Upon reading your article about the Carnival Cruise Lines decision not to call on St. Croix after May 11, 2002, I felt obligated to comment on this troubling situation. I don't think anyone should be surprised that Carnival came to this conclusion, given the escalating crime problem that continues to plague the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, in particular.
I'm ashamed to say that I am no longer comfortable telling interested people to visit my beautiful islands, because of the guilt that I feel knowing very well that there is a strong possibility that they might fall victim to some type of crime. Carnival's decision not to call on St. Croix any more sends a strong message to the residents of St. Croix: Wake up!
The level of complacency and apathy must cease. The time is long overdue where we take action to regain the quality of life that residents once enjoyed in the past. We need to start being more pro-active and less reactive if we are to take back our islands from the thugs and hooligans who cause many to live in fear, and who continue to threaten the economic stability of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands.
The Carnival pullout will cost an estimated $34 million in lost revenue yearly. What other cruise line or business will fall victim to our crime epidemic and follow suit? It is time to make our highly paid elected officials accountable. If they can't produce meaningful results, we must replace them. Our job isn't complete when we vote for our favorite candidates on election day. We should get to know the people we elect into office to serve us and let them know that we require more than what they provide us at their pre-election activities.
Crime has to be effectively controlled and taken seriously if St. Croix is to once again become a desirable and safe tourist destination. This can happen. There is still hope, but we need to act now before it is too late and all is lost. Our government must implement sweeping initiatives where crime can be prevented, reduced and handled effectively.
Most important, people have to realize that they can make a difference and that they can effect change, despite how daunting the task may appear to be. We have to get out of the mindset that there is nothing that we can do to make our island safe again and start believing that we don't have to let crime continue to diminish the quality of life that we deserve to enjoy.
St. Croix, we must wake from our slumber. And remember, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
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