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Territory Administrators Assure Residents of Commitment to Community, Encourage Communication in Times of Need

Territory administrators urge residents to be prepared for emergencies and remind individuals to reach out if necessary. (Photo courtesy V.I. Health Department Facebook)
Territory administrators urge residents to be prepared for emergencies and remind individuals to reach out if necessary. (Photo courtesy V.I. Health Department Facebook)

With frequent and ongoing power outages across the Virgin Islands and hurricane season now underway, USVI residents are reminded that they are not alone, and assistance is available.

Power outages have long been a significant inconvenience for residents and visitors across the USVI. However, recent outages, which have been described as having reached a point of crisis across the islands, can be dangerous for individuals who do not have access to safe or healthy living conditions, or who cannot afford a generator. For instance, during extreme heat, elderly residents or those with special needs may require air conditioning to help avoid heat-related illnesses.

The Source spoke with territory administrators for St. Croix and St. John, the territory administrator for St. Thomas, and Government House Communications Director Richard Motta regarding options for residents who may require aid during times of crisis. All individuals stressed the importance of caring for the community and encouraged residents to reach out if they need help, regardless of whether or not the issue is related to a power failure. While individuals should call 911 during a severe or life-threatening emergency, administrators (who hold mayoral-type roles on each major island across the territory) want constituents to know they can assist.

St. Croix Assistance for Residents

Sammuel Sanes, St. Croix administrator, advised that residents be prepared for emergencies and keep important phone numbers nearby (including his number).

“Even when the power is not out, [residents who may] need some type of assistance or [need] information can call me on my number, and I will try to assist as much as possible,” Sanes said. Sanes offered his mobile number for individuals on St. Croix.

“I give everybody my cell number as the administrator of St. Croix,” Sanes said. “I will try to assist with any issue or at least point you in the right direction,” he continued. Sanes can be reached at 340-690-8861.

Suggestions for items to include in an emergency supply kit. (Photo courtesy Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency)
Suggestions for items to include in an emergency supply kit. (Photo courtesy Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency)

Sanes recommended that residents prepare an emergency supply kit for crises, especially during hurricane season. With a potentially very active season this year, Sanes noted that it is particularly crucial to store essential documents, which can be challenging to obtain if they are destroyed. Sanes offered to assist St. Croix residents with transferring important paperwork onto a digital storage drive at no cost. Interested persons can contact Sanes and schedule a meeting at his office.

“[Obtaining important documents that are lost is] one of the hardest things to do after a natural disaster or manmade disaster,” Sanes stated. “I encourage everybody [to store documents either at my office or on your own]. I will even provide you with a waterproof envelope where you can put your documents to make them even safer,” he added.

Sanes also advised residents to contact the Human Services Department during times of need and to dial 911 during a life-threatening situation.

St. Thomas/Water Island and St. John Assistance for Residents

Shikima Jones-Sprauve, St. John administrator, echoed this sentiment. Jones-Sprauve told the Source that she is eager to offer help to the island community. She noted that elderly persons are regularly contacted through services provided by the V.I. Human Services Department. She also offered her personal phone number for anyone who may require aid on St. John but is not facing a dangerous or life-threatening emergency. Jones-Sprauve also expressed gratitude to Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr., for consistently checking in with her regarding the well-being of people living on St. John.

“We are a tight-knit community, and we come together in times of disaster,” Jones-Sprauve declared. Jones-Sprauve can be contacted at 340-474-5762 or 340-776-6484.

Finally, the Source contacted Kevin Rodriquez, temporary St. Thomas/Water Island District administrator, and spoke with Government House Communications Director Richard Motta Jr., who was present at the interview. Motta explained that St. Thomas/Water Island residents can also contact Jones-Sprauve directly for any help.

“[Shikima Jones-Sprauve] will either connect [St. Thomas/Water Island residents] with the resources that they need or provide direct assistance [for both St. John and for St. Thomas/Water Island],” Motta said.

During serious emergencies, USVI residents should dial 911. However, residents are encouraged to contact territory administrators, the V.I. Human Services Department, and the V.I. Health Department regarding non-critical circumstances requiring help.

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