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No Lights, No Tourists, No Cultural Bazaar

Nov. 6, 2005 – At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, cars were rolling into Frederiksted with residents ready to take part in a Cruzan Cultural Bazaar as the first of the few scheduled cruise ships this season was pulling up to the Ann E. Abramson Pier. Vendors were set up on King Street. The V.I. Tourism Department had a booth manned and were preparing to give free samples of rum punch.
But before any passengers could get off the ship, the whole island of St. Croix went dark.
Alberto Bruno-Vega, executive director of the Water and Power Authority, said that WAPA had just brought Unit 17 on line Friday after an extensive overhaul by General Electric and the unit failed.
Cassandra Dunn, WAPA spokeswoman, said it was an explosion.
Bruno-Vega said WAPA worked as fast as it could to get lights back on in Frederiksted and did manage get power there a little after 9 p.m., but that was too late for many people.
The V.I. Tourism Department began tearing down its booth around 8:30 p.m. A worker said, "It is too dangerous to be here." Most of the people at the pier waiting to greet the visitors had similar thoughts. Although many waited around for a half-hour in the darkness, most were gone by 9 p.m.
One lady sitting dejectedly on the newly-remodeled clock tower square, shook her head and said, "It is like St. Croix has its own cloud of doom. Whenever, we get good news, the cloud comes in and takes it away."
Bruno-Vega said that 80 percent of the islands' residents had their power restored by 10 p.m. and the rest would have their power on by 11 p.m.
Unit 17 is under warranty for the work just completed by General Electric. Bruno-Vega said he expected workers from General Electric to be on site Monday to determine what went wrong.
Three more bunkering stops are scheduled for cruise ships in Frederiksted in November – Nov. 9, 23, and 27.

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