Though the crimes that spurred the recent demonstrations on St. John were horrible, it seems the statements and response by We the People have strayed so far from any recognizable logic as to exacerbate the core problems here on St. John.
There are, undoubtedly, many problems on St. John. Racial tension, crime, economic disparity, and ineffective government have existed here at varying degrees for generations. These are issues that should be addressed. Whether intimidation is the most effective technique for dealing with these problems is debatable though.
Racial tension is evident to all here in paradise. From teeth sucking at its most benign to rapes at its most heinous, everyone has experienced it. Day to day discrimination and racial hatred is a given. As is crime. It is when these racial tensions combine with crime that the most deplorable acts happen. I have personally been mugged or jumped four times by West Indians. My apartment has been broken into three times. I have personally known four white women, friends, who have been raped by West Indians. Our skin color most certainly played a part. And in not ONE case has anyone been brought to justice. Not one. Even when the name of the perpetrator was known, even when there were witnesses, even when the criminal was still at the scene of the crime, even when the police were THERE, the police have failed to act. One of the first lessons learned upon moving here is that the police are not here to protect white people. If We the People feel that the police have failed them by not arresting as yet unidentified and unknown suspects (in what to my knowledge is the first white on black violent crime here in recent memory), I understand their pain. Apparently, the police are not here to protect West Indians either.
The history of St. John begins with slavery. Economic disparity was never more despicable than in those times. But slavery ended. In the 150 years of freedom since the end of slavery, or the 100 years since the end of the plantation era, or the 50 years of locally elected government, or the last 25 years of tourism and growth, locals have had every opportunity to gain prosperity and/or curb growth. Especially now, in this real estate boom. As land values have soared, the "landed gentry" have failed to capitalize on their land wealth. Virtually every piece of land owned by whites was once West Indian owned. And virtually every white business owner came to this island with nothing more than a strong work ethic and a desire to carve out his or her little piece of paradise. They achieved this not DUE to the preferential treatment of government but often DESPITE the government. EDC beneficiaries aside, whites have fought more discrimination, harassment, and red tape than their West Indian counterparts. The elected officials, the employees of DPNR and CZM, the police, the bank employees are all predominantly West Indian. If rampant growth, corruption and lack of opportunity are their complaints, I say look within their own ranks. We have shared those complaints since we arrived.
These "Sit-ins" and other demonstrations are laughable in their stated goals and inept approach. The police chief was present at the Paradiso sit in, keeping the press out and failing to enforce the law. If protesters wanted the attention of the police, they could have left the tables where they were sitting and talked to him. Pressuring the police is truly not their goal. From senators helping pay the cost of transportation costs for event organizers, to the governor's requests to the Department of Justice for help, to our House delegate organizing the rallies, gaining the attention of government is not their goals. Their "goals" were achieved before they began.
This is racially motivated intimidation. Nothing less.
We will continue to pay taxes for benefits we will never reap; we will continue to offer services that bring tourist wealth to the benefit of all on the island; we will continue to give generously to charity; we will continue to turn our other cheek when confronted with intimidation, discrimination, and racism. And we will continue to be outraged at every crime committed, whether it be against white or black.
All for the love of our home, St. John.
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