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October 30, 2003

Ronnie's Rantings: Driving in Paradise

Hopefully this will be the start of something new Anthony has asked me to do!! I will call it Ronnie's Rantings. Sounds good to me!

This past week there was a letter in one of the local papers complaining of driving habits here. The answer came shortly after from a writer in St. John, telling them to deal with it, that's what adds to the make up of this paradise. The writer went on to tell them, 'where else will someone stop to let you into traffic or toot to you saying thanks when you let them into traffic. Sure people stop to chat, but it's what makes it quaint.'

So, I have said that to get to my rant. Sure I think it's quaint to do the little things we do, that we have been doing for the past decades, BUT, these things did not include: running red lights, running stop signs, blocking intersections, tailgaiting, parking illegally all the time, making up your own road rules, NO, they did not, these are the ugly things we need to get under control.

Police actually watch people make moving violations and do nothing about it, BUT, don't have your car registered and on the first day of the following month they are out there looking for you! Not even a moving violation. Go figure.

A former cop today told me, after I said to him that another had told me that most of them are just working for the check every two weeks, he said "they won't ticket anyone because they don't want to have to go to court!' So, should we be stuck with this? Hope not. I guess it's time we start screaming at the Commisioner, police chief, Governor, Senator , Administrator, whomever.
I am going to start tomorrow! I am going to call the Administrator and give him a piece of my mind about a &*%$#5@ six wheel huge dump truck parked in front of my property, that the police don't seem to want to do something about. I will give him a piece of my mind and then some!

What do you think about all this?

Posted by Ronnie at October 30, 2003 09:32 PM


So where is the rant??

Posted by: Anthony at October 30, 2003 09:55 PM

You're too quick. Don't know what I did before, but here it is!

Posted by: Ronnie at October 30, 2003 10:16 PM

Now that is a rant. Something meaty to discuss. One of the things I like the most about living on this island is that people WILL let you into traffic, with a smile, especially in the morning coming down Mafolie Hill, or trying to leave the Sugar Estate Post Office, etc. Whenever someone does beep a horn at me here I am usually very surprised. Driving on St. Thomas is a challenge but it shouldn't have to be dangerous - it would be nice if some traffic laws were fairly and evenly enforced.

Posted by: Anthony at October 30, 2003 10:34 PM

Well Ronnie, if island time is a real thing, then that %#@*&!* dump truck is gonna be there for a while. Now THAT would even make a New Englander rant. As far as your local law enforcement, unfortunately my friend, it's kinda the same in lots of places. They don't want the paper work, they don't wanna sit in court all morning, sometimes they just don't want to do their job. Hopefully, they are the few and not the many......

Posted by: Howie at October 31, 2003 12:52 AM

Good rant...same rant I have heard on almost every island in the Caribbean. The cement trucks are a force to reckoned with at the car ferry especially on a busy construction day and they get priority. I do not know if they pay more or pay much of anything. More construction and villas being built in paradise means more traffic. The only island I have been on that has a decent police force that regulates traffic and violators is Grand Cayman. Get a ticket there and the fines start at $250.00 and if you are not a Caymanian resident, you can bet you pay before you leave the island. Keep on ranting !!! There are many topics to cover. Go Ronnie.

Posted by: way2old at October 31, 2003 02:44 AM

Ronnie: Tailgating and blasting through red lights are my pet peeves, especially since they are just plain life-threatening. I'm not so upset with speeding, as long as it isn't reckless. Recklessness needs punishment. Since I drive a rental on St. John one week a year, and am very careful due to "drive left" and my krewe in the back of the Safari, I'm sure the locals think I'm in their way. I try to allow them to pass when I can, and I maintain the speed. Do you have any suggestions for "tourist drivers"?

Posted by: JSS3. at October 31, 2003 09:58 AM

Speeding, we all have to do. (Did some of it myself!)After all, with a speed limit of 20 in town and 35 in the country for STT and STJ, how can you not speed. There is some excessive speeders though. Here I am stopped by a crosswalk (I do stop for those who cross in the crosswalk. Cross anywhere else and I will not stop!) and a guy flies right by me in the turn lane by the main post office, fortunately for the old man crossing, he had not progressed far enough, or he would have been bounced all the way to the RLS Hospital emergency room!! No ambulance needed!That guy couldn't see him. It would have been awful, as he was flying about 50 mph!

To J Cubed, I like it in STJ when you approach a tourist, most of them pull over and let you pass rather than having you tailgate! Do continue to follow your regular road rules like you do back home though, unless your are reckless back home, knowing you! You should see the 'locals' that moved here, they should know better, but they lose all their stateside driving rules and pick up on the local ones!

Posted by: Ronnie at October 31, 2003 10:30 AM

Great rant, Ronnie, I look forward to more. I don't know what traffic tickets cost there, on island (don't plan to find out), but maybe if the government upped the fine, then gave a small cut (5% or 10%) to the officer upon "conviction" fewer would violate and more tickets would be written. A couple of $250 tickets would make me slow down, and an extra $25 bucks in a cop's pocket can't hurt either.

Thanks for letting us know that the locals appreciate it when we pull over to let them by. I do have to say, though, that it takes some getting used to being honked at for a nice reason. It drove us nuts our first trip down, but now we like the "quaint-ness" of the tradition and add our own little toot now and again.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 31, 2003 11:07 AM

Hey, I like this! Long as you're ranting, we may as well wish. If all the locals were only allowed to drive mopeds, and all the tourists were allowed only to drive those pick-up truck thingies with the canopy on the back. or better yet, all of the local police could only drive the mopeds, and everyone else drove trucks...then they might do something about the traffic violators. Or not......just some random musings...

Ronnie...ever thought about running for Sheriff? Or Police Chief?

Posted by: CariBert at October 31, 2003 11:22 AM

I cut my driving teeth on the roads of St. Thomas. Never have I had so much fun driving, except maybe along Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California. I dubbed myself the "King of Nordside" because there wasn't a soul in my book who could keep up with me in my 1979 V8 Mustang. Not that I'm exactly proud of it now that I'm an old responsible adult, but a policeman tried to catch me one night after he spotted me speeding near 4 Corners on Crown Mountain Road. I sped towards the Agricultural Station and pulled into a small road across from Nordside Grocery where I shut my engine and headlights off. A few seconds later the police car went speeding by, unawares of my whereabouts. Ahhh, the memories.

There's a simple solution to the police not wanting to issue tickets because of the hassle involved. Their performance reviews should hinge on how many tickets they issue. Now I'm not advocating ticket quotas. However the assumption should be that there are people breaking traffic laws. The policeman's job is to catch them. Those that do on a consistent basis should be given higher priorities for advancement and salary increases. When government employees are rewarded for the quality of work they perform, and not solely on the number of years on the job, then a number of problems will cease to exist.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Posted by: Richard N. Kurpiers at October 31, 2003 02:13 PM

You'll be proud of me. I did call Government House yesterday, left a message for the Administrator. He returned my call by the afternoon. I told him I needed to go over a few things, but needed help with the dump truck. He said he would get on it and it was gone this morning. Now, whether it was his doing or not, I don't know. We'll see how this goes, as I will be calling him again on some other subjects.

Then, this morning, there is a Radio One show called, The Cop Show, where someone from the police gets on there to talk about whatever. I called and asked about when the cops will start to enforce the traffic laws, which he said they were doing. I laughed and then offered the idea brought forth here about raising the fines and giving the officers a commission of some sort, which he thought silly, but then came around and said he would discuss it with the Commissioner! Another cop called in afterward and agreed with it!(of course)

Now, he says the the Commissioner has an idea of asking for community volunteers to help them out. I said to myself, great! Give me a ticket book and a gun and I will help! But to my dismay, it was to come into the office and free up some of the cops on desk jobs, so they can get back out in the field. So, if you want to volunteer, you can, they will investigate you and than see what you can do, and maybe you work like 3 hours a week! Told him I will call him on Monday to discuss it. Maybe as a mole on the inside, they will take my ideas seriously! Who knows? It's worth a shot!
Will let you know how it goes.

Posted by: Ronnie at November 1, 2003 10:50 PM

Sometimes you wake up on a Sunday morning and well, everything looks great. And than a vision occurs.....Ronnie The Cop wearing a Sam Brown & those spit polished boots that Motorcycle cops wear. And those wire framed peeps they all wear, with the.....Damn, it's the VI version of the Village People.

Posted by: allan at November 2, 2003 12:51 PM

hi, i have a hlf finished letter to the editor regarding the roads on st john. I call it ky daily dance with death. fish bay to coral bay and back to fish bay, 6 days aweek. I have a near death experience daily....whats it gonna be, death by cement truck? run off the road by a 18 wheeler, squashed like a bug by a flatbed carryin a's getting really bad! It wasnt like this a year ago..., I have driven here for 10 years, I've driven in nyc and boston, but i have never had to deal with this type of reckless," own the road" driving mentality.
no horns, no lead cars, speeding around blind curves in two lanes....VERY BIG TRUCKS!

that's my 2 cents

Posted by: lisa at November 2, 2003 04:21 PM

Hey Ronnie & Anthony.....this Lisa is much better at ranting than Ronnie. But I think I know why....but I think Ms Promoguy also rants very well

Posted by: allan at November 2, 2003 04:40 PM

just, imho, the worst drivers on stj are the "T-Plates" that come over from STT....and the tourist rentals rank BEHIND the st thomians.....Ronnie and other present company expcepted of course!

in particular, are the delivery trucks trying to do their rounds and get back to the barge, visiting cement trucks (thee blue ones from STT cement in particular), teh decrepit dump trucks that make the nighttime runs for majestic up centerline with bald tires as smooth as a baby's butt and held together with chicken wire, and i am nearly plowed into on a daily basis by a T-Plates that come plowing down centerline past dolphin market by the gas station blissfully unaware of the stop sign and do 25 mph thru the school crosswalk.....they are somehow able to fly thru the drain-bumps that keep the rest of us going slower....but everyone, tho, is guilty of coming back from the beach and careening down the hill and speeding past mongoose recklessly...........just had to run on a bit...figuratively AND literally ....later

Posted by: Eric on St John at November 3, 2003 12:54 AM

Thanks Eric, I do understand what you mean. Those truckers drive the same way over here! You don't have the pleasure of being run off the road by a St. Thomas propane gas truck however! Those guys are given 'x' amount of tanks to deliver in a day. As soon as they are finished, they are usually done for the day, so they drive like maniacs. No matter the company! We also have those large trucks driving late night(one of which is back parked in front of my property again, grrr) whenever they are hauling stuff like the sand dredged from the harbor. They are paid per load, so speed gives them more loads! And where are the cops when they are doing this? Can't be drinking beer at Coki, those bars are closed at night!

Posted by: Ronnie at November 3, 2003 10:11 AM

for those stj'ians... on p 19 of our little yellow stj phone books, it makes mention of a 1953 proposition to limit "the number and size of vehicles on the island"... does anyone know if that motion ever went anywhere? ;)
mmmm, no more doublewide taxis, niiiice

Posted by: kudzu at November 4, 2003 09:26 PM

Whine bitch and cry. You people are so.... provincial... cain't you understand that progress is on the side of big trucks. And "kudzu".... you are a green menace. I know who the originator of your vegetation-origination was in Mississippi. He took a beating for his attempt at curbing run-off and erosion by importing a vine. Hope it never reaches the USVI! It is a scurge here in LA too. JSS3.

Posted by: JSS3. at November 7, 2003 12:27 AM

A little too much of the single malt J Cubed? You are too funny! Look out for the new rant this weekend!

Posted by: Ronnie at November 7, 2003 08:18 AM

I was talking to a hotel owner on our arrival in STT last week. Said he had a bad day. His car was towed for an expired tag.$185 for the tow and the driver wanted to drop him around the corner , said the cops would not bother him again. Sounds like a scam to me.

Posted by: Tom at November 9, 2003 10:32 PM