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POLICE, CARNIVAL OFFICIALS SAY SECURITY ADEQUATE

April 9, 2002 – In the wake of two separate stabbings at the Carnival king and queen show Saturday night on St. Thomas, police and V.I. Carnival Committee authorities say plans are in place and security will be adquate for the remaining festivities — even with thousands of sailors expected to be ashore from a visiting aircraft carrier at the end of the month.
The stabbings at the Carnival royalty talent and selection show in Lionel Roberts Stadiulm occurred just minutes apart, according to a statement from Deputy Police Chief Theodore Carty.
The release said that in the first assault, which took place shortly after 11:30 p.m., a 20-year-old Contant man was knifed multiple times in the head and back. Police said there are no suspects in the case. Nine minutes later, an 18-year-old was stabbed several times in the right arm, back and abdomen. Police said a minor was arrested in connection with this incident.
Carty said Tuesday the violence isn't a matter of inadequate security. Violent incidents will occur despite the best efforts of the police, he said. "You can't stop these things from happening.," he said.
Carnival events over the years have been the scene of violence. On the final weekend of V.I. Carnival 2001, police received nearly a dozen reports of gunfire across St. Thomas and a man was hospitalized after being shot five times in the legs as he tried to catch a ride along Veterans Drive. In the final 24 hours of the 1999 Fourth of July Celebration on St. John, a 14-year-old boy was fatally shot and six persons were injured in shooting and stabbing incidents in Cruz Bay.
On Tuesday, Kenneth Blake, V.I. Carnival Committee chair — and a veteran police officer, called Saturday's two stabbings an "isolated incident." He said it was the first such violence that has occurred during the queen competition and said police responded quickly to both incidents.
He cited a rise in the number of young people attending the show this year and the fact that the pageant included male contenders as a possible reason. "It's the first time in years we had kings running," he said. "I guess the young boys brought out their fans."
According to Blake, security for the remaining Carnival events will be adequate. "The Police Department has a plan and they're going to do a good job," he said.
Carty said he plans to beef up security from last year's level, but that's because the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS George Washington will be calling at St. Thomas at the end of the month and he wants to prevent any problems as a result of that visit coinciding with the finale of Carnival 2002.
The nuclear-powered ship, currently involved in training exercises off Puerto Rico, carries a crew of more than 6,000. Blake said the arrival of such a large group of sailors does create worries for Carnival organizers, but he said local security forces will have help from the Navy's own shore patrol. Also, he said, he hopes to see the community pitch in to help keep the Navy personnel out of trouble — such as warning sailors that they see heading into potentially dangerous areas.
"The key here is for each and every citizen in the Virgin Islands, especially St. Thomas, to keep your eyes and ears open and call 911," Blake said. "The police cannot be here, there and everywhere. Citizens have to be the eyes and ears of the police."
Carty said he is enlisting community assistance, too, and expects to circulate a list of warnings and practical advice to the public next week concerning Carnival activities.
Police put in a substantial amount of overtime on Carnival detail each year, Carty said, paid for by the V.I. government, not the Carnival Committee. He said more officers will be on security detail this year than in the past because more people are expected to attend Carnival events. "We have to do it," he said.
Additional security, Blake said, is paid for by the Carnival Committee. "We hire off-duty peace officers" employed in other government areas, he said. "It's really to augment the Police Department, because we know they are short handed. We want everybody who comes to the ballpark to be safe."
For ongoing updates on 2002 V.I. Carnival events, see the Community/Other stuff section of St. Thomas Source, and particularly the Carnival 2002 Schedule.
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