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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, November 29, 2023


In light of the recent bomb threat at the Reichhold Center for the Arts and the questionable response by police, we think it is time for islanders to know what the procedure is for situations like this.
It is particularly crucial as we plan to welcome 8,000 people at the upcoming Sinbad Soul Music Festival. How would we evacuate them?
We are told the schools and other public buildings have evacuation plans. What are they? Do the people who occupy those buildings know what they are? Creating and publicizing a procedure costs little or nothing.
Reichhold's bomb scare raised other issues too.
— It is time to put in place modern-day communications systems that will afford quick responses and deter criminal pranksters from disrupting the lives and businesses of islanders. Let's at least make it difficult for them by having Caller I.D. in place. This is supposed to be in the works. When will it become a reality?
— Clean up the 911 system. Why did it take five dispatchers and more than three minutes before someone took the information about the bomb threat? And why would someone at 911 put an emergency call on hold, which is what happened the night of the bomb threat?
— We have no bomb-disposal equipment on the island. We have to rely on personnel and equipment from Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico to save us. That would take two hours, according to the chief of police. What if the bomb threat had been real? And what if it were set to go off in one hour?
The seemingly lackadaisical attitude about the bomb threat by the police and the public — those things don't happen in St. Thomas — could have tragic repercussions down the road.
We hope public officials who are charged with the safety of our citizens will move swiftly to take whatever steps are necessary to deal more effectively with future incidents of this nature. And we suggest that our public services —- the V.I. Telephone Corp., in this case, prodded if need be by the Public Services Commission -— speed up their efforts to bring communications to a level that has already been achieved in most communities in the country.

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