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VIPD, Thanks Public for Violence Free Crucian Christmas Festival

St. Thomas 𑁋 The Virgin Islands Police Department publicly thanked and shared words of praise with residents for having a violence-free Crucian Christmas Festival. The USVI Division of Festivals received rave reviews for successfully pulling off its first festival on the big island since it replaced the Virgin Islands Carnival Committee.

“VIPD is happy that we all enjoyed an event-free festival season,” the VIPD said in a tweet. “Please remember that school is back in session. Commissioner Trevor A. Velinor reminds you to stay alert for pedestrians and school buses.”

The VIPD was likely the most active government agency on Twitter in 2019. The department’s Twitter handle was updated with short messages about gun confiscations, burglaries, and reports of violent crimes. 

Other officials who regularly use their Twitter handle to connect with constituents are Senator Javan E. James Sr., Senator Donna-Frett Gregory, Senator Janelle K. Sarauw, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, and officials from VITEMA. Last year Plaskett gained a staggering 40,000 followers in a matter of days after her line of questioning at Michale Cohen’s hearing in the House of Representatives.

She is currently the most followed elected official in the U.S Virgin Islands.

Officials at VITEMA posted updates about the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck Puerto Rico at 4:29 a.m. on Tuesday, followed by a smaller 6.0 quake at 7:21 a.m. The agency’s Twitter handle indicates that it uses a cooperate social media manager called Everbridge Manager Portal for time-sensitive updates like earthquakes and tsunamis. 

The Everbridge Portal is so effective that VITEMA’s updates about both earthquakes were automatically published on social media less than three minutes after the earthquake with relevant tsunami information included.

“Commissioner Trevor A. Velinor wishes to publicly acknowledge the men and women of the St. Croix Law Enforcement Community for their assistance in making our festivities a success thus far,” the VIPD said in a social media post. “When we work together as one, public safety increases. Our citizens also thank you.”

In a social media post, Plaskett said, “This year’s Crucian Christmas Festival Season has been one for the books! So happy that we have the privilege of celebrating such a rich culture.” Last year Carnival events on St. Thomas and St. John went largely uninterrupted, with no major instances of violence being reported. 

In a press statement on Monday, Senator Allison DeGazon thanked the community and the Virgin Islands Police Department for keeping the holiday season incident-free for all attending. “I’d like to thank the community and VIPD for making sure that this year everyone had an enjoyable festival season, and also the Division of Festivals for raising the bar on what residents and tourists can expect for one of our most anticipated and highly attended cultural events,” DeGazon said. 

DeGazon also gave special thanks to the millennial face of the festival, Shamari Haynes, founder of one of the largest festival troupes on St. Croix—Simply Savage—and now Assistant Director of the Division of Festivals for St. Croix. 

“We introduced new events to include the breakfast fete and Jou’Day which both took place on the Christiansted bypass,” USVI Division of Festivals, Assistant Director, Shamari Haynes said. “Entertainment was inclusive of both local and international acts featuring some of the very best in the soca and calypso industries Caribbean wide. I thank the Crucian community for doing their part and I pray that this is the first few steps in the right direction.”

Although each island’s celebrations are months apart — with the Crucian Christmas Festival traditionally starting in December and leading into a January finale — it appears the territory has achieved three incident-free cultural events in under a year.