St. John Tradewinds News

Governor deJongh Imposes Tuesday Night Curfew; Government To Reopen Wednesday

A fallen tree at the Westin Resort.

As the territory’s recovery from Hurricane Earl continued Tuesday with a focus on electrical power restoration, clearing roadways in the territory and reopening public schools, Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. and Lt. Governor Gregory heard initial assessment reports from the leaders of the Water and Power Authority, Public Works and the Department of Education as well as information about the status of the territory’s seaports and airports, which both reopened today. De Jongh said that the Virgin Islands government will resume operations on Wednesday. All government employees are to report at their regularly scheduled times.

Boats washed ashore in Chocolate Hole.

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The governor imposed an 11pm–5am curfew in the St. Thomas-St. John district given the relatively small percentage of power that has been restored.

“St. Croix’s power restoration is moving ahead of the St. Thomas-St. John district at this time as the electrical distribution system was compromised more by fallen tree branches and snapped electrical poles,” de Jongh said.

WAPA Director Hugo Hodge, Jr. and his staff updated the public regularly on efforts to restore power throughout the two island districts.

De Jongh said that based on assessments conducted by the Education Department on Tuesday, public schools will remain closed to students on Wednesday.  However, all Education department employees, including teachers, maintenance and custodian staff and administrators, are asked to report for regular duty on Wednesday to begin preparations for the opening day of school. Several schools were impacted by heavy rains and tropical force winds associated with Hurricane Earl and experienced considerable flooding in several classrooms. Many campuses were littered with hurricane debris.

“The Department of Education, with assistance from the Department of Public Works and other government agencies, will continue its clean-up efforts throughout the evening hours on Tuesday and throughout the day on Wednesday. While the opening of schools remains our number one priority, we must ensure that our children return to a safe and clean environment,” de Jongh said.

The Department of Education, with help from several agencies, is moving expeditiously in this recovery effort and parents are asked for their continued patience. The Department of Education also announced the suspension of its lunch program and bus transportation until the reopening of public schools.

Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said Tuesday that the department’s recovery focus is the reopening of the primary routes in the districts. “We are removing a large volume of fallen tree branches and limbs, downed power and utility lines and hurricane debris. Once the main arteries are cleared, the department will focus its efforts on the secondary routes and side streets.”

Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Robert S. Mathes on Tuesday urged residents and visitors to avoid swimming in Virgin Islands beaches. “Until we are able to carry out water testing to determine the quality of the beach water, it is advisable to avoid swimming in the beaches of the territory.”

More boats on Chocolate Hole Beach.

Debris along Centerline Road.

Damage at the Cruz Bay dinghy dock.

Sailboats wash ashore at Great Cruz Bay.

Another sailboat washed ashore at Great Cruz Bay.

Power pole down at Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay.

Fallen trees block the entrance to Connections East.

A yellow cedar is blown down over South Shore Road.

ZoZo’s roof-top bar awning was torn off.