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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


St. John's "Night Out Against Crime" observance Tuesday evening got off to a telling start. The event, scheduled to begin with a parade from the Pine Peace basketball court to Cruz Bay Park, attracted just a smattering of adults — all government officials and community activists. Waiting for the parade to begin, they clustered in small groups taking note of the distinct scent of marijuana smoke wafting their way from youths hanging out around the ball court bleachers.
Several of the adults noted that these were precisely the type of young people they were trying, in vain, to reach with their "Night Out Against Crime" messages.
Given the small size of the group, it was decided to cancel the parade, and organizers, including Harry Daniel from Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen's office, drove to Cruz Bay, where a a crowd awaited. The gathering at its high point reached about a hundred people, mostly young people participating in the presentations and their parents.
After Pastor Carlyle Sampson of Nazareth Lutheran Church offered an invocation, Daniel spoke on the importance of "taking back our community." St. John administrator Julien Harley concurred, saying, "We must combat drugs and violence within the community – not only our community, but nationwide. We need to let young kids know it's not acceptable. Give kids the right meaning of ‘Say no to drugs.'"
Ultimately, Harley warned, those who get involved with drugs "are deserting your family, your friends and your community."
Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd recollected that "a long time ago in Cruz Bay we all were family. There was a lot of love in our hearts." Today, he said, "that love is not there. It is not always easy to do the right thing – studying hard, staying in school."
Entertainment was provided by about 20 members of the Love City Pan Dragons steelband, youngsters ages 4 to 12 who spent six weeks this summer learning to play pan under Samuel Lawrence, the band director and music arranger. Playing "Breezing" for many of them was their first-ever public performance.
Another highlight of the program was a skit performed by the participants in a summer program at the Elaine Ione Sprauve Library. The skit, "Say No to Drugs," was written by Brittany Fredericks, 14, a student at Antilles School. Her message was: "There are so many opportunities in life. It is not necessary to turn to drugs at all."

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