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Saturday, January 28, 2023
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Governor: Violence Could Curtail Carnival

Continued outbreaks of violence could impact and even curtail Carnival last lap events, Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Police Commissioner-designate Rodney F. Querrard warned Wednesday.

Querrard briefed deJongh on a number of shootings and other incidents that have been reported on St. Thomas within the last several days, including the shooting early Tuesday morning of a 16-year-old who had been celebrating Carnival and was shot in the thigh near the entrance to Fort Christian east of Emancipation Garden.

At the conclusion of the briefing, the governor and the commissioner warned, in a statement issued by Government House, that continued violence in the community won’t be ignored.

“I have discussed the recent incidents with Commissioner Querrard and we are both extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of residents and visitors who are enjoying and planning on participating in the remaining Carnival events, including today’s food, arts and cultural fair, Thursday’s J’Ouvert, the Carnival races on Friday afternoon and the two parades on Friday and Saturday,” deJongh said in Wednesday’s statement.

“I recognize the impact canceling J’Ouvert or closing the Carnival Village early or curtailing the parades will have on our community, but the events of the last several days – the shootings, the retrieval of guns and what appear to be acts of retaliatory violence – have me very concerned. I have given the police commissioner full operational discretion with respect to changing the Carnival schedule or curtailing or canceling events, which actions will be done without hesitation if public safety so requires.”

DeJongh said Carnival should not be a time for crime and citizens should be on the alert for the few bad apples who could spoil the event for everyone.

“Carnival is a time for celebration of the true culture and real traditions of our islands," he said. "This festive season should not be taken as an opportunity for persons to engage in unlawful behavior. Gun play and violent crime have no place in the celebration of Carnival. It is up to us all to assist the police in seeing to it that the actions of a few do not destroy the joyful events of Carnival enjoyed by so many.”

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