Home News Local news Y2K BUG DIDN'T BITE



All the shouting is over, and what do we have? A peaceful, quiet and serene little island. At least, that's the way things looked as the sun rose Saturday morning on St. Thomas harbor.
The only signs of revelry, even, were two abandoned champagne bottles sitting side by side on the waterfront.
The millennium bug, probably the most over-hyped insect in history, had no bite. Not even a little nip. Still, so much effort went into preventing its sting that it cannot be wholly disregarded. The island's emergency services and the banking community, both more than adequately prepared for Y2K exigencies, had comment:
Col. Gene Walker, director of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, declared himself a "happy man" Monday morning. VITEMA coordinated and directed all Y2K preparedness matters.
The agency and deputies of all critical government offices maintained a command center on St. Croix throughout New Year's Eve and through the Jan. 1 morning hours. Because the governor was on St. Croix to attend New Year's festivities, the command center was located there in case a state of emergency should have to be declared.
"We are a blessed set of people," Walker said, in obvious relief that VITEMA's readiness had been for naught. The biggest problem Walker, himself, faced was a lack of sleep — a small price to pay for the calm that ushered in the new year.
Even so, Virgin Islanders should not become complacent, he said. The agency is awaiting feedback from local government facilities which were closed over the weekend, he said, although he doesn't anticipate problems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel on island to assist VITEMA will stay on for a couple more days, he said.
"The next thing we have to look forward to is 02/29/00," Walker said. In other words, leap year. It is, again, not known how the little critter will accept the new date.
Meanwhile, in the banking world, it was "Y2 who?" according to attorney Tom Bolt, executive vice president of the V.I. Bankers Association. "We had a meeting at 9 a.m. Monday," he said, "and everything is functioning normally –- ATM's are working, direct deposits are in order, checks are being cashed." In short, he added, "the banks are fine."


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