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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesINCIDENT AT CORMORANT RESORT TURNS UGLY

INCIDENT AT CORMORANT RESORT TURNS UGLY

An incident at St. Croix’s Cormorant Beach Club and Resort on Sunday -– reportedly fueled by physical violence and racial slurs -– has the resort’s president calling for a federal inquiry into civil rights violations and contemplating closing the property in La Grande Princesse.
In an April 10 letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Attorney General Iver Stridiron, Sen. Anne Golden and acting Tourism Commissioner Raphael Jackson, Cormorant Beach Resort's president, Arthur Mayer, gave his blow-by-blow account of an ugly scene between white resort managers and black island residents, played out in front of some 50 guests. And when police arrived, Mayer said, they greeted the alleged assailants and did little else.
During the incident, Mayer, who is white, said one man swung a two-by-four at him and another broke a beer bottle over his head.
According to Mayer’s letter to the government officials, a "black man living in the neighborhood" entered the Cormorant dining patio during brunch and began yelling racial epithets. Earlier, Mayer said, the man had thrown a beer bottle at a white island visitor who was preparing to snorkel.
Police responded shortly thereafter, Mayer said, and were asked to arrest the alleged assailant and were told that Mayer wanted to press charges. However, he said, the police presence didn’t solve the problem.
"The most appalling fact is that the three police officers did nothing to stop the continued racial slurs toward my partner and myself," Mayer wrote. "The assailant admitted throwing a beer bottle at the guest, in front of the officers. The officers and guests witnessed beach chairs being vandalized and thrown.
"One black officer was openly hostile to my partner and me, telling us to shut up when we were speaking in normal tones amidst the slurs. It seemed symptomatic that one of the police officers greeted the black assailant with the West Indian handshake.
"At that point, I must admit, I felt very helpless with my complaint that my civil rights were violated."
The officers, however, were called away to another case. Soon after, according to Mayer, trouble began anew. Racial slurs, rock-throwing and the bottle broken over Mayer’s head ensued. Mayer said the inaction on the part of the responding officers endangered the well-being of the resort’s workers, both black and white, and its guests.
Apparently, such problems have been occurring at the resort for more than a year. When contacted Tuesday, Mayer declined to comment. He said a meeting with government officials has been scheduled to discuss the "blatant inaction" by police over the last 13 months that is making it "impossible for us to continue operations."
"For liability reasons," he wrote, "we will have no other choice than to close down our operations if these problems can’t be solved."
St. Croix Deputy Police Chief Novelle Francis couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. But the St. Croix Avis reported that day that Francis had promised an investigation into Mayer’s allegations against the officers.
One visitor to the island who witnessed the melee has written to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Silver, chair of the Committee on Appropriations, requesting an investigation into "the leadership, management, oversight and lawfulness of the local authorities here in St. Croix …"

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An incident at St. Croix’s Cormorant Beach Club and Resort on Sunday -– reportedly fueled by physical violence and racial slurs -– has the resort’s president calling for a federal inquiry into civil rights violations and contemplating closing the property in La Grande Princesse.
In an April 10 letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Attorney General Iver Stridiron, Sen. Anne Golden and acting Tourism Commissioner Raphael Jackson, Cormorant Beach Resort's president, Arthur Mayer, gave his blow-by-blow account of an ugly scene between white resort managers and black island residents, played out in front of some 50 guests. And when police arrived, Mayer said, they greeted the alleged assailants and did little else.
During the incident, Mayer, who is white, said one man swung a two-by-four at him and another broke a beer bottle over his head.
According to Mayer’s letter to the government officials, a "black man living in the neighborhood" entered the Cormorant dining patio during brunch and began yelling racial epithets. Earlier, Mayer said, the man had thrown a beer bottle at a white island visitor who was preparing to snorkel.
Police responded shortly thereafter, Mayer said, and were asked to arrest the alleged assailant and were told that Mayer wanted to press charges. However, he said, the police presence didn’t solve the problem.
"The most appalling fact is that the three police officers did nothing to stop the continued racial slurs toward my partner and myself," Mayer wrote. "The assailant admitted throwing a beer bottle at the guest, in front of the officers. The officers and guests witnessed beach chairs being vandalized and thrown.
"One black officer was openly hostile to my partner and me, telling us to shut up when we were speaking in normal tones amidst the slurs. It seemed symptomatic that one of the police officers greeted the black assailant with the West Indian handshake.
"At that point, I must admit, I felt very helpless with my complaint that my civil rights were violated."
The officers, however, were called away to another case. Soon after, according to Mayer, trouble began anew. Racial slurs, rock-throwing and the bottle broken over Mayer’s head ensued. Mayer said the inaction on the part of the responding officers endangered the well-being of the resort’s workers, both black and white, and its guests.
Apparently, such problems have been occurring at the resort for more than a year. When contacted Tuesday, Mayer declined to comment. He said a meeting with government officials has been scheduled to discuss the "blatant inaction" by police over the last 13 months that is making it "impossible for us to continue operations."
"For liability reasons," he wrote, "we will have no other choice than to close down our operations if these problems can’t be solved."
St. Croix Deputy Police Chief Novelle Francis couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. But the St. Croix Avis reported that day that Francis had promised an investigation into Mayer’s allegations against the officers.
One visitor to the island who witnessed the melee has written to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Silver, chair of the Committee on Appropriations, requesting an investigation into "the leadership, management, oversight and lawfulness of the local authorities here in St. Croix ..."