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Threatening Weather Delays Part of Carnival Village Opening

April 23, 2007 — Under a canopy of rain-heavy clouds Monday evening, the V.I. Carnival Committee hosted a partial opening of the 2007 carnival village, dubbed Bolo’s Music Studio in honor of Sergio “Bolo” Feliciano.
Ongoing rain led organizers to postpone until Tuesday the ribbon cutting and presentation to Feliciano.
“Hopefully this weather will have passed off by then,” said Carnival Committee Treasurer Caswil Callendar. Glancing behind him, he noted the 76th Army Band striking up to entertain a growing audience.
“However, as you can see, there are people around, booths are open, the band is here ready to play," Callendar said. "There’s also the problem of water under the stage, and so we have to be careful. We’re looking out for the safety of everyone.”
Veteran Sen. Celestino A. White agreed with the decision to postpone. “Bolo deserves the entire public out to witness this tribute," he said. "The committee has made a decision to wait until tomorrow.”
With many weeks of dry weather taking its toll on cisterns, crops and hillsides, White mused, “A lot of people want rain, but they don’t want water."
He continued, "I want the rain and I want the water. So I said to the governor, ‘Based on the authority vested in you, you have the authority to extend Carnival for another two days if this rain begins to come.’ So I’m calling on Gov. deJongh to look at what is happening with this weather … use common sense and extend Carnival for us a little two days.”
Freshman Sen. Alvin Williams flew a bit closer to the ground. Taking in the scene for the first time as a public official, he said, “We have a great carnival … I’ve been to many of the events; I do believe that we had some great competitions in our Carnival Queen and Prince and Princess pageants. The calypso tent Saturday night was good also. This is my first ribbon cutting as a senator.”
The territory's Homeland Security Director, Mel Vanterpool, surveyed the area while greeting friends and associates.
“This is a special event, and there is a national database where I have to fill in the blanks about carnivals, festivals, inaugurations, any kind of gathering," he said. "There are a lot of things in Homeland Security that we are responsible for. Any kind of gathering where you have a conglomeration of people such as Carnival, we have to be preventative in our measures in terms of what we do.”
Vanterpool noted the accelerated pace of activities downtown.
“It’s a good time for people to relax and enjoy themselves and be merry," he said. "You know, crime really goes down at Carnival time. But in my area of responsibility, I’m always vigilant … We are hoping for a safe carnival and keeping everybody nice and secure. And I want everyone to remember, it’s our home, our land, our security.”
Editor's note: Part two of this article on Tuesday will include an interview with Feliciano and a report of the official ceremony.
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