May 19, 2007 — Today it is all sports, no politics, said Usie Richards, acting not in his capacity as Senate president, but as president of the V.I. Basketball Federation (VIBF) in welcoming just under 100 young basketball players to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Luncheon.
The Saturday afternoon event was held at Victors New Hideout Restaurant and featured keynote speaker Assistant U.S. Attorney General James Carroll, who's been nominated by Gov. John deJongh Jr. to sit on the V.I. Superior Court bench.
In his remarks, Carroll talked about the need to stop the violence that he sees in the community.
He described his career, which started in 1970 as a defense attorney in New York. and his transition to prosecutor after his arrival in the Virgin Islands in 1979.
Carroll also spoke to the young basketball players about traditions that they must strive to keep alive. He said, We say 'Good Morning, good afternoon and good evening' and that is something unique to our community. Its a good thing. You wont see that in New York.
"I have seen some good things in our community, and I have seen some bad, said Carroll. We have to keep the good things from fading away.
Carroll was positive and upbeat and at the same time cautionary. He said that there were more young black men in prison than in college and that homicide was the leading cause of death for that demographic.
He noted that more people from other Caribbean nations go to UVI than native Virgin Islanders and that there was a dearth of males attending the college.
Carroll also encouraged the students to change those numbers and to assume the role as positive nonviolent leaders. He recalled the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Christ.
He spoke as a father who had lost a son as he told the students of his son Jason getting gunned down in broad daylight on Main Street in 2000 and all the consequences of that event.
Carroll was joined at the luncheon by his wife, Celia, who is the founder of Mothers Against Gun Violence. He encouraged the players to join them at the 2-mile race, Walk-Run Against Gun Violence, which will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday near the Coast Guard Dock.
Richards, who has been president of VIBF since 1981, also had words of praise and encouragement for the players. He said that the luncheon was the main event in the tournament because it was a chance to talk about the important things in the game and its life lessons.
Richards noted that Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, both from the Virgin Islands, had just played last night in the NBA playoffs and for those at the lunch to set their goals high.
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