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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Business Districts Need More Police Presence

The India Association of the Virgin Islands expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Police Commissioner Rodney F. Querrard Sr., Chief Darren Foy, and members of both the police department and the other law enforcement agencies for their response to an armed robbery on Main Street on Saturday morning.
Initially, many merchants were alarmed and frustrated by the lack of police presence on the scene immediately after the incident occurred, though these fears were assuaged once it was discovered that the law enforcement community was actively pursuing the perpetrators, which resulted in the apprehension of six of the seven perpetrators and the recovery of stolen merchandise. We are confident that the suspects – four adult and two minors- will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
While isolated armed robberies such as Saturday’s have long been a reality that any merchant in any jurisdiction is to be cognizant of and prepared for, the recent trend affecting St. Thomas retailers is alarming, to say the least.
During the past 12 months, no less than five merchants in both Havensight and downtown Charlotte Amalie have been victims of armed robberies in broad daylight.
While naive to assume that a uniformed police presence would entirely eliminate the risk of armed robberies, it is unquestionable that such presence would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators of robberies in our shopping districts, and would also ensure a more appropriate response time for any incidents that do occur.
On a daily basis, thousands of residents and visitors alike are present in downtown Charlotte Amalie, Havensight, and Crown Bay. As our public officials who recently attended the Miami Seatrade Conference are aware, the competitive landscape for cruise ship port calls is increasingly crowded, with other islands making substantial investment in their infrastructure and offerings. If the Virgin Islands fails to address the basic safety needs of its visitors and residents alike during daylight hours in key shopping districts, we are fighting an uphill battle to maintain the economic benefits we derive from this, our primary contributor to the territory’s Gross Domestic Product.
Again, the members of the India Association of the Virgin Islands are extraordinarily grateful to the VIPD and all law enforcement officers for their effort immediately after Saturday’s incident. We request the support necessary to ensure their ongoing presence in heavily trafficked retail areas, such as downtown Charlotte Amalie.
Mulo Alwani, St. Thomas
Editor’s note: Mulo Alwani is a business owner and the president of the India Association of the Virgin Islands.

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The India Association of the Virgin Islands expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Police Commissioner Rodney F. Querrard Sr., Chief Darren Foy, and members of both the police department and the other law enforcement agencies for their response to an armed robbery on Main Street on Saturday morning.
Initially, many merchants were alarmed and frustrated by the lack of police presence on the scene immediately after the incident occurred, though these fears were assuaged once it was discovered that the law enforcement community was actively pursuing the perpetrators, which resulted in the apprehension of six of the seven perpetrators and the recovery of stolen merchandise. We are confident that the suspects - four adult and two minors- will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
While isolated armed robberies such as Saturday's have long been a reality that any merchant in any jurisdiction is to be cognizant of and prepared for, the recent trend affecting St. Thomas retailers is alarming, to say the least.
During the past 12 months, no less than five merchants in both Havensight and downtown Charlotte Amalie have been victims of armed robberies in broad daylight.
While naive to assume that a uniformed police presence would entirely eliminate the risk of armed robberies, it is unquestionable that such presence would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators of robberies in our shopping districts, and would also ensure a more appropriate response time for any incidents that do occur.
On a daily basis, thousands of residents and visitors alike are present in downtown Charlotte Amalie, Havensight, and Crown Bay. As our public officials who recently attended the Miami Seatrade Conference are aware, the competitive landscape for cruise ship port calls is increasingly crowded, with other islands making substantial investment in their infrastructure and offerings. If the Virgin Islands fails to address the basic safety needs of its visitors and residents alike during daylight hours in key shopping districts, we are fighting an uphill battle to maintain the economic benefits we derive from this, our primary contributor to the territory's Gross Domestic Product.
Again, the members of the India Association of the Virgin Islands are extraordinarily grateful to the VIPD and all law enforcement officers for their effort immediately after Saturday's incident. We request the support necessary to ensure their ongoing presence in heavily trafficked retail areas, such as downtown Charlotte Amalie.
Mulo Alwani, St. Thomas
Editor’s note: Mulo Alwani is a business owner and the president of the India Association of the Virgin Islands.