Home News Local news West End Residents Make Their Case for Emergency Services

West End Residents Make Their Case for Emergency Services


Oct. 16, 2005 – Sunday afternoon brought a buzz of activity outside the long-abandoned electric blue complex sitting on a hill overlooking Bordeaux.
About 50 area residents gathered under a tent outside the deserted Bordeaux Multi-Purpose Center demanding government officials present to reopen the complex, which once housed a fire, police and emergency medical technician (EMT) station. Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, and representatives of the V.I. Police Department and Fire Services attended the meeting to listen to the concerns of the West End residents.
The building, which was opened in 1997 to provide emergency services to the residents of the West End, closed in November of 1998, shortly after its opening.
Gustav Dowling, president of the West End Alliance, the organization that called Sunday's meeting, said the complex's closure has left many West End residents feeling slighted and concerned about their lives and properties.
"It takes 45 minutes, give or take, for trucks from the Fort Christian station to get to the West End in the event of a fire," Dowling said, adding that the trucks needed to get to the scene of a fire sooner than that because the beginning stage of a fire is "critical."
Dowling said police presence is also vital in the area to curb burglaries, especially during the daytime.
"The predators who prey on us watch us and know when we leave for work," Dowling said.
Residents, who were given the opportunity to question the governmental officials, asked the reason for the complex's closure and how soon it would be reopened.
"The issue of keeping the fire station open is just one of personnel," Fire Services Director Merwin Potter said. Potter said hiring firefighters to man the station was the "main issue."
But Ludrick Thomas, Bordeaux resident, said he was tired of the excuses. Thomas asked about the money appropriated by the 24th Legislature for the Bordeaux station.
"There's funding on the books, and if the funding isn't there, someone has to tell us where the money is," Thomas said. "We need to stop playing politics with the people of the west."
Residents also aired other concerns, including the condition of the roads in the area and abandoned vehicles.
Milton Frett, a 33-year resident of Bordeaux, said two years ago he delivered some still video shots of abandoned vehicles in the area to James O'Bryan, St. Thomas-Water Island administrator.
"The only thing that has changed is that there's more now," Frett said, adding that the situation of those vehicles is an accident waiting to happen. Frett asked for the cars to be removed so that the roads would be passable.
James McCall, assistant police commissioner, said he would work on having the vehicles removed in 48 hours.
"These problems have been existing for years," Merle Fenton, Bordeaux resident, said. "How long will we have to deal with political promises that never turn into manifestations?"
Richards, who said he was hearing of some of the problems for the first time, pledged to do all he could to bring a resolution to some of the situations.

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