ST. THOMAS — V.I. Governor Kenneth E. Mapp declared a State of Emergency in the territory on Thursday, Aug. 27, at 11 p.m. and imposed a curfew across the territory “to protect the lives and property of the residents and visitors.”
Gov. Mapp’s order also froze consumer prices, deputized all territorial peace officers and placed each of them under the direct supervision of the Police Commissioner and activated the Virgin Islands National Guard, placing the VING into Territorial Military Service.
The Governor determined that these actions were necessary after being briefed by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works and the Executive Director of the V.I. Water and Power Authority that trees, poles and electrical lines were down across the Virgin Islands.
Two Drive-by Shootings Reported
In addition, the Police Commissioner reported that under the cover of darkness, two drive-by shootings had occurred.
Governor Mapp’s order imposed an immediate curfew across the territory until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, “or until such time the safety of residents are secure.” The Governor noted that more rain and wind gusts were expected through 4 a.m. Aug. 28, and conditions in the territory were expected to worsen.
The State of Emergency also froze prices throughout the Territory. The Commissioner of the Department of licensing and Consumer was directed to enforce this provision of the declaration of emergency.
“All peace officers are hereby deputized as law enforcement officers of the Virgin Islands specifically to perform public safety functions as required by the Governor during this stator of emergency and shall immediately report to the Commissioner of Police, or his or her designated representative on each island to perform as the Police Commissioner shall direct,” according to the Governor’s order.
National Guard Activated
“As Commander in Chief, I have ordered the Virgin Islands National Guard into Territorial Active Military Service,” the Governor said in his order. “The Adjutant General shall mobilize such units of the Guard as are necessary to maintain public order and guarantee the safety of life and property of our residents and visitors alike.”
At mid-morning on Friday, Aug. 28, Gov. Mapp was to lead a team, making an aerial assessment of the conditions of all of the Virgin Islands. “I am asking our residents and visitors to remain indoors and off the public roadways while we clear, repair and restore safe conditions in the territory.”
Many residents were caught unaware that the curfew had been imposed overnight upoon venturing out on Friday morning. The curfew shut down ferry service between St. Thomas and St. John so there were no published announcements of the curfew.
“I thank all of our dedicated employees for their hard work and sacrifice away from home during this difficult period,” the Governor concluded. “In the end, we will be fine, the Governor said. In the meantime, stay home, stay dry and stay safe.”