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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesGovernor Sends Most Government Workers Home Early to Prepare for Storm

Governor Sends Most Government Workers Home Early to Prepare for Storm

Aug. 17, 2007 — Gov. John deJongh Jr. released non-essential government workers on St. Croix at noon Friday and on St. Thomas at 3 p.m. to prepare for the effects of Hurricane Dean as it passes to the south of St. Croix later Friday.
"I want those people to have time to secure their workplaces and their homes,” deJongh said, speaking Friday at a press conference at the University of the Virgin Islands’ teleconference center in Chase Auditorium.
A team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is already in the territory, and members of that team and many of the governor’s cabinet members spoke Friday about readiness for Hurricane Dean. Though expected to pass south of St. Croix later Friday, the storm could still bring high winds and rain to the territory.
DeJongh asked his audience to pause for a moment and offer a prayer for "our neighbor islands of St. Lucia and Martinique, and hope all is well." Those islands are reported to have been hit with the full force of the storm.
FEMA’S coordinating officer, Larry Sommers, gave an overview of his agency’s operations in the Virgin Islands.
"A 20-person team, men and woman, is in the territory, and we have been working with VITEMA on all the islands helping out with health concerns, infrastructure, equipment and supplies,” he said. “We have equipment and supplies in boxes in a warehouse ready to go."
Police Commissioner James McCall emphasized staying inside during the storm.
"We would like you to go home, and stay safe at home," he said, reinforcing what Deputy V.I. Police Chief Melvin Venzen said at a Thursday VITEMA meeting. If a curfew should be ordered, Venzen said, "We have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone on the streets without a curfew pass. Stay off the streets."
A price-freeze order is in effect for all commercial businesses, said Kenneth Robertson, assistant commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, speaking from St. Croix. Prices will be closely monitored, he said.
A national Red Cross team has been on the island "giving support to the local team," said Jane Wherren, local American Red Cross director. Cots and food are in supply if needed, she said.
Waste Management Authority Executive Director May Adams Cornwall asked that people take their waste to bins by 3 p.m. Friday. Pickup is scheduled for 4 p.m., she said. The authority's St. Croix clean program pickup scheduled for this weekend will be done at a later date.
Storm preparations are complete, but high winds will affect the power supply, said Nellon Bowry, the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s acting director.
"We will use the ‘three strikes and you're out’ policy on the feeders: If we try to activate them three times and they fail, they will stay offline," he said. Bowry reminded everyone never to touch downed electrical wires.
The governor urged people to monitor the media for continuing updates.
"There will continue to be extensive public notices on radio and television to provide all residents the latest information, such as the track of the storm, what precautions must be taken, what the government has done to prepare and what emergency shelters will be available," he said.
Emergency phone contacts:
St. Thomas 774-2244
St. John 776-444
St. Croix 773-2244
America Red Cross
St. Thomas 778-5109
St. Croix 774-0375
Waste Management Authority
St. Thomas 774-4136
St. Croix 712-4962
St. Thomas 777-7292
St. Croix 713-7292
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