Updated: Aug 4
Senator Genevieve Whitaker Intercedes in efforts to obtain progress on the status of Office of Interior funding for Virgin Islands Police Department Camera System
St. Croix, Virgin Islands (U.S.) — Senator Genevieve Whitaker expressed great concern over the recent increase of armed robberies and acts of gun violence that has occurred in the territory over the past few weeks. With the latest violent shooting on St. Croix bringing the territory's number of homicides to 32, as well as a number of reported robberies at places like the Christiansted Boardwalk and McDonald’s Golden Rock in recent weeks, and the unfortunate incident of a local woman who was murdered and callously left on the side of the road. Senator Whitaker and staff offers condolences to their loved ones and all the victims of crime, which is the basis of her motivation to work diligently on acquiring any and all available federal funds that can assist the Police department.
Whitaker on Friday shared that in her role as the Senate Liaison to the Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) she has reached out to inquire on the status of OIA Funding for Installation of Security Cameras for the territory. “This week I have been in contact with the Department of Interior’s, Office of Insular Affairs, as well as the Commissioner Nominee of the Virgin Islands Police department (VIPD), Ray Martinez to determine the status of $1,500,000.00 of OIA funding that was awarded to the Virgin Islands for street surveillance cameras that would assist local police with criminal investigations and apprehension,” stated Senator Whitaker. Senator Whitaker said she received assurances from both Interior and VIPD, that the Grant award process is in its final stages now that the VIPD and the Office of Management and Budget has submitted its scope of Work requirement for the grant funding and Interior plans to release monies upon approval of the final transition. “As a member of the 34th Legislature's Subcommittee on Public Safety and Health, I believe this will benefit us greatly if we can get this money to the VIPD as soon as possible, these cameras can be the technologic advantage the department needs to help curb the criminal element in our communities,” said Whitaker. Also, Senator Whitaker highlights legislation that she has drafted to address dealing with the root causes of criminality in our community, citing her Youth Court bill that establishes a system for criminal cases involving young people under the age of 18. It calls for a less formal setting than other courts and encourages participation by the young person and their family. “I also am a strong advocate for education and workforce programs, youth agricultural projects, as well as more apprenticeships in our community.” expressed Senator Whitaker. “Apprenticeships especially provide our young people with positive avenues and lucrative opportunities, they prevent teenage delinquency by helping young people learn and practice social and emotional skills, good business practices, social awareness.” stated Senator Whitaker
“But the chief problem in any community cursed with crime is not Punishment of the criminals, but the preventing of the young from being trained to crime.” W.E.B. Du Bois