Nov. 22, 2005 A group of residents from across the territory, headed by St. Croix talk radio personality Mario Moorhead, plan to tie up the check-out line at Starfish Market Wednesday and possibly Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
St. John Association for Equal Rights and Justice met Tuesday at St. Ursula's Episcopal Church Tuesday to hammer out the details.
"Little you will be spoiling the big American holiday," Moorhead told the two dozen people gathered for the meeting.
He said that customers will be picking up their cooked turkeys and pumpkin pies in preparation for the holiday. Moorhead said this is the biggest time of the year for Starfish Market.
Moorhead said a group of negotiators from the organization planned to force Starfish owner David Mugar to negotiate. However, Moorhead refused to disclose the goal of the negotiations or who the negotiators would be.
"I don't think it's necessary to tell the press," he said, noting that the negotiating team was in the room.
He said Starfish Market had two choices shut down the market or talk with the negotiators.
Moorhead said if Starfish shuts down Wednesday, they will return Thursday.
St. John resident Lorelei Monsanto, a community leader who was not at the meeting and was reached at home, said that the group is targeting the wrong people.
"They need to fight the powers that be in government that have not stepped up to the plate," she said.
She said they should instead take their case to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the senators, and the commissioners who have the power to make change.
Moorhead said the group plans to buy bottled water, pay for it with pennies, then ask for their money back when they get through the checkout. He said the group will continue the process throughout the day.
One of the members brought in three cloth bags of coins.
"No matter how many cashiers, we'll bottle them up," Moorhead said of the checkout lanes.
The group used a similar tactic in early October when they tied up the check out lanes at Starfish Market. The store closed after about an hour.
The action came on the heels of an Oct. 1 rally where Starfish Market donated much of the food and beverages served to the several hundred people who attended.
The group also held sit-ins at Cruz Bay restaurants, ordering bottled water and paying for it with coins. The sit-ins prevented customers who hoped to buy dinner from occupying tables.
At that time, group members said they were trying to force the white-owned businesses to demand answers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies regarding the alleged rape of Esther Frett on Aug. 20.
Monday, a group of people gathered outside Leander Jurgen Command hoping to find answers to the same question when police officials held a press conference to release the names of suspects wanted in connection with the Oct. 29 murder of David Geiger and attack on his son, Nathan.
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis referred questions about the Frett case to the FBI, which to date has not released any information.
Moorhead likened the group's efforts to the work of Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist who became famous when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.
A group of St. John residents also plan to picket Friday, but their reasons also remain unclear. They were cutting up boxes after the meeting to make picket signs.
Monique Matthias, one of the group's leaders, declined to say where they planned to picket.
"We're working out the kinks," she said.
Moorhead, noting that those participating at the Starfish Market event will have to make sacrifices because they will need to take a day off from work.
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