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Gun Violence Czar Osbert Potter Tells National Media The Territory Has A Crime Problem


CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Making it official that he is the unofficial gun violence problem czar of the territory, the No. 2 man at Government House went to the national media on Tuesday and announced that the Virgin Islands is undergoing a worrying uptick in gun violence.

Citing police statistics, acting Gov. Osbert Potter said that our territory of just over 100,000 people experienced 32 gun killings during the first seven months of the year.

“Many of the young men in our community have absolutely no regard for life,” Potter said.

A total of 22 killings were on the main island of St. Thomas. That’s more than the total of 21 homicides recorded in all of 2015 for the most populous island. Fifteen of last year’s St. Thomas killings were by gunshot.

ABC News explained the gun violence problem here this way: “The U.S. territory has been one of numerous Caribbean transit routes for South American cocaine en route to the U.S. mainland.”

On numerous occasions when Gov. Kenneth Mapp is out of the territory it has been left to Lt. Gov. Potter to explain why the territory has a problem with drug-smuggling-related gun violence.

After three young men were murdered on St. Croix and at least three injured during two incidents of gun violence in a 72-hour period, Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) linked the problem of gun violence in the territory to gun prevalence and said that she favors more restrictions on guns.

“Saddened to learn that gun violence has again ended the promise of a young man in the Virgin Islands,” Plaskett said. “My deepest sympathies go to the families and friends of the three young men who have lost their lives this weekend. This has become too pervasive a problem in our community. We all have to step up to fight against the scourge of gun violence in the Virgin Islands.”

Meanwhile, reaction to the lieutenant governor’s national comments were fast and furious in Virgin Islands social media.

“Words from the BLACK SHERLOCK HOLMES!!!!” Virgin Islands Free Press columnist Wesley “Wes The Best” Small said on Facebook. “Houston, we have a problem. No sh– Sherlock!!!”

And much of the other comments were in a similar, sarcastic vein.

“Does anyone know this phrase? ‘Talking loud and ain’t saying nothin?'” Ellen Lewis said on Facebook.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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