Virgin Islands, U.S. – Senator Samuel Carrión is calling on the Governor of the Virgin Islands, Albert Bryan, Jr., and Delegate to Congress, Stacey E. Plaskett, to appeal to President Joe Biden, urging him to include the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Department of Justice’s recently announced “strike force” initiative.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, launched five cross-sectional strike forces to tackle gun violence and curb the supply of firearms being illegally trafficked into key regions nationwide. The five key regions are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento Region, and Washington, D.C. Led by U.S. attorneys in each of the areas,
the prosecutors will work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and state and local law enforcement to identify patterns, leads, and possible suspects in violent gun crimes.
“The inclusion of $600,000 in the FY 2022 budget to fund the Office of Gun Violence Prevention… and the recent announcement that American Rescue Plan funding can be used to combat crimes are both steps in the right direction,” Senator Carrión stated in a letter to the Governor and Congresswoman, “however, we must take advantage of any and all federal assistance available.”
“The bottom line is that our community is overwhelmed,” the Senator continued, “The constant gun crimes we have been experiencing over the last several years are devastating, and the pandemic has not made the situation any less bad- especially on the island of St. Croix. Families are losing children- particularly sons, fathers, and brothers- to gun crimes.”
During the last four years, there have been nearly 200 homicides in the territory. So far in 2021, there have already been 29 homicides in the territory, with 23- or 79%- of the deaths occurring on the island of St. Croix.
“It is no secret that our territory has been used as an entry point for the illegal trafficking of guns, drugs, and other criminal markets due to its strategic location within the Caribbean,” Senator Carrión continued, “It is more important now than ever that we lobby for the territory.”
“Therefore, I am humbly asking,” the Senator concluded, “let’s move forward on this initiative and protect the people of our Virgin Islands, together.”