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Police Commissioner Velinor Answers Tough Questions About Violence In Hospital Ground: PART TWO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor flew over to St. Thomas with a contingent of Special Operations Bureau Virgin Islands Police Department officers to get a first-hand look at the situation on the ground in Hospital Ground on Good Friday.

Commissioner Velinor fielded questions from the general community on WSTA-AM 1340 “Lucky 13.” The unofficial press conference was hosted by WSTA’s Peter Ottley.

The following is part two of an partial transcript of that radio broadcast:

CALLER 2: “I’m outraged. I live in Hospital Ground. I have young children in my home. OK? And I have my husband and my daughter in here. And to be constantly under siege from these bullets and stuff — it’s really overbearing. This is not the first time we’ve spoken about it. I called you on another talk show about it. We don’t see any police around here. And you’re talking to somebody who works in the VIPD and knows better. So maybe you’all could snow people and fool people but you can’t fool me. OK? You’all know who it is and what it is that is going around here. Because I could find out what went on around here. OK? So you’all need to act on it and stop fooling the people into believing that you’all are going to do something about it, and actually do something about it. It’s a drug war going on around here and anybody in my family gets hurt, I’m not going to take it lightly. I’m very upset. Because that last episode with that guy (Michael) McKie was very, very scary. OK? You’all playing you have strategies, you have a deputy commissioner with a Ph.D (Celvin G. Walwyn of St. Kitts). What are they doing? What are you’all doing? Where is the plan to correct the problem in here? Don’t say you’all are going to come here today, tomorrow and next week and then, two-three weeks from now we have another shooting up here. Because this is only the beginning of it.

TREVOR VELINOR: As good as policing is, it could be even better when it comes to the community involvement. The caller indicated she knows information, she said the community knows information and I’ve said from day one, you know, and I’ll give you a prime example, not too long ago I was speaking to somebody and they said to me: “We know who is committing these acts.” And I asked the question: “Well, who is?” And there was crickets. There was crickets. In fact, the caller called me and say: “We know who is committing these acts.” And I said: “Well, OK. Since you know. Who is the person or what individual who is committing the act?” And there was crickets. So, if you trust me enough to call me and tell me that we have a problem and you have part of the solution, I expect for you to have an engagement towards that end. Right? I don’t question anyone commitment to wanting our community to be safer. I am questioning whether or not people are willing to come on now and share the information so that we can then follow up and do the things that we need to do. I believe in holding the police accountable and saying: “Hey, what are you doing about this?” The prior caller indicated that it’s been going on for 40 years. And guess what? I get the calls regarding gunshots in certain areas and I deploy the resources accordingly. But I need the community’s involvement. I need your engagement. A lot of times you know who your neighbor is who is doing it. And you’re not talking about your neighbor; you’re not telling about your neighbor. As long as it’s not in your backyard, you’re not communicating that. And somebody told me about that acronym, N-I-M-B-Y, “not in my backyard.” Well, folks, it’s in our backyard. Any incident that takes place in the Virgin Islands is in all of our backyard. And we have a responsibility to do something about it. So yes, when you call me, you say, you don’t have any belief in the police department, but you were a part of the police department. Well, I’m asking you to help us, for you to be a part of the solution. You know, if you know who it is, then call me and tell me who it is. You know, and then give us an opportunity to go after those individuals who are shooting the rounds every night in certain communities. You know. So it’s a cop out, to just say, in my view, this is Trevor Velinor’s view, to just say: “You’all handlin’ police.” You’re living right there. You been living there for many years and you should know that there’s a guy two doors down from me that’s doing this. And they’re doing this every night. Well, maybe you can, maybe you may not feel comfortable calling one or two people — I’ve even given the public my telephone number — and I’ve gotten some calls. And many a times I’ve followed up on those calls down to a “t.” So this goes two ways, folks. This communication goes two way. One of the things I that I also wanted to point out is that I didn’t come alone. And so it’s one Virgin Islands. So we came over on a plane. When I say: “We.” It’s myself and other members of the Virgin Islands Police Department’s Special Operations (Bureau) branch. We all came on it. And they’re briefing up and they’re going to go into certain community and whatnot. But at the end of the day, folks, you know, some of us live in some of these communities, day in day out, and someone just said for 40 years. Let’s all be a part of the solution.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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