Before changing your mind, I'd encourage you to have a look at some of the other forums that discuss the USVI. You'll get a different picture (even on this forum, if you read the trip reports, you'll get a different picture).
You'll see that this thread has had 200-some posts and many of them are by the same people. Dropping in on this is like eavesdropping on a very small group of people in a diner or a bar and believing that they represent the general attitudes and experiences of the community. Given that the number of people living in or visiting th VI runs into millions, the picture you get from this small group of posters shouldn't be asumed to be representative. My guess is that if you boaden your horizons beyond this thread, a very different picture will emerge.
Tourism is booming in the VI. As i mentioned before, the dire, scarey and corrupt place being described here doesn't at all correspond wwith tourists' experience of these islands---or, it would appear, with the experience of most longterm residents.
Hey - don't single me out!
I have been equally as passionate about the positive attributes of the VI. 9 times out of 10, my posts were positive, helpful to visitors, encouraging and fiercely loyal - and for how many years have I been on here doing this? Long before there was a VINOW and some of us were over on AOL , and on Prodigy before that!
However, people of passion are people of passion....and when something smells rotten, I become passionate about that, as well.
I still stand by what I've said. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am not alone in my position on this issue. I have ALREADY written a post with a conclusion that visitors are most likely to be safe and have a wonderful vacation. I have also come to a new conclusion that many of the island residents who frequent this forum are fine with things as they are today. I am not judging anyone who feels that way.
Then there's all the melodrama being tossed around for effect. STTRes said something like we (or I?) called the islanders idiots. I don't need to read back to know I didn't say that - not even close. I didn't say anything like that at all. I never said one negative thing about the island people - except that there's a "don't tell" culture. I said this because the police and the judges being interviewed over the years have always claimed this - and they said this is a big part of what hampers their ability to move justice forward. Did anyone read those many interviews over the YEARS - or am I living in the twilight zone?
Anyway, don't blow what I've said out of proportion. Don't connect me to what everyone else has posted. I am only responsible for and owning of what I wrote.
Sorry I've slacked off from my job of being the official head cheerleader for the VI.
And if some of my island friends want to be "mad" at me because I question their and OUR government and police, mention the issues with the rumpunchrunners and their yelling for tips, etc.....then I guess people really can't agree to disagree 'round here. Very disappointing, indeed. The "we" vs. "them" was very apparent in this thread - and I don't think it was from the continentals as much as from some of the defenders of the system in place in the territory. I can't say that I've seen that so much in the continental US. It is common and expected that we'll demand better from the government - speak out - protest - independently evaluate - etc. And we don't just do it for our own little towns...we do it for ALL of the states/cities/towns....because it is ONE democracy. Yes, there are lots of different segments coming out of the one democracy, but it all rolls up to a single source.
It is our democracy and we expect it to function in a certain fashion - and when we see the system failing, we take action to bring it back on track. Sorry if we extended this view to the VI. Perhaps there really is a feeling of isolation there - and being disconnected from "the real world" as STTRes calls it. I am only now coming to understand how powerful this disconnect might be. But, I don't think that many of us on the mainland see it that way. It is not us vs. you...to me. I am not being sarcastic about this - I am serious.
I look at it all as being under one big umbrella- and the USVI Territory as being just another place under the US flag with problems - and so we jump up and down and make a bunch of noise about it because, after all, thats what Americans do! That's our unique right - and we like to exercise it. We take it for granted that such displays of outrage at a gaping hole in the system are appreciated, if not expected. Perhaps that was my mistake - to assume that the way we address things here would translate to the VI.
Remember - "He who stands for nothing will fall for anything"
It's one Republic!
I think I can relate to how you feel. I wrote this letter to the editor in 1981 after a few years of horrific crimes with no arrests. Close personal friends of mine were seriously hurt. Maybe that's what it takes to get people's attention. Due to my job, I have been back to the V.I. many times since I wrote that letter but the feeling has never left me. I have only to read the VI Daily News online to remind me of all the injustice that goes on there. For anyone contemplating a vacation there I would suggest they read the local newspaper (online)...it's pretty scary.
'My Bags are Packed' (1981)
I can still remember the way I felt when I first saw these beautiful islands upon my arrival here four years ago; I was awed by their natural beauty.
Well, as I pack my bags to leave this "paradise" never to return, I find myself quite bitter concerning the circumstances surrounding my departure; I believe that I am being driven out.
St. Thomas should be a wonderful place to live.... but it's not. I can't help thinking that our license plates contain a mis-print; they should read, "American Paradox". Where else could be so beautiful and yet so forbidding?
I have sat wide-eyed as various people have related tales of robbery, rape, and murder with a calmness and acceptance that certainly must be unique to the people of this area. And invariably, as these conversations lead to talk of of counter-violence, it is interesting to find that these same calm people are actually carrying guns, knives, and mace! I am sure that the average tourist would be shocked to discover that in many bars here in "paradise", there are more guns than pina coladas!
Naturally, many people are leaving; and just as naturally, fewer tourists are coming. Who can be blamed for not wanting to live in a place where to come home and find that your T.V. and stereo are still there is actually a surprise?
Also, what tourist would want to visit a place with such a reputation for murder, rape and robbery? Eventually, as someone said in a previous letter to the editor, "soon these people will have no one to hate but themselves."
Well, as I said, my bags are packed and I'm on my way. Will the last "American" to leave these "Virgin" Islands please take down the flag?
Printed in St. Thomas Daily News November 1981
well said Blu, a very powerful post in my opinion. You are very passionate while being objective - something alot of people can't do.
BTW - while considering a trip to St Martin, I checked out a message board from there. By reading the posts on that forum, I got the feeling that to go to STMartin you had to be subjected to nudity everywhere (insert bug-eyed shocked look) I was afraid we'd go into a restaurant and look around to see people dining nekked! so after commenting on that myself, I was quickly assured that it was not the case. There are places you'll find that, but there are places you won't (evidently) That forum is apparantly like dropping in a private conversation (like already mentioned) Anyhow, I've decided that I won't let my fear (for lack of a better word - I'm just an old-fashion gal) of seeing nudity prevent me from seeing a beautiful island. Obviously nudity cannot be compared to crime - but my point about the discussion on message boards is relevant. Maybe the people who just pack up and go on a vacation without doing all this "research" (checking out message boards) is really the way to go. Ignorance IS bliss afterall.
Perhaps if I'd read a thread like this before traveling to STT, it would've scared me away - but I'm glad I didn't. Hundreds of thousands of people (perhaps millions??) visit the VI's every year and have the best vacations of their lives.
I believe the USVI has just under two million people visit every year.
"Thousands live on the islands and have no problem and are open about the lack of safety at certain places and times and are very aware of the problems. Some are working for change."
I work from home and can live anywhere in the world with a high-speed Internet connection. I choose to live in the USVI and am rearing a teenager here. I have not been a victim of violent crime here and I use common sense to reduce the likelihood that I will ever become a victim of violent crime here. For example, I don't visit bars after dark. The local incidences of violent crime that have garnered the most media attention over the past few years are the murder of the young men from NY who were here for a wedding in 2005 and the murder of Jamie C. this year and in both cases, the crimes occurred after dark and the victims and attackers had been drinking in a bar. Not much good happens in bars anywhere in the world in the middle of the night.
Violent crime is unacceptable and violent criminals should be removed from civil society but no matter how well policed, there will always be violent criminals among us. Fortunately there are simple steps everyone can take to virtually eliminate the chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. It is always possible that one will be shot from an overpass or carjacked but if one is never inebriated in a bar, one will never be attacked as the result of a barroom dispute.
Unfortunately, the problems of police incompetence and corruption are much more difficult to resolve.
No disrespective...but dude get a life.
Poll seems designed to keep Jamie's name out there and case interest alive....unusual, but not criminal
Anything new going on? When do they go back to court? Has Boston fled the territory yet?
We have continually shared all our information with your government. We have spent tens of thousands of dollars in order to acquire information regarding the murder of our son/brother. Your government has refused us even a minimum of decorum.
We have begun to receive emails and phone calls from many other victims of the V.I. Police/Justice Department. These victims are only waiting for someone to stand up for them and it appears I am going to be that person. You may ask why and I can tell you. We all deserve the minimum of protection from our police department and I can tell you I already have heard from several victims and they are all ready to hop on board for an exposure so wide spread it will be larger than Fountain Valley.
We all know how Fountain Valley affected St. Croix, just wait and see what happens when belongers and tourists stand up together.
Until now your government has counted on victims (tourists) leaving and wanting to forget and not showing up for court. Well, you can forget about that happening again. You have counted on victims being intimidated and belongers being afraid to come forward. You can forget about intimidating witnesses. We are making sure all witnesses will be protected by the FBI. Once we give the FBI our witnesses and victim names they are then responsible for their protection.
They may not like that job, never the less, once we have passed on a name, the FBI is then responsible for their safety.
So, you can continue to pretend you are actually investigating Jamie’s murder and the murder of a 28-year-old on St. Croix whose murderers are well-known but are still free and the muggings and rapes. We have more information. Did you actually think we would share all we have with you or anyone else? You cannot hide from us or the rest of the population of the Virgin Islands.
Charlotte Poole-Davis? Who is she and why does she have the position she holds? I have requested her credentials and for some reason that was considered a slight, why would that be? As we hear from victims her name appears in a not very flattering way. I may go so far as to say, people like her perpetuate the impression of nepotism, bigotry and in-breeding for which the V.I. is so famous. Oh gee I said the unforgivable, I speak the truth. Shame on me.
Possibly you and Kenny Chesney are the few people that have yet to realize the pervasive corruption in the USVI mainly because everyone there is either connected by family or money. Oh gee I speak the words no one else is brave enough to speak.
I have listened to mothers cry, workers simply going home from work and being attacked, tourists beaten with no police investigation. I can tell you all we have explosive testimony regarding the VIPD. Who needs Serpico when the people rise up for themselves?
Mr. Frazer, it is no longer a time for “greetings,” it is a time for action. Two simple questions — where is my son’s baseball cap and why haven’t you picked up the car?
As you can see this letter is addressed to you, however it will reach hundreds if not thousands of people. Where is Jamie’s cap? Why haven’t you picked up the car? I can’t do your job for you or I would, gladly. All of us residents and visitors alike deserve justice, whether it is for a break-in (very common). Viva Vacations was named as Selmo Boston’s employer. I wrote to them to verify his employment. I can guess the court and VIPD never bothered. Viva never responded to my inquiry. Possibly perjury can be added to the list of crimes of which Selmo has been accused? Did anyone check on his place of employment? I doubt it.
Am I angry? You bet.
Haven't participated much on this thread and haven't even seen alot of whats been written. I decided to take a peek today and see what is going on, even tho my father and other half sit over in the Villa waiting for me to come over and see them. Only read the last two pages.
I would like to see some real solutions, not just talk.
Lets list the things that WE need to do in order to see some justice AND some change here in the USVI.
What can I do to make a difference, besides write to my Congressman and Senators?
As most of you know, I live here and have for 24yrs. What is happening here is crazy and yes, our police force IS inept! I won't argue that fact! But, I also have to be honest and say that I haven't done my part to MAKE a difference, I can't say that I ACCEPT it, but I haven't done my part either! Shame on me.........
I suppose my question has already been answered in earlier pages, but there is alot to read and I honestly don't have the time to go back to read more.
I want all to know I totally support the Cockayne family!
Please forgive me if I have upset anyone.
Sherri, never be worried about upsetting somebody on this topic. You have the right to your opinion.
I too would like to know what I can do to help. I often think of Jean and the frustration she must be met with when dealing with her sons death.
It's just rediculous if that car hasn't been confiscated yet. Probably too late anyway, but I really don't think here in the states, something like that would happen.
If anybody has any ideas, or Jean comes back to this forum and sees these posts, maybe she can tell us what we can do.
Good Morning Ms. Davis
and Mr. Frazer,
I have been researching news archives and wonder if there was ever any resolution to the murder of Alvin Dubois, other than the murderer who ended up in the hospital — Roebuck, I think, is his name. Can this be true? Broad daylight, four killers and the only one apprehended was a crippled perpetrator? Kinda embarrassing to think if this creep hadn’t been shot by his victim he too would have gotten away.
How can you people sleep at night? I cannot tell you how news of this type crushes my chest, and sometimes I become so upset I can’t breath. To read the articles is painful. This same punk was jailed for how long for robbing a judge and his wife and never spent any time in jail for murder? So what if he is a cripple? He is a cripple because he murdered a fine young man, an asset to your community. How do you repay this wonderful son and brother? You let his killers stay free on the streets. Again, I ask how can you sleep at night?
When I think of this young man’s wonderful mother I want to embrace her and comfort her. I think it has been two years since this senseless murder and no one is in jail. Do I have that right?
I know and you know and everyone knows who killed that upstanding young man. I ask why is it you continue to fail so miserably at your professions? How can you ignore the pleas of your citizens for information and justice?
We Cockaynes have known for weeks that there was no investigation being conducted into the murder of our son/brother. Small bits of information are seeping through the cracks. I will not allow you to continue stonewalling and intentionally losing evidence, ignoring the rights of USVI citizens. What will it take to involve the FBI? Don’t start with me about how the FBI is on the case, don’t even go there.
There are a multitude of unsolved crimes and the governor flies to New York to be at some cooked up tourism promotion. What is more important, safety or promoting an unsafe destination? I will be contacting the Yankees and protesting their involvement of promoting a vacation destination that cannot and/or will not protect the citizens and tourists in the USVI.
This is the time to start putting criminals away, please, things cannot continue as they have been forever. Is the Dubois murder still under investigation? Has there been a trial? Do you still want to be hearing from me in two years? I think it would be better to do your job!
Where is my son’s baseball cap? Why haven’t you picked up the car? Have you done a search on the license plate provided to you well over a month ago? Who owns that car, is it a friend or relative? What else are we supposed to believe? It is insane for you to think you can continue to treat us in this rude and disrespectful way.
I sometimes feel as though I am communicating with a spoiled child. “I don’t want to do my job and you can’t make me,” is that what you are saying by ignoring our continuous pleas for justice for Jamie?
The more I learn of the incompetence and downright ignorance Virgin Islanders are faced with daily, the more determined I get — my resolve deepens. I give you time, waiting, waiting, hoping to hear something and I hear nothing!
To think I am continuing to fight for rights afforded me and all citizens because of the people that get away with doing nothing, is driving me crazy.
Can you answer me one question, did the crippled murderer ever spend time in jail, has there been a trial?
I have contacted the Yankee organization and will ask everyone we know to do the same.
Bravo for stepping forward. It's not just the USVI that has possible corruption. There are small towns everywhere that have "Uncle Dads". Law enforcement "can" breed within and we've all heard horror stories. The locals have to ban together to finally make it better.
On a larger note...look at our President. Sorry, but he is the largest "Uncle Dad".
Have any locals banded together to do something about this and so many other murders that have gone unsolved?
Does anyone know about any particular functions, etc.? I truly would like to know.
I will contact a few people I know and see if anyone has or is doing anything. I certainly would like to be a part of it.
Sherri...i'm a little confused as to what Jean means when she says the "Yankee Organization"??
The Yankees baseball organization held a USVI promo day at one of the recent ballgames. The governor and the director or tourism attended and promotional items were distributed - hats, etc. There may have been a drawing for a trip for two to the USVI. It's not unlike the other tours that the Tourism Commission goes on to promote tourism. Think recently they were also in Baltimore and Philly. They attend "Caribbean Day" parades and other Caribbean celebrations/promotions in many cities.
Oh ok...that's heart! Appreciate the information.