets this kind coverage when it happens to a tourist. Maybe if there was more focus put on education and the other services Ms. Davis spoke of this would not be happening.
    Yes…tourism is important and a main industry on the island but it’s more important to take care of home for the people that live there first and foremost. When that happens everything else will fall in place. Maybe tourism should be left to fall by the wayside for a while in order to build a solid foundation. Stop putting the same band-aide on a wound that has been festering for years. Teach the children there to be proud of their home and respect for life and each others well being.
    It’s going to take both people who were bahn there and people that decided to make the Virgin Islands their home to come together and find the solutions to these problems and not point the finger or only come out in protest when something this terribly sad happens to someone who looks like them.

  17. July 12, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

    someone who loves the virgin islands! Said,

    I’m sorry I meant to add my condolences to the family of the little girl that this happened too. Just so very sad.

  18. July 13, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    Rudy Said,

    What is good for “Main Street” should also be good for “Garden Street.”

  19. July 13, 2010 @ 1:58 am

    Michele Said,

    The area near COKI is terrible. My family lived in Pineapple Village when we moved down almost 2 years ago. The FIRST time that I ever turned on the news here- there was a murder at “Club Lexus” as well as other shots with injury. Club Lexus is located across from Romano’s and on the same street as COKI. Needless to say, we broke our lease early. Our landlord was a prick about it but ultimately understood. As I am saddened by today’s events, I am happy that all of this unfortunate violence has made national headlines- as I read articles on CNN and USA Today. Maybe our law enforcement will wake up and smell the coffee and perhaps the government in the US will have to step in. I am not sure also, why we are not protesting this violence and we accept the legal system to be corrupt. The time is now people. It could have been your little girl murdered today. My heart goes out to the victims family and friends during this tragedy.
    PS: When you get pulled over here for making a wrong turn say- the police get on their PA system in their vehicle and make you get out and walk to them. REALLY? Get off your fat asses and do your job. The smallest thing, they can’t get right.

  20. July 13, 2010 @ 3:46 am

    sad day in the virgin islands - Mitsubishi Eclipse Forums Said,

    [...] see what you all think about it…this is where i live and what i deal with on a constant basis St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise! Teen tourist killed in U.S. Virgin Islands shooting crossfire – [...]

  21. July 13, 2010 @ 5:24 am

    Davis G Said,

    Anytime a person gets killed is a sad day; but I get your point, the criminals “code” no longer stays within the intended circle. Innocents are now being caught in the fray. On St Croix (where I live) several people were caught in cross fire over a two-yr old “beef” in broad daylight at a family inter-island event. There were police there. The real problem lies with our societies “no rat” policy, but I think that is beginning to change. The police can only do so much without the communities help. (don’t getme wrong, I’m no fan of the police) And in the future, please don’t stereotype all people on public assistance; you have no idea what their story is.

  22. July 13, 2010 @ 5:25 am

    UK Cruises Said,

    How terribly terribly sad for the family of this girl – my thoughts are with them.
    The statistics in this article are sad though and something needs to be done quickly. How can you have so much crime and so many murders with such a small population?? Places like St Thomas rely on tourism for their economy and to lose these high numbers of visitors would have drastic consequences on the Caribbean Island. Jamaica has suffered similar bad press recently and a number of cruise lines have now dropped their calls into Jamaican ports. If things don’t change for St Thomas, they will suffer the same fate

  23. July 13, 2010 @ 5:47 am

    Davis G Said,

    I just saw the news cast and shame on all of you for not mentioning that the shooting occurred during a funeral procession! Could it be this is why you hear “Whitey go home”?

  24. July 13, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Davis the shooter was black and he was retaliating aginst a member of the funeral whom he killed who was also black. Oh let’s not forget the man he killed was also ARMED. The 14 year old innocent girl was latin. Please tell me what any of this has to do with “whitey”?

  25. July 13, 2010 @ 5:58 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Nishant K: It’s sad to see innocent people die because of gang members ego and stupidity. It takes a coward to handle his disputes with a gun.

  26. July 13, 2010 @ 5:59 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Nina N: Wormuth My husband and I were frequent visitors in St Thomas. The past two years we have gone to Aruba because we were so concerned about the crime in St Thomas. Today’s tragedy reinforces our decision. How sad! It is such a beautiful place, but so backward in its approach to protecting residents and visitors.

  27. July 13, 2010 @ 6:00 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Facebook:

    Cindy L: This is something you read about Jamaica not St Thomas, please do something for all of us who love you.

  28. July 13, 2010 @ 6:22 am

    Thomas M Said,

    Corruption is everywhere on the island of St Thomas. Being a resident here for the past 5 years hasn’t shed any new light or new serious efforts to curb it or the violence that is here. I and my son were dodging bullets when the Pueblo on Long Bay was robbed 2 years ago.

    It’s a culture of chaos theory that has allowed rampant crime and an air of “can’t do nothing about it” that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

    The massive amounts of illegal aliens, mixed with islanders who are horribly rude to everyone, and the general lack of civility will continue to kill our community. Those of us who have tried to live here after being transplanted from the states have learned that the Carribean has a paradise, but St Thomas isn’t in that blessed domain.

    We remain observers to the destruction of a community that could be saved if the people and their elected officials cared enough to stand up.

    My heart goes out to the family of the little girl. It also goes out to the vendors of Coki beach and Coral World. Sure the police will be there for a couple of weeks then disappear again… don’t worry, a lot of oher island businesses are leaving this year since tourists don’t want to come back….We’ll miss the Butterfly Farm and OnDeck Yacht Racing…just to name a couple.

    I’ll be selling my own business here soon and leaving for a more harmonious life away from this mad house of corrupt politicians, corrupt police officers, and locals who don’t give a damn about the life blood of their community.

    Tourists stay away…’s not safe here and it won’t be for a long time….

  29. July 13, 2010 @ 6:30 am

    Island Girl Said,

    To Davis G:

    Yes, there was a funeral going on at Coki for a victim of the shootinga week or so ago in front of Big Kmart. I don’t know why this is even worth mentioning as it just makes the cycle even more gross. A shooting at a funeral for the victim of a shooting and another funeral and likely more retaliation. Does it stop? The families at the funeral are now dealing with even more grief – if that’s possible.

    I’m going to ignore the “whitey” comment as I, like Scott, have no idea where you’re going with that. Every person on this island should be disgusted with yesterday’s incident…young/old/black/white – EVERYONE!

  30. July 13, 2010 @ 7:21 am

    Richard Said,

    1st off you yourself are not helping the island by posting this.
    who is going to want to come after reading an article such as that. Regardless of what is going on, you have to understand that these things happen. No our young men should not be galavanting around our streets shooting and creating terror, but at the same.. Can you name a place
    that isn’t like that in these times? Wake up and realize incidents like this happen all over the world, and as much as you think st Thomas is a pretty place and that there shouldn’t be any violence, guess what, it will neve be that way and neither will any other place in the world
    you have no idea what is going on in stthomas and never will

  31. July 13, 2010 @ 7:44 am

    Dabney Said,

    Anita Davis Not Free Social Services!!

    I have to disagree with Anita Davis on this point,”also, this did not begin yesterday, it’s 10-15 years in the making. for those who don’t agree with providing more money for social services, particularly early childhood, food and nutrition, day care and intervention programs, this is the outcome.”

    Violence in our islands needs to start at home with parents and the growing population of unwed mothers on this island. Young native girls need to be educated of another life besides becoming breeders. Welfare and free social services is not the answer to the island’s gun problems.

    Virgin Island’s natives need to learn values and another way of life than that of allowing a gov’t to give them free social services.

  32. July 13, 2010 @ 7:56 am

    Alexis Karlin Said,

    Dear Richard, for an island that has such a small population. The amount of people that have been killed over the past week is very very high.
    Money needs to go to education and gun control. The police department needs to stop allowing their family members to get away with these crimes.
    The Governor needs to step it up and put his foot down.
    And I applaud this blog for getting up and posting this because if it is NOT TALKED ABOUT it will never stop. I DO NOT want to see another person dead on STT and someone say well geee I didn’t know that happened there…

  33. July 13, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    Yoly Said,

    The problem is in the cover up. Try posting this information on the travel web sites and one is immediately criticized for over reacting. Perhaps when the tourism slows the authorities will be motivated to act.

  34. July 13, 2010 @ 8:21 am

    amber Said,

    So Richard, we shouldn’t be upset about this? We shouldn’t want to stop the violence? If we ignore it and act like it never happened, will everything be okay tomorrow?

    Richard, is it not a problem until something happens to someone you care for?

  35. July 13, 2010 @ 9:03 am

    syobwoc Said,

    This truly saddens me to hear. I proposed to my fiance on St Thomas earlier this year and have plans of being married their next year. It’s a beautiful island that we hope to one day call home. I hope that the powers that be can pull their heads out long enough to see what is going on and do something about it.

  36. July 13, 2010 @ 9:17 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    When I wrote this post I knew there would be a small percentage of people that thought like Richard. People that got mad because the island is small and my comments could potentially scare off people from St. Thomas. Nicci and I both asked each other about that.

    But the truth needs to be spread on this now. The crime is so high here now that at any moment any helpless bystander can be caught in a spray of bullets. It’s not normal to have 44 murders with a population of 52,000 ish. That’s not normal. That isn’t happening in EVERY city.

    Granted there is violence everywhere but everywhere isn’t the #1 cruise destination in the world. Everyone doesn’t promote themselves as paradise. Everyone doesn’t rely on tourism as their business.

    The USVI needs to change. This story is NATIONAL news. It’s not going away. This could be the only silver lining to this big pile of shit. Maybe, just maybe the government and police will take the next steps. Making the USVI safe should be the #1 priority now.

    We love St. Thomas and all it has to offer but we’re not going to live in a war zone either.

  37. July 13, 2010 @ 9:24 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Via Love To Lime Network:

    Steve: No one who has lived here for a significant amount of time can believe that it’s going to get better. It’s delusional. The USVI is the murder capital of the United States. How does that sound? There is, was and always will be a “banana republic” mentality within our government, law enforcement agencies, educational sector and judiciary. Ask any federal law enforcement agent assigned here from the states and they will echo that sentiment.

    St. Thomas has turned into a bad joke. But hey, lets have another fish fry and fix it right up. Let’s let our infrastructure crumble and have another illegitimate kid and send them to an unaccredited school. How any of these senate candidates can run on any platform but “We screwed it up, vote us back into office,” is beyond comprehension.

    Of course, the most pressing concern isn’t the murder rate, it’s how to take constitutional rights away from white people from the states who now live here, build businesses and contribute to the tax base.

    Without the cruise ships and the money they bring in, the USVI goes away. Businesses will close up shop and move. And then what? What’s left? The horrific murders at Coki yesterday will not change anything. The performance of our elected officials, law enforcement personnel, educators and judiciary can be summed up neatly as….pathetic.

  38. July 13, 2010 @ 9:43 am

    Debbie Said,

    I am shocked and sadden that this happened yesterday at Coki. First and foremost, I extend my deepest symathy to that little girls family. I can not even imagine what they are going through. I also feel bad for the residents of STT that depend on the tourists. I visit STT every single year and I have to say that I am a bit concerned about my next scheduled trip in December. Do these people…including the law enforcement….not understand that if they do not get the tourists in they are in for some very tough economical times? Crime must get under control, especially the crime in broad daylight in an area filled with tourists. All of those inocent people on that beach are going to be scared for life after witnessing what they did. They are never going to return to STT, and they are going to encourage everyone they know to stay away as well. These locals are literally cutting their own throats.

  39. July 13, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    Marcy Said,

    DeJongh did not offer any solutions. Only blame on everyone but who really needs to be blamed, the police & government. Anyone couldve seen this coming, even a blind person. The police are just as corrupt as any of the “criminals” here. The police do NOT continue to their jobs by removing guns from the streets. They wonder where all these guns are coming from & claim to be taking more & more guns off the streets, but then where are the “criminals” getting them from & how do they keep ending up back on the streets just as numerous as ever? It is not only the parents & community that are enabling these criminal acts to continue. In fact more parents & community members are stepping up & fighting back with no support from the police. So must also be fearful in doing so for their own familes safety. The police are just as much to blame here as anyone else by ENABLING this to continue & in a lot of cases turning a blind eye with a padded pocket.
    I agree with a lot of the other statements on this blog. There needs to be some sort of task force or malitia brought in, arrests need to be made before innocent people are caught in this war, and raids need to be set in motion in areas where they know illegal activity is taking over the community. These retaliation murders are only going to continue until the whole lot of them are locked away in a padded cells like the rest of the crazies, because that is what this is, crazy, senseless, & unneccessary. It coud have been prevented if the proper arrests wouldve been made after the June 29th killings at Tutu. NOONE is safe anywhere anymore & that is unacceptable. I cant even take my child to KMart or the beach now, the main reason we moved here, in fear that we will be gunned down. If this continues it will not be too long before ALL cruise ships refuse to port in St. Thomas in order to protect their own business. Who wants to take a cruise that stops in STT when they might get gunned down at the beach?

  40. July 13, 2010 @ 10:18 am

    Marcy Said,

    @ Davis, your comment is the stupidest one on this entire blog. It was mentioned again & again that this shooting took place at a funeral. & that it was also a retaliation shooting for other shootings that have taken place elsewhere on island. It had absolutely nothing to do with white or black. This is one of the biggest problems on this island, you dont listen & pay attention to the real issue because you are too focused on the race issue that has nothing to do what is going on. It is black gang members killing each other, retaliating against each other & now innocent Puerto Rican (& other) bystanders are being caught in the middle. Why dont you open up your ears & shut your mouth long enough to see the real issue at hand, guns, gang violence, & murders. Not “whitey go home”. This is HOME to many people of many races. You just made yourself look very ignorant.

  41. July 13, 2010 @ 10:20 am

    Maya H Said,

    I agree with Richard.
    Every place in the world has crimes like these and innocent people get caught in the crossfire. It is tragic. But it happens EVERYWHERE.
    Similarly how it has happened here before, and no one knew about it then. It’s happened everywhere in the world and we simply don’t know about it or have forgotten it.

    I agree that word about this must get out …. but at the same time, what about all the innocent people who run businesses based on tourism? What did we do? We’ve lived here on St.thomas for years trying to make a living and support our community.

    My condolences go out to the family of Lizmarie.

  42. July 13, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    CJ Said,

    Our high level public officials set the example for all to follow. When they stop being charged and convicted of crimes, beating young girls, having children out of wedlock, misappropriating funds, stealing both blatantly and through inefficiency, and being generally uneducated and inappropriate….perhaps others may follow??

    There is clearly something wrong with the environment and the culture in the V.I. What we have been doing does not work!! It breeds a lazy and incapable population which is angry and has a great tendency towards violant crimes. The saddest part is that Virgin Islanders show no willingness to change or become more self-reflective. Those who continue to make excuses and avoid looking within themselves and their communities are helpless..

  43. July 13, 2010 @ 10:39 am

    St. Thomas – No Longer a Caribbean Paradise? « Cruise Critic UK's Blog Said,

    [...] new post on the St. Thomas Blog, which generally focuses on the island’s charms, sums it up well:  “Today is the saddest day [...]

  44. July 13, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    Marcy Said,

    @Maya. Yes this does happen EVERYWHERE. But not everywhere is a tourism based economy. Of course this is going to “get out” & make headline news & of course it only does once a tourist is killed. When it was gang on gang violence no one wanted to do anything & it was kept hush hush even though everyone knew it would eventually progress to worse incidents occuring. If something wouldve been done earlier, years ago when other incidents occured, then it wouldnt be as out of control as it is now. But officials & powers that be wanted it kept quiet so that the tourism economy would not be affected. It is horrible that business owners will be effected by this. They did not DO anything to cause this nor do their business & livelyhood deserve to suffer. However, It is more of an absolute tragedy that someone has lost thier life, that it had to come to this. & Lizmarie & her family did not deserve for this to happen to them. My deepest condolences go out to Lizmarie’s family & all the families affected by these senseless murders. But it can no longer be kept quiet just to preserve the tourism economy. Tourists do not want to go to paradise, no matter how wonderful it looks, if they are not safe.

  45. July 13, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    Laura Said,

    I generally travel to the Virgin Islands every year. I tend to spend most of my time on St. John, just because I don’t like all the cruise ship traffic. However, I have heard that areas of St. Thomas aren’t safe and to get back to St. John before it gets dark and things like that. St. John isn’t perfect either. A lot of it is the lack of response from the VIPD. People know that they aren’t going to do anything.

    As a tourist, I wanted to thank you for addressing this issue. Tourists aren’t stupid; we hear and see things and then we resent those who treat us like morons and hope we don’t notice. And yes, no destination is perfect, which is why we still come and we are as careful as we can be.

    I just hope two things: 1) that the island can somehow clean up its act and 2) that the cruise ships don’t stop calling on St. Thomas, because that would cripple an already suffering economy.

    Lots of work to be done. I will just say a little prayer for everyone involved. I’m not planning to change my trip for the fall at this point.

  46. July 13, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    G Said,

    Just a little advice for the USVI Government,
    Zero tolerence gun laws. If NYC can do it so can USVI, just ask Plaxico Burress. If you have an unlicensed firearm you go to jail. Make it at least a two year minimum. Oh yah, and enforce it! Or even better yet, eliminate guns completely from the island. There is no hunting here so there is no legitmate reason to cary firearms. Allow only on duty military to cary guns and the police force is armed with tasers. Please show the cruise lines and potential tourist that you are willing to do something to improve the situation here. No guns = more tourism = more money.

  47. July 13, 2010 @ 11:10 am

    scott Said,

    I have been going to St.Thomas for 10 years, my parents own a timeshare there. We buy a lot of groceries while we are there and also do a lot of shopping (down town). Have always loved it there and my family has always felt safe with the exception of this year. The grocery store down by yacht haven was overrun with bums trying to get money from you. Also had an argument with a taxi driver because I was parking in a taxi parking area down by the open shopping pavilion. Where the hell are you supposed to park and not have to walk a 1/2 mile to get to the stores. Your right, the city is getting more corrupt by the year and do not think I will be going back soon, very sad I loved it there.

  48. July 13, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Well owning a gun for protection is everyone’s constitutional right so let’s not get carried away but zero tolerance works. Problem is it’s the judges nephew so they run free. Just they other day a 17 year old was “released” into his parents custody for having a gun. Future killer?

  49. July 13, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    scott Said,

    Forgot to mention that there are a lot of really nice locals who I have met throughout the years but there are a lot more bad ones than good ones now sadly. Really enjoyed getting drinks from the (MAILMAN) at Coki beach.

  50. July 13, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    amber Said,

    USA Today Again – keep up the good work –

  51. July 13, 2010 @ 11:21 am

    Bailey Said,

    What a shame. I moved here from St. Louis, where I was held at gunpoint a few different times, luckily never shot, and moved here to experience what living in paradise might be like, hoping it would be tranquil and relaxing. Since then, almost two years ago, I have heard of more violence and upset than I ever did back in the states. I do not wish to make a blanket statement since that would be completely unfair and wrong, but a large percentage of the local population here is terribly lazy. Major problems are swept under the rug and completely disregarded (unless of course it’s election time and then you see roads paved and officials/politicians on the news and on the radio really “trying to improve the islands”….crock of s***), gang related activities have skyrocketes just since I’ve been here, the education system is a joke, the entire island is FILLED with trash and garbage that people (mostly locals) disrespectfully discard out of car windows and as they’re walking. St. Thomas is such a beautiful place, filled with disrespectful, lazy, slobs who have no appreciation for the beauty around them. Shootings like this one are not uncommon, although it is TERRIBLY unfortunate that a child was literally caught in the crossfire. I am currently two weeks away from my due date, and I am really hoping that this island can begin to recognize the issues at hand before it’s too late for MY daughter, and SHE’S the one possibly caught in the crossfire. None of this is acceptable, the corrupt police force should be completely revamped, and the bigger pictures should be addressed. What is going on here?? It’s not that large of a land mass to keep under control! Where are the people in charge, or maybe the better question is, WHO are the people in charge?? Obviously, they are not fully performing their duties.

  52. July 13, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    Allan Said,

    For those of you who think there has to be better policing, forget about it. Here’s a truth about policing. You cannot have a police force who live next door to the criminal or know their relatives or maybe know them personally. It just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, at this point you need outside help. I remember a few years back when on STJ and watching the bust of a local attempting to sell dope to a tourist. The arresting undercover cop, as he was handcuffing him was calling him by his first name.

  53. July 13, 2010 @ 11:28 am

    scott Said,

    NY is not safe trust me! It has been cleaned up a lot but if you go out late at night in the wrong areas you will end up in the morgue or a hospital. I live upstate from NY and own a registered gun, enter my house or threaten my family with harm and you will get shot! Cost a few cents and saves the taxpayers lots of money so they don’t have to feed and house your sorry ass for the rest of your life. St Thomas can be fixed rather quickly if they want to. Bring in outside police agencies on a rotation basis so there are no relatives to deal with and do sweeps of crime areas. There are only so many places to hide on the island.

  54. July 13, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    That’s a great solutuion. Bring in cops from the states and rotate them in and out every 9 months or so. Like the travelling nurses we have. That way by the end of the 9 months we get fresh new, shiny cops with good attitudes.

  55. July 13, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    sharon Said,

    I am as appalled as the rest of humanity about this insult to civility. Any crime is destroys the fabric of a society. However a death, senseless or on purpose devastates a society. However, I think it was reckless and disgusting the way this blog portrayed the headline, making it appear that the Governor was making that statement that the blogger wrote.
    Can we please offer constructive solutions to our problems and stop attacking officials and people personally?
    Solutions like the ones by Anita Davis are welcomed. Yes, we must concentrate on the very young children to offer them a good education so they will choose a profession rather then pick up a gun and run with thugs.
    Our hearts go out to the family of the young kill that lost her life. And my heart goes out to our entire community that is under siege by a small number of bad guys.

  56. July 13, 2010 @ 11:50 am

    Allan Said,

    Actually, that is the ONLY solution.

  57. July 13, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Yea Sharon it’s my writing that’s the issue.

    It IS his fault, the buck stops with him and as soon as people start pressuring deJongh the sooner we’ll have this issue fixed.

    But if it makes you feel better to blame me, no worries I have broad shoulders!

  58. July 13, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    CJ Said,

    @ G
    First our local gun laws are modeled afer NYC Gun laws, very similar. You can not and will never be able to “ban guns” due to our consitutional right and our necessity to form a militia if need be. So it all comes back to the lack of enforcement and a weak justice system.

    @ Sharon

    I am in full agreement that we need to look for solutions and be possitive, I also feel that the second you join the public sector and become a public servant you are now in the public eye and are fair game for open criticism. I commend our Gov. and a select few Senators for some of the work which has been done, however it is difficult to argue with results relative to crime. The trend has been bad and only gotten worse. Hopefully they can stem the tide or have the integrity to reach out to outside resources, not get into petty fights with the ATF and force them out of the territory

  59. July 13, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

    Dabney Said,

    I for one do not think Anita Davis has the solution for the islands gun problem by offering more money for social/welfare programs.

    Sharon, no where in her statement did she even come close to what you think she said.

    Here’s the statement re posted from Anita Davis: “for those who don’t agree with providing more money for social services, particularly early childhood, food and nutrition, day care and intervention programs,this is the outcome”

    Writer Bailey has a known truth by stating, “but a large percentage of the local population here is terribly lazy”.

    Yes indeed that is the nail on the head, and offering more “FREE” social programs as suggested by Anita Davis doesn’t by any means bring a means to an end or even touch on the iceberg of the Territories gun/violence problem.

  60. July 13, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    Marcy Said,

    Amen to that!! Yes we need outside help & quick. Fresh cops that arent related to half the criminals they are arresting. Cops that are willing to actually get off their asses & chase a criminal running from them. Cops that arent handcuffing their cousin, brother, nephew, high school friend, etc… in front of the crowd, then saying “get the hell out of here” as soon as they turn out of sight. Also arent police supposed to PROTECT & SERVE. How about cops that will actually do that. And are willing to get out of the vehicle to assist a lady dressed in heels & nice business clothes (or anyone for that matter) move 3 heavy tree branches out of the road instead sit there, watch her & laugh. Or also at least ticket the careless people that put the branches there in the first place endangering drivers safety. Lets not just focus on all the very serious areas where they lack but also the little things that can really affect how the police are viewed by the community.

  61. July 13, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

    Dabney Said,

    Big Kahuna,

    In my opinion this forum topic is welcome.

    Bring it all out and don’t sweep it under the rug.

    Bravo for this forum! May the leaders that can bring immediate change spring into action.


  62. July 13, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    scott Said,

    It is the fault of the higher officials! To much behind the back agreements and payoffs. I knew something was up when I saw a huge police presence in downtown streets where normally you only see 2 officers this March. I asked why there was such a presence and was told because there were a lot of ships in that day (bulls@*t) I have been there when they have had 4 and 5 ships in port and never any more cops than usual. I was also there last year when a marshall was shot downtown. There were more sirens running this year than ever before, do what they did in Newburg, NY. bring in special police units and sweep the whole damm island in thirty days and root them all out, and start over again.

  63. July 13, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    I’m for education but it’s never happened so even if we start tomorrow (good luck with that) it will take at least 15 years for payback. The solution today is POLICE FORCE and action by deJongh. Period.

  64. July 13, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Thanks, I knew I’d get some kickback from deJongh supporters. And frankly a lot of old timers here still don’t like any negative things written. It’s the “small town” mentality. This is national news now so it’s way over my head. If you don’t want people talking about these issues don’t let them happen.

    here’s what I suggest, write in to Gov. deJongh and remind him that an election is coming and we want crime stopped! Click here:

  65. July 13, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Donna Said,

    Anyone remember when the FBI was on St. Thomas and then there was the FBI agent at Mahogany Run who tried to protect a woman involved in a domestic violence event? The FBI pretty much left the island. It might be the economy as well but it sure seems that crime has escalated since then. I agree that we need a rotating police force from off island. In a big city one can usually stay away from ‘bad areas’. Here on St. Thomas the crime is happening where everyone goes – the mall, Coral World, Coki Beach, Fort Mylner and on and on. I am afraid for my daughter.

  66. July 13, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

    amber Said,

    I know the daily news is slow to update the website, but is today more so?

    Why isn’t this story on yet?

    Also, has two message boards – one for residents and one for tourists. There is a long strand going on the resident board about this tragedy, but not one post to warn the tourist board?

    Deep down, I’m a conspiracy theorist.

  67. July 13, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    SapphireCat Said,

    Amber, STT Source is covering it.

    Do you have a link to the resident board?

    Thank you.

  68. July 13, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    DeusVult Said,

    I was born and raised on St. Thomas and have lived here most of my life. Sadly… it is too late. We cannot fix what has been leaking so long. When the hole first appeared in the damn, we should have attempted to fix it; we did not. To the parents that allow their teenagers to curse and hit them, disrespct them and other people; to greet their firends with “Whad’up Gansta?!” drop out of school at fifteen; wear their pants to their knees so that we can all see their drawers; to these parents..shut the hell up when your 18 year old son murders someone. YOU are partly to blame, yet, you will shed tears for your son and not the for the person’s life that he took. You will shed tears because he is a “good boy” and bad company did this to him. No! You created him by allowing him to become the beast and YOU should be charged with facilitation. Our government is broken; the only conspicuous thing that our governor has done for these islands is get fat; I didn’t even know we still had a congresswoman; I think that the young girl’s family should sue Carnival Cruise Lines. The cruise line is well aware of the escalating violence in the VI and should have warned he cruise passengers. Everyone knows that if you want cocaine, you go to Coki Point or Brewers Beach. If you want crack or weed, all have to do is go to the drive through at any of your neighborhood projects and say, ” A nickle” or “a dime.” If you want heroine, Red Hook. I’ll tell you what, if this was my child that was killed, there would be more bodies than the morgue could accomodate and you know what, more and more people are saying the same thing. They are sick and tired of the Police, the murderers, robbers, burglars. NOTHING is being done. Bring down police officers from the States and see how quickly these islands are erridacted from the crooked cops and drug dealers,muggers, etc.

  69. July 13, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    Rich Said,

    Dear Scott and Nicci …

    It is such a tragedy for that young girl and her family. My prayers and condolences go out to them. It is also a tragedy for your island.

    You may or may not remember me. I have corresponded with both of you in the past.

    My wife and I honeymooned on Saint Thomas in late September, early October 2009. Prior to our trip I contacted you, and Nicci wrote me a most useful email detailing many places and things regarding the beautiful island. Soon after returning home, I wrote a recap of our honeymoon which you published on your site.

    In this, I wrote about one of our most favorite days of the week, the day we spent on Coki Beach, probably somewhere very close to where this young girl was gunned down:

    ” … I will admit, when we were first dropped off at Coki, and told by our taxi driver, “Just go right through that little gate there,” I thought about bagging it, and asking to be driven back to the resort. (The surrounding neighborhood is in bad shape, and the area right around the entrance is quite run down. We are so glad that we decided against leaving, though.)

    Upon entering, we made our way to the snorkel stand and met Richard, a huge size of a man – very friendly — who set us up with chairs, snorkel gear and two large dog biscuits (to feed the fish with). The rental fees are about double that of Trunk Bay. I believe snorkel gear and chairs ran about $30.00 for the day. The snorkeling was great. I thought there was many more fish at Coki, compared to Trunk (possibly because of the dog biscuits).

    I will now get the negatives out of the way. The bathrooms are bad. There once were showers but they are no longer operating. The facilities are somewhat dirty and smelly. With that being said, you are not going to be spending much time in the restrooms when you are at a place like Coki Beach. The other negative is the general conditions. There is some trash, old boats, broken chairs – things like that – sort of strewn all around. Trunk Bay is absolutely pristine. Coki Beach is somewhat disheveled. However, this was not a big deal to us. If you are a glass-half-full type, you might even allow this to add to the overall ambiance!

    The overall environment at Coki Beach, given you take some time to breathe it all in, is purely loveable. First, there are friendly, local women walking the beach as waitresses that will not only bring you sandwiches and drinks, but also provide valuable information on anything ranging from snorkeling tips to St. Thomas history.

    There are small, cozy, well-worn wooden shacks set up as a bar and a restaurant grill. They fit right in to the entire scene; very island-esque. The drinks, served in plastic cups, are pricey but tasty. A rum punch and a pina colada will run you $13.00 plus tip. We also split a grilled mahi mahi sandwich, served on a hamburger bun, for $10.00 ($12.00 if we wanted french fries with it). The sandwich was DELICIOUS!

    A great selection of fun music plays constantly from the grill area. There is dancing from some locals who are hanging out, as well as the waitresses, who bop along to the tunes as they walk the beach.

    We spent an entire day there; from about 10 am until 5 pm. And, when it was time to go, Richard graciously hooked us up with a cab ride home. One’s first impression of Coki must be set aside, and you will surely have a fun-filled, memorable day …”

    Please don’t get me wrong, we absolutely loved your island. When I think back to that week, the sheer, natural beauty of it shines through, vividly, in my memory. But with this latest, tragic story comes the unfortunate reminder – one that Nicci wrote me in her first email – that St. Thomas should be treated like a city, and not a small, quiet island.

    On our drive to Coki that morning, looking out the windows of our cab, we were able to witness some of the depressed and downright dilapidated neighborhoods. The same was true when we were taxied to Red Hook and Frenchtown. Coupled with the beauty, there is a great deal of blight. And, without ever getting out of the cabs and personally visiting any of these rundown sections, I could not help but assume they would not be the safest places for tourists to frequent.

    So with all that being said, when building an itinerary for your vacation on Saint Thomas, you must plan on going to your town or destination, having dinner, or shopping, or snorkeling, etc., and then returning back to your resort. There seemed to be no “in-between” where you might feel safe to just take a long walk, or a short hike, and that’s unfortunate.

    Anyone that visits Saint Thomas – and the same is true with most of the Caribbean islands – will realize immediately what a major source of the economy is the tourism industry. For people to continue to come to your island, they must, first and foremost, feel safe! Scott and Nicci, I think the words from your blog ring true and definitely need to be heard. The more senseless acts of violence that wind up getting swept under the rug, the less people will vacation there. So let the governor and police chief read these posts, and hopefully take action to snuff any senseless and tragic crime on Saint Thomas.


    Rich Hess
    Springfield, PA

  70. July 13, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    STT Liming Said,

    This entire issue is tragic but not surprising. I moved down here 15 years ago and there is a definite ebb and flow when it comes to crime in the VI.

    For me it got personal when someone I worked with got gunned down in cold blood at Club 75. To this day there has been no real justice for his family nor closure. I am angered that an adminstration, that in no small part ran on the cleaning up crime issue, has been so ineffective in making any real dent in the problem.

    I was further angered in the governor’s comments asking the public to “Rise up against those who continue to wage violent crime. This shows a large degree of naivety to the issue. Convictions can be mired in a quagmire of indifference and apathy. It is hard to trust the police when stories continue to come out about officers involved in murder for hire and vast smuggling rings that rival in some cases the local gangs.

    This government needs to be doing more than empty rhetoric and re-election parties at Sibs and needs to get whatever help they need and give back the streets to the people of the Virgin Islands who deserve a community where we do not have to live in fear.

  71. July 13, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

    jean cockayne Said,

    The entire US Virgin Islands are a scary place. My son was murdered on ST John in the US Virgin Islands. It happened 3 years ago and the guilty have stood trial twice and been found guilty by not one but two juries. Jamie Cockayne was also a tourist. His killers have not been sentenced and it has been over a month since we have had any word about when or if the killers will be sentenced and go to jail. June 19, 2007 my son was stabbed to death on the streets of Love City and still there is no justice.
    My heart breaks for the young ladies family. I know only too well what they are going through and what they will have to endure while going through the VI Justice system.

  72. July 13, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

    Me Said,

    Big Kahuna, you hit the nail on the head. I lived there for 3 years, I became tired of the laziness, the terrible and ignorant attitude of most of the people, as well as the retaliation shootings. I am very happy not to be there anymore. Such a beautiful island, such a waste.

  73. July 13, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    amber Said,

    VI Tourist Boards

  74. July 13, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    Joe Gaskins Said,

    This is horrible. My thoughts are with the girls family.

    My girlfriend and I have been thinking about moving down there sometime soon. But this whole thing, the crime, is hard to grasp (I live in a small town where there hasn’t been a murder since I was a small boy).

    I have friends that live on STJ and one was robbed at gunpoint within months of moving there. It’s a real shame for such a beautiful place.

    I just start to think that nowhere is safe and that is very depressing. I hope something gets done about it… soon.

  75. July 13, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

    Carole Said,

    I am stunned by what has happened and this strikes really close to home. We are at the Marriott Frenchman’s Cove for the week and yesterday I suggested we try some of the great snorkle beaches on St. Thomas and get out of the hotel. My daughter’s 16 year old BFF is with us and I’m responsible for her safety, but I felt really safe here. Our concierge suggested we stay away from Coki. Some locals on Tripadvisor said that concern about Coki was “overblown” and not fair to the local businessman. God, I am so glad I listened to the concierge. In fact, driving back from Sapphire I noted how I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving around Jamaica because of the crime. We waved good-by to the Victory from our pool party, little knowing the horrible events that occurred. Thank you for making this public. I’m not sure what influence Marriott may have on the govenor’s office, but as an owner of a week here, I’ll add my voice to those who are demanding action to keep St. Thomas a safe paradise!


  76. July 13, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    SapphireCat Said,

    Your concierge at the Marriott was wise, Carole, and you were wise to listen! I think this comment area may be the last place to have a truthful forum about things going on in the USVI. You can cut the silence with a knife on the Tripadvisor St Thomas forum. And I know exactly why. One early thread about the incident has now been “closed” with the OP removed. The second thread has links to news sources and even an entire article from the St Thomas Source on it, so whoever objected to thread one would have a very hard time shutting down thread two. Sadly the Jamie Cockayne murder was sushed the same way in TA as well as on other forums. And so was the murder of the two men who were down to St Thomas for a wedding a few years ago. And there have been others, such as the Smith Bay Rd robbery and murder. Each year I speak to people in the usvi who whisper, “we hope this isn’t turning into another Jamaica.” What can we do?

  77. July 13, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    jacquelyn Said,

    I moved to this Island a little over 5 years ago. I never felt all that safe iving here. I just got back from a wonderful vacation and I really didn’t want to come back to the Island. I can remember when I couldn’t wait to get back to the Island during or after a vaction because of the simplicity and beauty of St. Thomas. I am an athlete and I like to spend a lot of my time outdoors. The stray dogs that just love to chase my husband and I down when we are trying to enjoy our morning run; the rude locals; the pollution; the MANY break-ins on the Island. I am so sad about what happened with the 14 year old girl this past Monday. I am so angry that NOTHING is being done about any of these things I have listed and there is so much more going on that I haven’t even listed. My heart goes out to the family of the victim. My husband and I are currently looking for a safer place to move. I am so sad to have to leave this beautiful Island, but I live in constant fear. Life is way too short for that.

  78. July 13, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

    jacquelyn Said,

    I failed to say that the dogs are not just stray dogs that attack and chase people, they are pets of locals. It just goes to show you the mentality on this Island. NOBODY is responsible for anything. It goes into the saying “GOTTA GET MINES”.

  79. July 13, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

    La Said,

    This is the second time I am posting this… Do you censor your comments as long is they don’t offend certain people reading this blog?

    My condolences goes to the family of that poor child, it could have happened to anyone, and it could have happened to anyone’s child. But of course it hits harder for obvious reasons because we depend mainly on tourism in the USVI.

    My poor Virgin Islands are paying a hard price for having that US flag being planted on it. What you have here is an open harbor to all kinds. People from ALL over migrate to the USVI, and many of them come with their ideals and habits of all kinds. Not only do I have to deal with rude “locals”, hand out indigents, and illegals, but I also have to deal with condescending, bias and ill-intentioned “mainlanders” and outsiders of all sorts, who too contribute to many of the societal problems here in the territories.

    I was born-raised and still reside in the US Virgin Islands, and I too would like to feel safe from the local street pirates (however, pirates can come in all colors and from all over the world), why should I have to suffer because I don’t have anywhere to run? Btw Kahuna, sadly I am not able to afford those realtors you routinely recommend to others, and I am also not able to afford those “gated communities”, nor am I even able to afford a patch of grass on the island of St. John – all of a sudden. What does all of that have to do with this crime and this tragedy? Not directly, but It’s all connected one way or another.

  80. July 13, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    LA we never received your first comment. So just take a deep breath and relax :)

    I don’t think this blog article put any skin color on anything. Bad guys are bad guys, period. We just want it to stop and I think we all can agree it’s out of control.

    This article was written about crime and crime only. Other people have commented on life here which is fine but right now I’m concerned with crime. All the other social issues will work itself out like it always has.

    As far as you being able to afford realtors we recommend as far as I know using a realtor is free. And I’m sure any realtor can find you an appropriate property if you have money to buy a house. And this really doesn’t have anything to do with violence and I don’t think they’re at all connected.

    Thanks for commenting, your opinion matters :)

  81. July 13, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

    La Said,

    And yes I too blame this particular Governor for the recent crime escalation. His priorities and interest lay elsewhere from day one, and it’s not on the “little” people in the territory who’s the larger majority – working hard, struggling, law abiding and who also deserve to feel safe.

  82. July 13, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

    SapphireCat Said,

    It’s been reported that the near-Coki Beach gunman has turned himself in. He took his lawyer along. Interesting, how he knows just how to protect himself, but has no regard for others.

    Naive as it may sound, let’s hope this was the height of the violence in the usvi and things will simmer down from now on.


  83. July 13, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    After an all-night search through the East End of St. Thomas, police were told early Tuesday morning that 22-year-old Steven Tyson, suspected of being one of the major players in Monday’s deadly shootout at Coki Point Beach, was turning himself in.

    Click here:

  84. July 13, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    I just wanted to thank everyone for participating in this blog post, even those that critized me. Your comments and opinions really matter :)

    We’ve received national attention and the post went viral with over 5,100 visits just today alone.

    Hopefully this will prompt some change and action from our government and police force…hopefully.

  85. July 13, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    Jim Walker Said,

    Big Kahuna:

    Your blog has done a real service in raising awareness and igniting a discussion regarding how to address ths problem. We are now going to see the tourism board and cruise lines sweeping the problem under the rug – saying this was an isolated event and everything is just fine and dandy. Please stay on top of the story!

  86. July 13, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

    Eric Steele Said,

    Ok…coming to the island next Friday…staying in a villa in Peterborg ( sp?) .

    Any advice? Gonna be there 8 nights and can’t back out now. Where should we NOT go? Should we not stay out at the bars that I hear so much about?

    Seriously…on our other visits we saw nothing of this…never got approached for drugs, and I’m a big tattooed dude, I always get approached….we recieced nothing but kind a friendly behaivior….we roamed aimlessly without any clue of this….

    In my research online over the years, I never saw a mention of this….

    So….any advice for this tourist and my family would be appreciated… See you next Friday. And thanks.

  87. July 14, 2010 @ 4:20 am

    Storm cruise ship Said,

    No one in the family of that innocent girl would have thought their vacation on a cruise is going to be brutal. These kinds of incidents are happening a lot where a number of innocent people are killed.

  88. July 14, 2010 @ 7:00 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    @Eric, here’s the thing. The big dirty secret was we just avoided where the bad guys were and they killed each other. But now they are brazen and are killing people in public places. Places the average person goes to like Kmart. Or drving in a cab in Smith Bay. So I would still avoid the bad places and just use your streetsmarts everywhere else. If it looks shady it probably is.

  89. July 14, 2010 @ 7:04 am

    Pirate93 Said,

    Thoughts and prayers to the family of the 14yr old girl. Such a waste that a young girl loses her life in a random shootout between St. Thomas thugs. I lived on Island for 4yrs and still own property there. We eventually want to return and use our home for large chunks of the year.
    The police and government corruption is beyond belief. Had a former high ranking V.I. Govt official not blink while asking us for a bribe to get something we needed done in the business capacity we were on Island for before we left. Would love to see it cleaned up but it seems like this debate has been going on forever. Swift action by the judicial system would help. Should be plenty of evidence and witnesses to convict these thugs and throw them in jail for life with no chance of parole. My guess is this case will linger in the courts forever with the hope people forget.

  90. July 14, 2010 @ 8:29 am

    jean cockayne Said,

    Finally, I read the USVI government is actually considering accepting help from the US. Amen!
    There is no other way to clean up the USVI. The murders rapes and break-ins are nothing new.
    We left STX in 87′ because we had been broken into more than 3 times and we lived in more than one location.
    Tide Village was our last home and it was, I thought I nice mixed neighborhood.
    Once our son was born it took less than a year for us to get back to the states. Since then the only crime we have encountered was on St John and it was , well most everyone already knows.

    It is with great sadness I say, until the police are cleaned up, the courts are fair and the criminals are sent away everyone on any USVI island is a target.

    The governor inherited this horrid problem, I think he is committed but, for so long corruption has been the norm it takes time and more real police to fix things.

    It doesn’t help if the police actually do their job and the prosecutors are so under staffed they cannot compete with the rich private attorneys.

  91. July 14, 2010 @ 8:33 am

    Suze1000 Said,

    I am so sad to hear of this. We used to love to vacation in the USVI. Crime has gotten so bad that we are afraid to visit the USVI. We have been robbed more than once while vacationing on St. John. My husband was followed and harassed by a local for no reason. He made the mistake of smiling and saying hello to the man. He was trying to be friendly. St. Thomas and St. Croix are even worse. The bars on the windows are a pretty good indicator of the safety of these areas.

    I hope that one day these islands can become peaceful. We have high unemployment where I live, and very little entertainment for young people, but we do not have these high rates of crime. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. Such a beautiful place, but such a sad place. I hope that one day it will be under control. My heart goes out to the family of the 14 year old who was killed. Losing a child is the most devastating thing that a family can go through. I have been there, and believe me, I understand. My daughter would be 21 this year.

    I also am sorry for the families of the gang members. They have lost their children as well, just in another way.

  92. July 14, 2010 @ 10:09 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    @jean cockayne, where did you read that our government is reaching out? Could you post a link?

  93. July 14, 2010 @ 10:53 am

    rox Said,

    Just planned a cruise to Virgin Islands yesterday going in two weeks.. Didn’t hear anything about violence. Is there any safe place? Should I even get off ship?

  94. July 14, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    daddy skrew Said,

    this ia a disgrace on what i have been hearing, reading and seeing about the beautiful virgin islands. this is a disgrace on the violence and crime there. the goverment and police will never fix it or try to solve it because the senators, governor,lt.governor and police are busy stealing, not being truthfull and wasting tax payers money in crap. they fbi needs to come in the virgin islands and arrest them all and lock them all up .but dont get caught driving talking on your cell phone, or without a seat belt oh my god its like they ready to sentence you to life in prison. i will do everything in my power to as a virgin islands living in florida to tell everyone to visit someplace else then the virgin islands..they dont deserve the tourist dollars and i hope all airlines, cruise ships stop going there for 1 year to show them what they will be missing if they dont fix this problem

  95. July 14, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Yes, get off the ship and enjoy St. Thomas.

  96. July 14, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

    JB Said,

    Heart -filled condolences to the family of that little girl who so incidentally lost her life to the barbaric actions of criminals. I lived in STT for all my childhood years. I graduated from Sts. Peter & Paul in 84. My classmates were a diversified group of individuals from all ethnicity. At no time growing up in STT did I ever feel unsafe. I could walk the streets at any time, and there were very few places if any I felt unsafe. Growing up in those times, if you had differences with someone, you settled with your knuckles – yes, you win some, you loose some, but you lived to see another day. Nowadays the same can not be said. I would be extremely concerned for life and limb to venture one block in any direction from that same school. Having moved from the island since graduation, I visit the island from time to time – and sadly, always with great remorse and sometimes disgust for what it has become today. The complete lack of respect displayed by the young people of the islands for authority, and life in general is deplorable. You have children having children because of an entrenched welfare system that serves as a life-time security net for their irresponsible and tolerated behavior. They are lazy, rude, uneducated, and uncivilized. Islanders or locals of the current generation have a sense of entitlement that is unbecoming and experienced anywhere else in my travels. They work around with chip – sorry, a cinder block on their shoulders. They en-vie what others have, and are quick to use any excuse in the world as to why they don’t have and can not obtain what others have worked for. There is a police force that calls the family of the perpetrator to get confirmation of a “possible” arrest (or in most cases a “free-pass”) before they carry out their sworn oath to protect citizens and victims of crimes. The word incumbent is too mild to describe their complete inability to solve crimes or something as simple as handling and storing evidence of a crime scene. Time and time again it is proven in local courts, any attorney with a internet-purchased degree can get the worst-of-the worst of criminals off. You have a legislative branch that is more interested in the next “fish-fry” on Magens Bay for their re-election than passing laws that protect tax-paying citizens from being victims. You have an executive branch whose only acknowledgment to its existence is during re-election time when as a previous blogger stated – the grass is cut along the highways, and whose final act in office is to pardon criminals that go right back to their criminal ways.
    I read in an earlier posting, that the VI crime rate was comparable to that of Jamaica. Lets analyze this for a minute. Jamaica made headlines a few weeks back when the its noted drug-lord was extradited to the US to face criminal charges. The battle to remove him from this island nations left scores of his drug-gang members dead. The result – the island is now free of this loathsome criminal. Crime is down to zero – the first time in years. I spoke with a colleague recently that resides in Jamaica – he tells me that for the first time in a decade, he can now sleep with his windows and doors un-lock! Wow – what a change of events. The solution to clean up STT has been tried time and time again, and it has proven to work wherever it has been tried. The flow of guns into the territory must be controlled. Put a lock-down on the ports – all goods coming in and out of the territory must be inspected – no excuses. Inspectors would be from the mainland with no family ties to the island. Look for multiple shipments from regular importers of appliances, cars, furniture – any place where guns and ammo can be easily hidden. If guns and ammo are found – hold the recipients and exporters to the VI of these shipments to strict Federal laws governing gun trafficking – these are federal crimes enforceable by the ATF – all federal charges carrying mandatory jail terms. The local authorities have a damn good idea who is bringing the guns – go after these criminals with the full resources of the ATF! Bring in Postal Inspectors from the mainland – clean up the VI Postal system. Bring in DEA agents and equipment. Random road blocks for gun searches – PROFILE, PROFILE, PROFILE – its the VI – they can not possibly say its racism. Enforce the existing gun laws – no passes to anyone, you do not have the necessary document to own a gun – 5 years prison – no excuse. If a police officer is caught giving a pass for a crime – he is fired, and charged with aiding and accessory after the fact! Federal law enforcement on a rotational basis. No locals to serve as police commissioners! All grant monies to the island to have a rotational Federal auditor. Illegal aliens that come in like the ocean tide are responsible for a great deal of the crimes – clean house! No papers – out! Employers that hire these illegals should be fined severe penalties. Shut down the local whore houses – all the police officers know of their existence – hell, many of them are their best customers. There is one such place near Coki Point – you always know when its pay day – the darn place is so pack – hell it holds up traffic coming down Kasi-Hill. There are so many things that can be done. The VI govt. has no problem sticking their hand out for Federal govt. grants – well, protect your citizens that you depend on to pay back those grants – ask for Federal assistance! The crime problem in the VI is out of control, and the solution will not be found locally! Until the money machine that is tourism dries up – and businesses throughout the territory move away leaving nothing but a failed government system void of solutions to age old problems – nothing – I mean nothing will change with the “business as usual” philosophy of the VI. It is now time to bury that phrase – “American Paradise” – it is no longer worthy of such a title! I will continue to visit and recommend other Caribbean islands like Turks and Caicos, Grenada, Grand Cayman – these islands know the value of the tourist dollar, and protecting its citizens and visitor alike, but the VI will not be on that list anymore!

  97. July 14, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    daddy skrew Said,

    all these people that are commiting these crimes need to be put to death. the prison system in the virgin islands is like the hilton hotel..they need to make it bad for criminals, like no weight lifting, no way for them to further their education, no visitation no kind of physical exercise, they only eat bread and water and all the do is break big boulders to gravel. they have no fear for the prison system at all..when you break the law your rights need to be taking away. all those kids that get caught with guns need to either be sent to the marines for 10 yrs or lock the parents up in prison for 5 yrs. they like guns then go and defend america in the war. the goverment officials in the islands and i mean all the islands are so damn currupt, crooked, liars and thieves. its a disgrace to see the caribbean comming to this ignorance of violence and killing. i was born and raised in the virgin islands and will never go back to live. i am a business owner and was going to open a sports bar there and have changed my mind completely from that idea. its not worth the headache and heartache

  98. July 14, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

    Eric Steele Said,

    Sorry about posting the same thing I multiple places, this just came as a shock so close to our visit, particularly when all I have seen, including on this site, has been positive until now…

    Thanks for the response, our visit will be far more reserved, and plans to move are on hold. I got away from drugs and violence and live in a small town with almost no crime…a much better enviroment to raise a child…

  99. July 14, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    JB Said,

    Eric – save your time and money – if you want to raise children, find a place where liberals (aka Democrats) have not taken charge of the political system. Its amazing to me that after all those years living in STT as a youth, the political regime is exactly the same – different faces – but the same game plan, and the same play book. A Democrat governor with a Democrat control legislature year after year – all with the same disgraceful result. There is not one government entity that can be called anything but a complete and total failure. Look at other places in the Caribbean – the islands that are thriving, and whose future are bright all have the same thing in common – a strong illegal immigration policy, strict laws governing substance abuse, the existence of little to no government welfare programs, low taxes, pro-business, laws preserving nature, private rights, low property taxes, tight control of legal immigration, harsh punishment for crimes – one may think that such a place does not exist – guess again – I’ve just described the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – a short boat ride from St. John. In fact, I’ve just described every current and former British Crown Colony in the Caribbean. The islands of the Caribbean in general is a nice place to visit – but not suitable for raising children. Find yourself a nice quite town state side – your children will be the better for it!

  100. July 14, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    Marcy Said,

    @ Eric Steele. Peterborg is a very nice area & generally very safe. I live out there & walk/run on our road after work & have never experienced anything more than the occassional dog chasing me, as Jacqueline mentioned earlier. There of course have been a few things happen (bcuz it can happen anywhere), break-ins or robberies, in the past but it was very isolated & very few. As far as I know, that has been about it. Magens Bay Beach is abt 5-10 mins from the Villas u are staying in & is a very nice beach. I would also suggest Secret Harbor Beach near Red Hook (on the way to the Ritz, also a very nice beach).
    If I were you I would definitely stay away from Garden Street, Hospital Grounds, Smith Bay (Coki Beach), Nada or Bovoni area. These are the areas known to have high Gang/drug activity. The North side, East End (Sapphire, Secret Harbor, Red Hook), Havensight, & downtown Charlotte Amalie (during the day)are generally safe areas. Bars I would suggest that are usually safe would be The Saint Lounge, Big Bambooz & Caribbean Saloon in Red Hook, Fat Turtle & Hubbly Bubbly in Yacht Haven Grande/Havensight, The Green House on Waterfront in Charlotte Amalie, Stereo in Frenchtown & Jumbies.
    I hope you have a safe & enjoyable trip to the Virgin Islands.

  101. July 14, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    tiff Said,

    If things do not change the cruise lines may have second thoughts about St Thomas as a port stop. Look what happened to St. Croix. The corruption in the police department needs to be eliminated. Maybe you need an armed guard presence which was the case when I traveled to Singapore. With the national media attention cruise ship passengers are now informed as to what dangers they may encounter there. It is a hot topic on cruise critic right now.

  102. July 14, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Eric Steele Said,

    Yes, my recent email subscription from broaches the subject on the possibility of cruises taking stt off their ports of call. Stt is known for the best jewelry prices in the Caribbean, people may not be so sure they want that “killer” deal anymore.

    And thank you for all of that very useful info Marcy…

  103. July 14, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    RDF Said,

    The children of the US Virgin Islands are lost. Look at the schools, the garbage, uncut grass, teachers digging into their own pockets to buy supplies. More bars and video lottery terminal places, places where girls sell their bodies, and old men buy them. Drugs, guns, and domestic violence are the fare which most children grow up with.
    The economic picture is very bleak, and children coming out of high school, that’s if they graduate, not knowing basic skills in english and math. Menial jobs with no health care, no opportunity at advancement. Or worse yet, no jobs at all.
    It is a toxic mix and is killing these islands that used to be so tranquil where you could walk anywhere at any time day or night only thirty years ago.
    We really need the National Guard or federal police force to step in. I did not get a feeling that the VI Government can handle this when I heard the Governor’s speech. This has been going on for too long, the law enforcement must know who are involved in drugs and gun violence on this island. They just can’t seem to put these criminals away once and for all. That’s why Virgin Islanders should probably petition the US Government to step in and guarantee the safety of its citizens.

  104. July 14, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

    just wonderful Said,

    So I expect to be murdered when I come to St Thomas on a cruise ship??? Is that what everyone is telling me??? I am guaranteed to be murdered???? My children will automatically be killed by a St Thomas terrorist organization that the United States of American cannot control??? Just what are you all islanders talking about that the President of the United States who is responsible for this territory, is not aware of???

    Am I going to die because I visit your island?? Is it Carnival Cruise Lines Fault? Or perhaps it is the Oasis of the Seas fault? Or perhaps if the money stops rolling in, then the terrorists can claim control of the island from the USA…Well guess what….again, this is the USA and we will will crush you and always OVERCOME! We are NOT afraid. We are Americans in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, America and will always stand up for what we believe in….you insignificant terrorists are pipsqueeks and are nothing more than what I line the bottom of a birdcage with….ya’all need to just go swimming in the ocean….and enjoy the gifts that were given to you!

  105. July 14, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

    St thomas resident? Said,

    Very saddened to hear the news of the tragic event. I first came to the island in 1976 when the airport was an old aircraft hanger and there were few tourists and the airport runway was the old short one. Since then have visited 2 to 3 times a year. I have seen a big change in the community since , no K-Mart or Home Depot back then.. COULD GO TO any beach back then. After a few years learned to avoid the Block Buster Video area near the projects where we initially shopped for food at Pueblos near Wendys is today . Remember when Havensight still had the hotel where Yacht Haven is now. Never thought about crime back then. Now is a different story. We bought a home back in 1979 and Loved St Thomas. Now I have had friends that stayed with us relate a story of being repeatedly hit in the back of their auto to intimidate them to stop so they could be robbed. Had a resident killed at Toad and Tart as a murder robbery. Had an attorney friend inform me that while on the island they were robbed while they were sleeping one night staying in the area near secret harbor. When we made friends with the locals all we heard was of the escalating crime in the 90′s and why they were moving off island as they were tired of it. Magans beach was not safe and if you didn’t leave at least one person to guard your stuff the local kids would rob you. APPARENTLY THIS WAS THEIR SUMMER JOB> TO HIDE BACK IN THE BUSHES AND STEAL OFF THE BEACH WHILE YOU WENT TO THE WATER TO SWIM> now we dont go to Magans after 5 cause it is not safe. We don’t go out after dark to any restaurants, don’t go to Virgilios for dinner. Our last visit to Coki was intimidating although we loved to snorkel there in the past. Just too much Weed being smoked. St Thomas is still as beautiful as it ever was and was nice to see it get a cleaning of the garbage on the road side when President Clinton would visit. There is less and less of St Thomas to enjoy now but not because it isn’t any less attractive. The criminal element has changed the way we enjoy the island. I still look forward to Moko Jumbies at the dairy but that ‘s about it. Now no more Coki beach or coral world. I’m glad our children were able to enjoy the Old St Thomas. We will be selling the home soon and have stopped recommending this beautiful island to anyone. Too bad the powers that be didn’t also notice the same changes we did over the past 30 years. We only came down twice a year and could figure this out. Don’t believe that those in charge can really face the reality as they don’t want the word getting out as it would impact their tourist image, and would’t want to jeopardize and reduce the all mighty tourist dollar. Guess what? Killing off the tourists is another way to reduce revenue also. Wake up St Thomas !! and smell the Flamboyant tree.

  106. July 15, 2010 @ 7:33 am

    scott Said,

    Sadly the damage had been done! I have been hearing about corruption from locals over the years, epsecially ones who relocated there from the states to live the dream life on the island. They have all said you get burned out after a couple of years of not seeing any improvement. We thought things were changing when we saw roads getting new blacktop and all the new construction in Red Hook (love Molly Malones) as you drive around town and main roads over the island what do you see? All the older residents working hard driving taxis, keeping them clean with there flashy paint jobs and others who are selling produce or working in shops and at different hotels. The young men mostly are not working they are hanging out on the corners and in the makeshift bars. The others are trying to make a quick deal by trying to sell you drugs down by the Greenhouse as you walk up the stairs (that’s happened a few times and while holding my 1 year old daughter) We have started sticking to hotel restaurants rather than going out because unsafe feeling. Used to love Coki beach for snorkeling and would visit Coral World. Beach always felt like you were being watched and waiting for to make a wrong move. With two little ones now, we are both very nervous and do not take our eyes off of them for a second, so to have this happen
    there where we felt unsure before has really made us rethink our travel plans for next March. Went to Jamaica for our honeymoon in 07 and never will go back did not think STT could end up like there but it is slowly starting and pretty soon you will have fenced in resorts where most people do not leave resorts for safety open your eyes STT this your chance to turn this around before it’s to late.

  107. July 15, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    Dabney Said,

    Michele makes a very valid point regarding the local police. If the police can’t get out of their vehicles for a traffic citation. Doesn’t that make you wonder how the police can protect our community? Seems to me the police are way to busy doing everything but “Protecting and Serving” our community.

    Here’s what Michele said above, “PS: When you get pulled over here for making a wrong turn say- the police get on their PA system in their vehicle and make you get out and walk to them. REALLY? Get off your fat asses and do your job. The smallest thing, they can’t get right.”

  108. July 15, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    jean cockayne Said,

    @Big I read something yesterday and will try to find it again.

    I have been begging for federal assistance for 3 years and they just kept saying no can do unless the VI government ASKS them. How sick is that? Our own government refuses to help a mother who’s son was murdered on foreign soil. Yes that’s right the USVI may be a territory of the US but they have washed their hands of the islands.

    Don’t think the BVI is smiles and pats on the back either. You can get robbed and raped their too just read their papers.

  109. July 15, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

    Cruise ship passenger visiting St. Thomas killed during gang shootout - CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums Said,

    [...] is true, it was not a Carnival excursion. This website: St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise! shows the letter from Carnival to the passengers. However, I don't think that has anything to do [...]

  110. July 16, 2010 @ 7:25 am

    scott Said,

    Who cares if it was not a Carnival excursion? only Carnivals liability insurance carrier. But, do you think it really matters who’s trip it was. All of these excursions go to the same place using the same type vehicles, driving the same roads and none offer armed guards and a bullet proof vehicle. It could happen to anyone including the people who stay there for an extended amount of time and rent cars like I do. I have driven down the tight little road to Coki beach many times, with the locals trying to sell you parking spots and whatever else they can. I drive right to Coral World, spend a few hours there and than walk over to the beach. I rent chairs, bring my own snorkel equipment, buy a couple of drinks and some food. I walk back to my car, being hounded by 10 taxi drivers every step (you need a taxi man) and drive back to our timeshare. Every now and then I explore other side roads other than the main routes, but no more. Have thought about possibly owning a home there but, it’s not worth the aggravation and thought of someone just waiting to break in once you leave or simply come in during the night and hold your family hostage and rob you or do whatever. It looks like going to a full service resort and not leaving the grounds is coming soon. Downtown shopping will remain intact as long as the police are stationed there full time! As I said before, does it make sense that the tourist who rent cars and come downtown to spend thousands of dollars have to park by the police station parking lot or the far end by the baseball fields when the few spots are taken by the shop owners and workers. The small parking lot by tent city where all the merchandise is sold is all taxi parking with the exception of a few spots. Tell me, do you need 30 spots for taxis and the other lane to be taken by the vendors vans? This should be parking for customers and a few taxis, these are the people you are depending upon to make a living, I do not get it. The attitude by most is buy something from me and when you don’t want to buy anything else, you automatically get the negative attitude. The older, friendly personality is quickly going away being replaced by hustlers. Sadly, the store owners who are mostly from India are more friendly than the locals and they remember you when you come back the next year and the few locals who work for them are decent as well. I hope all these comments from people don’t go away and get swept under the rug.

  111. July 16, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Karen Said,

    Until each and every Virgin Islander, “born here” or transplant, rich or poor, black or white realizes that your finger was as much on the trigger of the gun that killed that young girl as was the gunmans’ finger, there will be no change. Each time you witness a crime and turn your back, you pull the trigger on a future crime. Each time you worry for your personal saftey over helping someone who is in distress, you pull the trigger. Each time you hear someone on the street say “Whitey go home” to a tourist and keep walking, you pull the trigger. If the cruise ships stop comming to STT, it’s the fault of each and every single citizen on that island not just the criminals. You have the power to make change. But, as the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

  112. July 16, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    JB Said,

    I remember going to Coki Beach as a youngster – back in the 70′s. It was very quite beach back then. I remember going fishing with my father and Mr. King whose family owned the property. He was a strong, respectful man. The beach was used primarily by scuba divers going through certification, local fisherman whose boats were anchored nearby, and a few tourist that new the place and wanted to venture to the east end of the island. Today – it is a far cry from that distant memory. It has become a hang-out or sanctuary for hoodlums, bums, vagrants, vagabonds, career criminals just out of jail or awaiting sentencing, drug dealers and drug users. These low-lives spend their entire day doing nothing more than smoking their kanja, selling drugs, and planning their next criminal activity. I know of no hour during the day in which the smell of “kanja” burning is not so intoxicating that it would nauseate a passer-by. Fights over drugs, drug money are random on this once pristine beach. Shame on the King family for allowing this beach to become a haven for the kind of loathsome characters that canvas the landscape. Shame on the VI government for not protecting the natural beauty of the beach. Shame on all past and future governors who did not and will not take steps to protect this majestic property. Shame on the police commissioner who just this week after a innocent little girl was caught in the cross-fire of a gang on gang shooting, was shocked to learned that the police officers who he ordered to patrol the Coki beach were observed by a local reporter sitting on their back-sides in the a/c of their patrol cars while on the tax payers dime. Rather than arresting the local scum for drug peddling, and drug procession, and running warrant checks, they would rather sit back in island fashion, text and chit-chat on the phone, while back at police head quarters, the commissioner does his best interpretation of the Chief Inspector in the movie classic – Casablanca – I’m shocked, I’m very shock that this kind of illicit activity is going on in Coki Beach, and my officers are just sitting back and doing nothing – I’m shocked I tell you! If it was not so very pathetic, it would be a good movie scripted of Miami during the ’80′s cocaine wars. The US Virgin Islands – the American Drug Frontier of the Caribbean.

  113. July 16, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

    Roberto Cofresi Said,

    What is particularly sad is that this was the “quinceañera” for latinos that is equivalent to the sweet 16 or coming out party. Its a big thing and cruise ships out of San Juan usually have one or two such parties on board.

    I never go to the downtown after 9PM, St. Croix is even worse. Even St. John with its laid back attitude, one has to be careful. Just make believe you are in Miami, and do what you would do there.

    Everyone knows crime is bad down in the islands, however now its in broad daylight.

  114. July 16, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

    Lipton Said,

    I just canceled my travel plans to St. Thomas in light of hearing the news of the most recent killings at Coki Beach and the excessive violence. What is going on, my god you have to be kidding me that this kind of activity is allowed to take place. I am sad to say the economy is drive by the tourism, we let this conduct continue and the USVI will not have an economy. What the hell are the police doing, are the laws that restrictive in USVI or is just the police ill trained to deal with such problems. Come to Texas and kill someone & see what happens to you for your actions.

  115. July 17, 2010 @ 1:08 am

    jimnelor Said,

    As a former police officer, and a former deputy district attorney, I learned that the best deterrent to crime is to increase the perception by those who are tempted to commit a crime that they will be caught. Increasing the penalties as a solution misses the fact that at the moment most criminal commit their crimes they believe they will get away with it. To increase the perception that criminal will be caught, requires more police, more video cameras, police that are honest and motivated, plus citizens that will report criminals. Offering significant rewards for information on illegal gun ownership or crime reporting has worked well in many parts of the world. (The reporter must be able to collect a reward without being identified). If you cannot outlaw guns, have a substantial penalty for not having a license to own a gun and make the reward for reporting unlawful gun possession high enough to overcome the loyalty of the perps associates.

    The other area to spend money is on the children. “As the twig is bent” is really true. If kids don’t have a sense of honesty and responsibility to others by age 18, it is often too late.

    Is it too late for the USVI?

  116. July 17, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Please take a moment and click here: There you can actually do so real good my nominating someone who does make a difference. Southland Gaming will be awarding these difference makers with a $1000 check every 2 weeks. Click this link for details:

  117. July 18, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    Commenting On The Blog Said,

    [...] get a boat load of comments on articles that are negative. Just look at the comments on my article St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise! We  have 116 comments, and anyone writing a blog knows just getting ANY comments can be hard. And [...]

  118. July 19, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    Carnival Passenger Said,

    My family just got back from our Carnival Victory cruise and were at Coki Beach the day of the shootings. I wss in the water, my son and husband on the beach, when it happened — and the shooting went on for what seemed like several minutes. People on the beach were in a state of disbelief – we thought it must have been firecrackers because there were so many “pops.” Then my husband walked up to the road and saw the body of the young man lying there and police all around. Other Carnival passengers around Coral World heard someone else had been shot but it wasn’t until we got back to the ship (by walking around the police blockade to a taxi) that we found out a fellow passenger had died. My heart goes out to that family. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like losing a daughter on what was supposed to be a happy family vacation. I was glad to see Carnival’s letter to passengers that afternoon acknowledging what had happened, but it left a bad taste in my mouth in pointing out the young girl died on a non-cruise ship excursion. A Carnival excursion went to the same place and could have also been caught in the crossfire. The cruise industry needs to take better care of its customers by giving them more information about the ports. Right now, you only find out where to shop for diamonds — there is no heads up about seedy or violent areas. People getting off the boats think they’ve arrived in paradise and the local taxis are taking people to popular and safe areas. Not true in St. Thomas, as this case demonstrates. Coki Beach gave me the creeps from the moment we stepped out of the taxi (about 20 minutes before the shooting). We may have rethought staying but that we’d already paid $45 for the ride from the port. Two policemen were on the beach when we arrived, which suggested there was concern about the area. But their presence didn’t seem to make any difference, since the shooting happened anyway. St Thomas is a beautiful island, but there are other beautiful places that are much safer, and our next vacation will be in one of those places.

  119. July 19, 2010 @ 8:20 am

    Carnival Passenger Said,

    I also want to add that the death of the young man that day and the loss of other young people through violence is a major tragedy for the island. Drugs and gangs made Washington, DC, near where I live, a murder capital in the 1980s, and it’s taken decades to turn that around. St. Thomas needs to address the problem now before it gets any worse.

  120. July 20, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    Beverly Said,

    Our family has been going to St Thomas/St John for the past 15 years. 2 years ago, we had to call the ST. Thomas Police for an incident. To say that they were less then helpful would be an understatement.
    There are 15 of us that traveled together each year and we decided then that we wouldn’t go back to the Virgin Islands anymore.
    The island use to be so beautiful, with only a few places that were “trashy’. Now it seems everywhere you look it has garbage along the sides of the roads.
    So hopefully, they can get their acts together and clean up the criminal element and mess…but I doubt it.
    It’s so sad.

  121. July 25, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    Princess Passenger Said,

    Let me first start off by saying like most of us I’ve been travelling to the USVI now for right at 15 years, Im headed back this Nov. and Im still looking forward to it, but in the last 5 or so years that island has really gone downhill thats why I head over to St. John for the day, I can leave the ship early catch the first cab to Redhook hop on the ferry to Cruz Bay and Im on Trunk for the day.
    The STT police force if thats what you choose to call it, is not only COMPLETELY tongue in cheek but terribly corrupt it has been for years that will never change. STT is the only port I ever go to that there are ALWAYS sirens and cop cars flying all over the island the ENTIRE time Im there, those cops are a JOKE and should never been seen as law enforcement officials, because they are not.
    I dont think any of the major lines will pull STT from their itinerary’s but I can tell you this they’ll be ALOT more passengers never leaving the ship in STT and thats bad enough. This happened to St. Criox about 10 years ago and just until recently was it added to some sailing itinerary’s and I loved that island. Really hope they get it together down there for everybody’s sake.

  122. July 26, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

    Born Deh Said,

    Many years ago as a teen I wrote a letter to the VI Daily News talking about the crime against visitors to our islands. It is nothing new and has always been downplayed until it gets international coverage. Crime in general is out of control in the VI and I hold the gov’t at fault. Do something now or let someone else who is not afraid of what people will think of them do the job.

  123. July 27, 2010 @ 5:55 am

    The Government And Police Take The First Step Said,

    [...] of you who read my post “St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise! might remember I harshly called out the Governor, government and police and held them responsible [...]

  124. July 27, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    Tony Said,

    I have been looking into moving to islands for months now and up until now have been planning on arriving by the end of next month.
    I truly do not know how to react to the information I have read here, in the comments and in the reactions by so many different people. I had not heard anything about a horrible crime rate or an escalation in violence until now, and it makes me very uneasy to think i am moving there!
    I had planned to move to STT also, but am just baffled that things are so rundown and somewhat dangerous.

    Is there any areas which are better than others? or should I really be rethinking my plans??

  125. July 28, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    Ken Said,

    Thanks for the info in this blog. My partner is interviewing for a good job on STT, I don’t think it will be good enough to deal with, what sounds like, a horrible place to live. Dirty and dangerous? I can do dirty and dangerous on the mainland and not deal with any ‘whitey go back’ attitude. Sad though, and a big buzz-kill.

  126. August 8, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    Samantha Said,

    Well, I am a fourteen year old girl and I was on that ship. On the first night of sailing, I actually met Liz on in the “teen club” and she was so sweet. And I was also at Coki Beach at the time of the shooting. I can tell you, the police were the whole reason this whole thing is an issue. They knew that there was going to be some type of “disturbance” that day at Coki Beach, yet they took no precautions to possibly prevent it. Then, when the shooting actually happened, they ran AWAY from the shots. Liz did not deserve to die, and if my family had arrived 30 mins later to Coki Beach, it would have been me. There is no reason for that.

  127. October 31, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    Debby Duke Said,

    Folks, I will cut to the chase. I lived on St. Thomas for three years. It was a miserable experience. I filed a lawsuit against a landlord because I was injured on his premises. It took three years of run around before I finally took matters into my own hands with their ‘legal system’. Now I am seeing results, but a rip-off settlement offer was made that does not even begin to cover my injuries.
    The lawyers are crooked and easy dupes for a pay-off. The locals are hateful. They don’t seem to realize that they are a part of the U.S. They hate U.S. blacks also.

    I for one advocate SELLING the islands back to Denmark, although Denmark probably wouldn’t want them for free. The U.S. needs to wash its hands of this dismal place.

    As far as more money for social programs, baloney. The Turnbull administration, and probably the current one that is following in their footsteps, stole half a billion dollars from U.S. taxpayers over a number of years. The perps disappeared to other islands. A few were caught but the money was gone.

    A judge’s clerk was murdered because he kindly picked up two hitchhikers. The clerk had just passed the bar to become a lawyer.

    Throwing more money at these people is not going to help. They use drugs, practice the dark arts, and are in general fit citizens for hell. Some of the Caucasian ‘locals’ are just as bad; rum dummy druggies who are so out of it they don’t see anything.

    You have mentally ill weirdos trolling the Main Street area. Yes, the island is ‘pretty’, but the Caribbean side is ugly and scrubby, while the Atlantic side is more lush. Rents are sky high. There are no jobs. The locals harass mainlanders in the workplace, with no consequences from the stupid supervisors who are probably scared. Intimidation and corruption is rampant.

    I am hoping that what happened to Haiti will happen to St. Thomas and shut it down for ever. Before that, I pray the few decent folk will catch the scent and escape.

    You couldn’t GIVE me a trip to that place!

  128. November 2, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    Linda Hartmann Said,

    The killings are nothing new but seem to be on the rise. Before I left a tourist was stabbed near the Wendy’s by Havensight cruise ship dock. There are a few decent souls on the island but few and far between. The roads are steep, hairpin turn nightmares. I have seen some supernatural phenomenon there that was distrubing. I called my roommate outside and she saw what I saw. In the pitch black night, way out in the Caribbean roughly near desolate Devil’s Island, we witnessed the surface of the water glowing bright orange. And it was a BIG area because we were on a promontory looking out over the black night waters. Devil’s Island was at least ten or more mile out, and this bright underwater light was to the left of the little ugly island and it was huge in area. we decided it was an underwater base. Devil’s Island is the tip of a very large mountain that is under water, like all the islands are. They are basically the outcroppings of underwater mountain ranges. Devil’s Island is infamous as a place where slave traders would abandon people to die, tied to a stake in the broiling sun. The evil spirits in that region still control the place. Ugh.

  129. November 11, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

    supadave kerwaineterrace Said,

    jah bless all fallin soldiers survival on the rock!!!! life on my island aint 4 everybody especially if ya dumn motherscu@#,dont know about the last days…..west massive big up yo chest ah we run tings tings dont run we let them know west massive always in control

  130. January 6, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    Brianna Said,

    I am late in posting this but I too was on the Carnival Victory when this shooting happened. We went to Tortola but we easily could have gone to Coki beach. Carnival, and the officials in St. Thomas, put every passenger on the Victory in danger. Period. It could have been any one of the 2,800 of us. Such a shame. I would have never thought St. Thomas was like this.

  131. January 23, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    Cynthia Said,

    I’m a bit late to this conversation but would like to add my two cents. I am the wife of the highest ranking military officer in the V.I. We have been harassed by the local constabulary no less than 3 times in the 7 months that we have been stationed here. Yes, we’re white. As a completely color blind individual it never occurred to me that racism in the police force would exist. I hike these roads on the northside daily (20+ miles per week) and I can’t believe what the police turn a blind eye to if you are a person of color. Maybe it’s not racism, but a “who you know” mentality? As a person who moves a LOT, I can’t say to excuse this place because “every place has its problems”. I’ve never lived where there were so many incompetent, corrupt, impotent police. Ever. My two years here cannot go fast enough. To tourists who want to unload their hard earned dollars, know that your money funds this corruption and shame on you for not going elsewhere.

  132. January 28, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    marilyn george Said,

    I was bornon this Island and it will always be paradise to me. You people have RAPED this Island for years. If you feel your lfe or your buisness is in danger pack up and go back to the mainland. This way the locals will have a chance to invest in St. Thomas.

  133. January 28, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    Marilyn, when you say “You people have RAPED this island” who do you mean exactly?

  134. February 12, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    State Of The Territory Address | Vote Green Virgin Islands Said,

    [...] expect to remain competitive if the reputation of the Virgin Islands is tarnished with locals and tourists getting killed all the while breaking murder [...]

  135. February 25, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    Monica Said,

    First yall can’t be talking about st.thomas so badley people from the states & all over the world come to the islands & make it bad also im not saying that island people is not part of the crime cause they are but what can we do if the police officers are not doing there job, im 18 years old & been living st.thomas all my life it’s not easiest place to live but when you really look at it NO PLACE in the world is assure that it will not have crime all OVER THE WORLD have crime.

  136. March 23, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    ERICA Said,

    Monica i agree with you

  137. June 3, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    TOM Said,

    This resulted in a major lawsuit in Federal court. Someone will have to pay and it might just be us. Read it live
    God help us all in the USVI!!

  138. June 4, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    Parents Of Slain Cruise Ship 14 Year Old Sue Said,

    [...] wrote an article in response to this horrible murder last July entitled “St. Thomas – No Longer America’s Paradise“, you can read it here: [...]

  139. February 25, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

    Elle @elletheheiress Said,

    I’m just wondering if the situation has gotten any better now that this has been brought to the attention of the media? My husband and I had briefly considered relocating to St. Thomas, but we don’t want to move anywhere unsafe with three young children.

  140. April 1, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    YS Said,

    I was in STT the week of November 6, 2010, and took a taxi from the airport to the hotel alone. While in route, the young male black taxi driver (in his 20′s) said to me, “how about if I just kidnap you?” I pretended I didn’t hear that. He repeated his statement. I again pretended I didn’t hear that and showed no fear, so he changed the subject.

  141. April 1, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    YS Said,

    A person who had been living in St. Thomas for several years told me lots of folks there are, in fact, CRAZY, due to lead in their water. He recommended avoiding confrontation.

  142. April 2, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    BIG Kahuna Said,

    We catch our water in cisterns, not sure where the lead could come from? But no people are not crazy.

  143. August 28, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    Tattoo Joe Said,

    Thinking of retiring to Saint Thomas. I fly remote model airplanes three or four mornings a week. Is there a place to fly or even a club. Couldn’t find anything online. Thanks. Joe.

  144. October 6, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    Rev Tom XZander Said,

    I live in Florida. I have been to St Thomas once earlier this year.(I fell in love with her.) I did not no of this then. I did notice the plain clothes police presents at Megan Beach.

    The answer is not throwing money and laws at it. This will not solve the crime issue.

    First step in a gang crime task force. They will identify the gangs and the major players in these gangs. They will monitor all movement in these gangs. When a gang member is apprehended during gang activity, the player goes past the three strike rule. Gang activity is a minimum mandatory 25 years in prison. If the is a lose of life all the players at involved in that scene get life sentences. No parole.

    Our state can’t seem to get a grip on the this issue either, but if they would listen, it would be a start.

    Concealed weapon permits for those with no criminal record and not suspected of gang activity would help. This would leave criminals guessing who is going to fight back and knowing. Where if they know that law abiding citizens and tourists are unarmed, and depending on an over worked police force they are looking like sitting ducks or Easy pickings.

    I am finding this out now because we were looking into moving to St. Thomas, but if I can not carry my firearm I will not go.

    Good Luck.

    Hugs & Blessings,
    Rev. Tom

  145. December 4, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    Dex Said,

    I’m currently in the process of taking my airport assesment out in St. Thomas. Should I follow through with it? I kind of don’t want to die on an island for no reason

  146. December 4, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

    Island Girl Said,

    Chill Dex, you’ll be okay. Treat this island like you would any city…stay in safe, lighted areas. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t flash cash…or jewelry. Don’t be stupid. You’ll be fine.

  147. February 26, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

    SeeKingJusticeStill Said,

    My nephew (19) was shot down in Old TuTu in 2005 on the basketball court because he was speaking to a girl that another boy was friends with. Shot in the face..riddled with bullets. His name was Khalid Antonio Sonny. This happen in 2005 on Feb 24th.. his birthday. (Weeping) There’s still no justice for him! His mother (my sister) died a year within her son’s passing..died from a heart attack and stress. Died grieving for her son and his killer to be brought to justice.

    There was a suspect in his shooting..”but he slipped” out of the grasps of the VIPD and was allowed to leave the island and flee to California (was the latest word on the street). I have callled and called and no answer was given me TO DATE about this alleged fugitive and any thin being done to secure his capture. I’m still grieving…can’t stop I need closure. Justice for my sister. This place is nothing like it use to be when I left there over 20 years ago, absolutely NOTHING. Unfortunately….I would never return.

  148. July 21, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

    Lisa Said,

    My husband and I lives on St. Thomas for 4 years , 2002-2007. He worked at a large hotel Chain,, and it was one of the most stressful times of his 24 year career. One of the first things he had to tackle was the theft of items from the hotel…the security guys were all related in some way to the you can guess what happened. The police and taxi drivers..,the golden jobs were naturally only people born On the island. Again…related many times to the perpetrators. Parking…a nightmare. The cost of gas,electric, rent…a nightmare. Young people would come down. To bartender or waitress…and the easy drugs killed more than a few. Trash on the side of the road..disgusting unless you were on a resort. The cruise ship passengers…off the boat and the drinking the wives shopped for jewelry …God knows what they were like on the ship at 8 at night after being trashed at 11:30 in the morning. Women I noticed were either dressed as hookers or church ladies..nothing in between, really. Guys came down to,do construction jobs..and if they weren’t willing to date outside their ethninticity…I have to say, it was my first time meeting Russian Mailorder brides. Crazy. I think if you escaped with your life, and any money left you were a frigging genius or extremely lucky. Just to get off the island you had to fly thru San Juan for at least 200 each…they knew you had no other choice, I pitied the people with children…private school was the only real option at like 18 thou a year. For 2nd grade, I had the great luck of having Dengue Fever…almost died. Then we came back to the states just in time to buy a house in Tampa in 2007….6 months before the bottom dropped out and our house lost half its value. I guess I should just be grateful I’m still alive,,,i remember when my husband got his car and he was finally able to leave the hotel…and a local lady blew through a stop sign and hit him and he thought: at least it’s her fault. A policeman happened by, and as he got out of the car, he said: Hi Gladys, how are you? So my friends…do you think Gladys got got a ticket? Think my friends…..

  149. July 21, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

    Lisa Said,

    Oh huh…did I forget to mention the dogfighting and cockfighting? Always pleasant….

  150. November 11, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    PLEASE BOYCOTT!!!!!!!!! Said,


  151. November 11, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    PLEASE BOYCOTT!!!!!!!!! Said,


  152. May 1, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

    Chicago Said,

    Understanding that all victims need prayers and violence against anyone is wrong, many of the comments in this blog are simply racist. There is no where without crime. The police here are much more professional than many i
    of the good ol boys in the states. If you don’t feel comfortable around people of color, you should rethink the Caribbean You don’t go into someone’s home looking down on the hosts. I have found everyone West Indian or not very hospitable in the 30 years I have been here.

  153. July 14, 2014 @ 12:23 am

    Judith Said,

    Today July 13th 35 years ago, bill dowd was murdered in st. Croix. Bill was an amazing young man. Kind giving, loved by his family and friends. there was no investigation into his death. Police did not ask questions , police did not bring in persons of interest. Police did not look for a motive. In Jan. 2014, James malfetti was murdered in st. John. The v.i police are accused of poor investigation in the handling of this case. The virgin islands will never be safe, the v.i. Police do not have the ability to solve murder cases . Justice for bill dowd and James malfetti.

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