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HomeNewsArchivesStrong VIPD Presence Makes for Peaceful J'ouvert

Strong VIPD Presence Makes for Peaceful J'ouvert

Thankfully,this year's J'ouvert went off without incident.Peace was the watchword Thursday morning as hundreds of revelers marched, danced, sang and jumped-up, regaling themselves in laughter and outrageous costumes as the Carnival J’ouvert tramp celebrated "Bacchanal Again for 2010."
On Wednesday The Source reported that despite a strong presence at most events warming up to the always–raucous J’ouvert celebration, VIPD brass has urged residents to be on the alert during Carnival. "We simply can’t be everywhere," said St. Thomas Chief Rodney Querrard.
Well, perhaps not everywhere, but Querrard came close Thursday with eyes from the sky, as he monitored the action in a military-looking olive drab helicopter following the tramp up and down Veterans Drive.
Later in the day, the VIPD released a statement on the celebration’s success. "We had high visibility with complete saturation on the ground by VIPD and other law enforcement officers and air surveillance by helicopter," Querrard said. "The public cooperated fully with police even quelling minor quarrels on their own, which was a vital component. The message of our intense public media campaign was effective."
Querrard said, "VIPD officers were augmented by the V.I. National Guard and other local law enforcement including officials from: Lottery, Taxi, DPNR, Territorial Court, V.I. Port Authority, Licensing, and Corrections. The use of the helicopter was made possible by Commissioner Francis. Through his affiliation with the High-Intensity Drug Task Force, the commissioner made arrangements with officials in Puerto Rico for the use of the chopper."
Last year several acts of violence forced police to shut down J’ouvert hours early and clear the streets for the day. On Thursday, DJ Eddie’s truck got into the spirit of things, sporting a large sign, "DJ Eddie Say Stop the Violence and Just Enjoy Bacchanal 2010."
As usual, it started late, music cracking the quiet dawn about 5 a.m, but with the actual bands appearing later. And as usual, nobody really objected. The anxiety of seeing who is coming down the road first is part of the fun. "I can’t count the years I’ve been coming," said veteran J’ouvert attendee Ralph "Raffie" Danet with a laugh. "And I can’t remember it ever starting on time."
Father Charles Crespo of St. Anne’s Chapel was busy keeping the beat with parishioners Danet and his wife, Olivia. "I live at the rectory, which overlooks Veterans Drive," he said. "The music was so loud from the Democratic headquarters across the street, that I felt that the band was in my living room."
Belke Testamark and Elaine Green take a minute from the tramp to model J’ouvert long socks.However, he had the situation well in hand. "After a while, I figured if I had to listen," he said, "I might as well come down and join in on the fun."
Dotted among the noisy "jump-uppers" waving the traditional white towels high overhead, the V.I. National Guard presence was strong. The crowd, though rambunctious, seemed unusually well-behaved. "They’d better be," said VING Col. Orville Bourke, as he kept a careful eye on the revelers.
It looked like this year’s fashion item was, mostly for females, long socks in striped, plaids, bright and imaginative patterns. Of course, a few guys found them irresistible as well. Great big bunny shoes look to be back in again as well.
By about 7:30 the bands were teeming down the road with the sound of live music, winding up with the traditional and ever-popular favorite, Jam Band.

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