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Man Stabbed In Neck and Head At St. Thomas Hotel

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Police are investigating after a man was stabbed in a shuttered St. Thomas motel early this morning.

Officers responded to a call from 911 Emergency dispatchers about a “Black male who was stabbed in neck and head area in Old Michelle Motel in Contant” at 4:30 a.m. today, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Officers met the victim at the Schneider Regional Medical Center, who was being treated for the injuries sustained to neck area, according to the VIPD.

“The victim told the detectives, he was sleeping when he was attacked by an unknown male,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The victim, further stated after being attacked he ran for help towards the Sunrise Cove Apartments.”

The victim suffered a deep laceration on the right side of his neck, deep laceration from the back to the front of his head and laceration to the face, according to Dratte.

This incident is currently under active investigation by police. 

CIB is asking anyone with information about this incident to call 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 774-2211, or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1(800) 222-8477 or online at p3tips.com

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UVI Employee Faces Life In Prison For Sexual Assault

With some of the lowest academic standards in the world, the University of the Virgin Islands is forced to take what it can get in terms of faculty and staff.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Federal prosecutors said today that a man employed by the University of the Virgin Islands is a dangerous sexual predator and asked the court to hold him without bail.

Bridges Randle Jr., 47, of Memphis, was arrested by warrant and charged with raping a woman in 2000 while serving as a Tennessee police officer, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.

Randle appeared in a St. Thomas courtroom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an initial appearance based on charges issued by the Western District of Tennessee.

The warrant stems from a federal indictment which charges Randle with committing a civil rights offense that included aggravated sexual abuse, according to Smith. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

According to court records, Randle, who is also known as “Ajamu Abiola
Banjoko” and “Oluwafemi Abiola Banjoko”, is charged with sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty as a police officer with the Memphis Police Department.

UVI Employee Faces Life In Prison For Sexual Assault
UVI employee Bridges Randle also went by the names “Ajamu Abiola
Banjoko” and “Oluwafemi Abiola Banjoko,” authorities say.

According to the indictment, Randle sexually assaulted the woman after he was dispatched to a vandalism call at her residence on June 24, 2000.

Randle was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents as he was on his way to work at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) this morning.

If convicted, Randle faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Randle is listed on the UVI staff directory as “Oluwafemi Banjoko — Ph.D.” and is employed as “Senior Contracts & Grants Specialist.”

UVI spokeswoman Tamika Thomas Williams explained the hiring of Randle this way tonight.

“According to the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Oluwafemi Banjoko is an alias of Randall [sic]. Prior to hiring Dr. Banjoko, the university used a third-party service to conduct a background check,” Thomas Williams said. “The university had no knowledge of any criminal warrant. UVI has immediately convened an investigation into this matter.

UVI Employee Faces Life In Prison For Sexual Assault
Memphis Police Department mugshot of Bridges Randle Jr.

“Banjoko has been suspended pending the university’s investigation and the case in District Court. UVI thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this case. The university takes these matters seriously and it is our highest priority to ensure the safety of the UVI community.” 

Thomas Williams spelled Randle’s name incorrectly as “Randall” in UVI’s prepared statement. She does not respond to reporter’s questions.

According to U.S. News and World Report, UVI is one of the top 100 “easiest universities” to attend in the United States. The St. Thomas-based university accepts “100 percent” of student applicants.

It is Associated Press style to not put a “Dr.” in front of someone’s name if they are not an actual medical doctor; however, the Virgin Islands Free Press will allow academic doctoral degrees to be used if they are part of a direct quote.

This case is being investigated by the FBI Memphis Field Office and is being prosecuted by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division.

United States Attorney Smith reminds the public that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

https://news.yahoo.com/former-mpd-officer-indicted-sexually-192007262.html

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-memphis-police-officer-indicted-sexually-assaulting-female-crime-victim

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People With Respiratory Problems Urged To Avoid Sahara Dust

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is informing the public of an air pollution alert for dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa.

The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, which reduces the visibility and results in poor air quality. This results in dust storms and a rise in warm air.

These sandy dust particles are transported from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico have confirmed that the bulk of the current dust episodes are decreasing and will continue to clear through tomorrow, and that the territory should see the tail end of the storm by Wednesday.

People With Respiratory Problems Urged To Avoid Sahara Dust

There will be another dust episode of similar intensity passing through the territory during the weekend.

While this haze may not be an immediate threat, persons with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or healthcare professional for further guidance.

Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and throughout the summer months.

For more information contact the Division of Environmental Protection at 340-773-1082 or go to
www.nasa.gov or http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/TIST.html.

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OBITUARY NOTICE: Megan N. Frazier, 37, of St. Thomas

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Megan N. Frazier, 37, died unexpectedly in her apartment in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on June 6, 2022. Megan was born September 9, 1984, in New Castle, Indiana, to Donald and Jan Frazier. In her youth she loved music, playing the piano, clarinet, and bassoon through early childhood and throughout college.

She graduated from Shenandoah High School in Middletown, Indiana, in 2003 and went on to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, graduating in 2007 with a degree in logistics and intermodal transportation as well as a 2nd lieutenant commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve. During her time at the Merchant Marine Academy, she played clarinet in the renowned Regimental Band, playing for President George W. Bush’s inauguration parade in 2005 and later Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit. She also achieved her deck officer’s license in 2007 in the U.S. Coast Guard.

After college, Megan began working in the maritime industry, eventually settling in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, where she became a port operations manager for several years, moved on to St. Thomas Cargo, and eventually accepting a position in customer service with Yacht Haven Grande. On the island, she enjoyed spending time with friends and colleagues as well as spending time with her son Seamus at the beach. She will be remembered for her fun-loving nature, sparkling sense of humor, and love of body art.

Megan is survived by her son, Seamus Robert Mitchell, age 6, of St. Thomas; and his father, Drew Mitchell; parents, Donald and Jan Frazier (née Berg), Sulphur Springs, Ind.; brother, Patrick Frazier (Mackenzie, née Nixon) and their children, Parker, Molly, and Eloise, Daleville, Ind.; and special friend, Nicole Isaac.

Megan was preceded in death by her grandparents, John and Doris (née Anderson) Berg and Merrill Frazier and Joan Frazier (née Niblock)

Services are to be determined.

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NHC Monitoring Area of Low Pressure In Caribbean Sea

MIAMI The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area of low pressure in the Caribbean Sea, along with four tropical waves in the Atlantic basin.

“An area of low pressure is expected to develop by the middle part of this week over the southwestern Caribbean Sea,” the NHC said. “Some slow development of this system is possible while it drifts generally northwestward off the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras.”

The hurricane center listed a 20 percent chance of a tropical depression forming from the system over the next five days.

For the North Atlantic…Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Southwestern Caribbean Sea: Disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the southwestern Caribbean Sea are associated with a trough of low pressure.

Gradual development of this system is possible while it drifts northwestward near the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras, and it could become a tropical depression late this week if the disturbance remains over water.

Regardless of development, this system could produce periods of heavy rainfall across portions of eastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late this week.

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…10 percent.

* Formation chance through five days…medium…40 percent.

This 2022 hurricane season has already seen its first named storm, Tropical Storm Alex.

It formed from the remnants of the first Pacific storm of the season, Hurricane Agatha.

The Hurricane Center also is keeping an eye on two systems in the eastern Pacific.

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Dominica Hosts West Indies vs. Bangladesh In T20I Cricket

ROSEAU Dominica said Monday international cricket will return to the Windsor Park Sports Stadium for the first time since May 2017, with two back-to-back games starting on July 2, 2022.

The Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Roseau, Dominica will officially be one of the T20I venues for the Bangladesh tour of the West Indies. The full schedule for each game is now confirmed with each match featuring Bangladesh vs. West Indies.

Dominica has hosted four international cricket matches at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium, the first ODI West Indies vs Bangladesh in July 2009, followed by a second ODI, West Indies vs South Africa in May 2010, the first T20I West Indies vs New Zealand in July 2014 and the last being a Test Match, West Indies v Pakistan from May 10-14, 2017.

Director of Tourism, Colin Piper, “The Discover Dominica Authority would like to express its gratitude to Cricket West Indies and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica for their efforts and assistance in bringing international cricket back to Dominica after a five-year absence. We are convinced that the two T20I matches in Dominica on July 2nd and 3rd will be fantastic, and we expect a strong turnout of local, regional, and international cricket fans to enjoy the fixtures.”Cricket West Indies, Events Management Executive, Ms. Joneé Charles said “The return of T20I games to Dominica is fantastic. We are delighted that Dominica has been chosen to host these two matches, and we hope to host more in the future. After a challenging two years owing to the pandemic, we must express our gratitude to the local organizing committee and Cricket West Indies for staging these T20I matches.”
In the following days, a full announcement on entry protocols and ticketing information for the Windsor Park Sports Stadium experience will be made. In the interim, Cricket fans and patrons can expect a ‘Carnival-like’ atmosphere with various local Dominican cultural presentations and an ‘after party’ experience.
For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at +1 767 448 2045.Or, visit Dominica’s officialwebsite: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Instagram and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube

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Senate Committee Gets Updates On Disaster Repairs

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Members of the Committee on Disaster Recovery and Infrastructure, led by Senator Janelle Sarauw met at the Earle B Ottley Legislative Hall on Friday.

The Committee received testimony from the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources related to all disaster related projects, including marine and historic efforts in the Territory, their respective contracts, inclusive of professional service and task order contracts, both anticipated and underway.

Testimony was delivered by Jean-Pierre Oriol, the Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Oriol provided updates on the status of various disaster related projects in the territory. The Department received $411,900 from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) to provide stimulus funds to artists in the territory.

Senate Committee Gets Updates On Disaster Repairs
DPNR Commissioner Jean-Pierre Oriol testifies before the committee on Friday.

The program ran in two phases and provided a maximum of $50,400 to individuals and $361,900 to arts organizations. 100% of these funds have been dispersed to artists in the territory. The Department also applied for and received $3.96 Million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide stimulus funds to the commercial, recreational, charter for hire and fisher related businesses in the Virgin Islands. Eligible applicants must demonstrate a minimum of 35% loss of revenue between March 2020 and December 2020 to qualify. The Department partnered with the USVI Economic Development Authority to administer the program.

The Hurricane Fisheries Disaster Relief Program was launched in June 2020 and as of May 31, 2022, 438 applications were processed and $6,094,896 in funds were dispersed. Also, disaster recovery funds in the amount of $145,683 to receive emergency vessel kits for all commercial fishers that were affected by the hurricanes. These kits were distributed in May 2022. The Department is also responsible for the VI Historic Recovery Program, which was launched in November of 2020, and the eligibility phase ended on March 31, 2021. 223 Applications for this program were received and 105 of the applications were deemed ineligible.  Of 128 eligible applications received, 106 Phase II applications and their external panel reviewed and scored 70 applications, with the remaining to be scored by the end of June 2022.  Approximately $1.5 million in projects are awaiting review by the National Park Service, and an additional $1 million in projects to be reviewed by the end of June 2022. Site visits are expected to be conducted by the end of June 2022, with subgrant awards and funding to be awarded by July 2022.  Two government projects have received funding under this program, the renovation of Government House on St. Thomas, which is about 95% complete, and the restoration of the former naval barracks in SubBase, St Thomas, which will house the Department of Planning and Natural Resources in the future.

The Department is also responsible for several major infrastructure repair programs in the territory.  These include the Charles W. Turnbull Library, the Enid M. Baa Library, the Fort Christian Museum, on the island of St. Thomas, the Brugal Facility, Fort Frederick, the Florence Williams and Athalie Petersen libraries on St. Croix, and the Sprauve Library and the STJ Office Building on St. John.  Several mitigation projects are also underway.  The Department received 4 different awards in response to the 2017 hurricanes, which included $4.2 million from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, $7.3 Million from FEMA Hazard Mitigation for Code Enforcement, $960,000 from FEMA flood mitigation for the updating of flood regulations, and $800,000 from FEMA hazard mitigation for the completion of storm water management plans.

Senator Sarauw voiced concern about Fort Christian, mentioning its compromised structure when it was closed for repairs, citing recent seismic events. Oriol stated that Fort Christian, being constructed from molasses and sand, needs consistent maintenance.

The NOAA Marine Debris award, which contains three tasks, is being utilized to remove derelict vessels in Krum Bay. St. Thomas, removal of derelict vessels through the territory which are not mitigated by the US Coast Guard, as well as promoting community cleans up to remove debris that was not previously removed after the 2017 hurricanes. The FEMA Flood Mitigation grant was provided so that territorial laws and regulations may be updated to be in line with national standards. Territorial Water Shed plans are currently being developed for watersheds throughout the territory with the funds that were received.  The Department also received funding for the acquisition of Parcel No. 6-3-111 Estate Carolina, St. John, which is currently occupied by a home that was compromised by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The intent is to remove the property and to redevelop it to serve as drainage and green space to assist the Department of Public Works with stormwater that comes off Centerline Road.

Senator Sarauw voiced concern over inflation that has been plaguing the territory, particularly as it relates to the status of infrastructure projects with FEMA. The Director of the Department of Disaster Recovery, Adrienne Williams-Octalien, stated that the conversation is going on consistently, stating that cost factors are evaluated on a quarterly basis.  Director Oriol mentioned that one of the major problems that has plagued him was increased costs, stating that the Department encounters things that were not seen upon initial inspections. Oriol also voiced concern about keeping projects within budget. In addition, Senator Sarauw also voiced concern over the restoration of the Turnbull Library, voicing concern about student accessibility and incompatible operating hours.

Senators present at today’s committee hearing included Janelle K. Sarauw, Kurt A. Vialet, Marvin A. Blyden, Samuel Carrión, Franklin D. Johnson, Carla J. Joseph, and Genevieve R. Whitaker.

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Woman Arrested For Stalking Boyfriend At Job Site Armed With A Taser

CHRISTIANSTED A St. Croix woman was arrested after police said she confronted her ex-boyfriend at his worksite armed with a taser, according to Superior Court documents

Saidah Ford Harley, 31, of Hermon Hill, was arrested and charged with simple assault and battery-domestic violence and disturbance of the peace, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Woman Arrested For Stalking Boyfriend At Job Site Armed With A Taser
VIPD mugshot of Saidah Ford Harley of Hermon Hill in St. Croix.

Officers were dispatched by 911 emergency operators to a domestic violence call in Sion Farm at 9:35 a.m. on May 23, according to the probable cause fact sheet.

Ford Harley’s ex-boyfriend told police he was working on a farm in Sion Farm when a black Acura TSX pulled up in front of a gate to the property, the sworn police affidavit said.

“(name redacted) stated when he arrived at his destination, he got out of the vehicle to unload the vegetation and he immediately observed Ms. Harley walking towards him very rapidly with a pink taser in her hand,” the probable cause fact sheet states.

Woman Arrested For Stalking Boyfriend At Job Site Armed With A Taser
Saidah Ford Harley on Facebook

The former boyfriend said he waited until Harley got close enough to him to swat the gun out of her hand, according to Superior Court documents.

Harley tried to retrieve the taser from the ground, but her ex-boyfriend was able to grab the gun first, and then he threw it into some nearby bushes.

“(name redacted) further stated that Ms. Harley grabbed him by the neck with both hands,” the probable cause fact sheet states, but that he was able to grab her by her hair and push her away from him.

The former boyfriend’s boss at the work site told Harley that he was going to call the police, to which Harley said she would wait lower down the hill for the police to arrive, but instead drove away from the property, according to Superior Court documents.

Woman Arrested For Stalking Boyfriend At Job Site Armed With A Taser
VIPD booking photo of Saidah Ford Harley

Police took a video statement from Harley at the Ancilmo Marshall Command on May 24 in which she said that she was confronting her boyfriend on the previous day because he promised to pay for a “medical procedure,” but so far hadn’t, the probable cause fact sheet states.

No bail was offered for Harley as per the territory’s domestic violence statutes.

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CBP Makes Massive Cocaine Bust In Puerto Rico

The CBP agents seized 794 pounds of cocaine is estimated to be worth $7.5 million in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations made a massive cocaine bust earlier this week when agents hauled in nearly 800 pounds in an attempted smuggling operation off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The CBP agents intercepted a boat Wednesday carrying 794 pounds of contraband, which is estimated to be worth $7.5 million.

“AMO agents continue to use their awareness of our maritime context to detect and intercept contraband being smuggled into our coastal borders,” Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, said in a statement.

During a patrol on June 1, Mayaguez Marine Interdiction Agents found the vessel with three persons on board, the CBP said. The agents then escorted the ship to the Mayaguez boathouse, where they inspected it and utilized a Puerto Rico Police Department K-9 unit to discover the cocaine.

On Friday, CBP officers seized 23 pounds of cocaine, valued at $378,000, from a U.S. resident traveling from the Dominican Republic to North Carolina.

In a statement, the CBP said Alexander A. Lopez-Morel, 22, was arrested after he used his electric wheelchair to try and conceal the drug.

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Police Track Down Home Invasion Suspects By Their Voices

KINGSHILL Police were able to track down a couple of home invasion suspects after the Old Fredensborg victim recognized two of the three voices of the masked armed males who entered his home in August.

Manuel Perez, 18, of Old Fredensborg, and an unnamed minor were arrested Saturday and charged with home invasion, false imprisonment and kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, and unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, the Virgin Islands Police Department said. 

“The victim stated the armed men took items of value after brandishing their firearm and threatening him with bodily harm,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The assailants left the residence with the victim’s video game player, phone, and surveillance camera recorder.” 

The victim was able to recognize the voices of his assailants and identified them as Manuel Perez and a minor, according to Dratte. He stated that he knew each male from their Old Fredensborg neighborhood. 

On June 11, 2022, the Criminal Investigation and Juvenile Investigation Bureaus with the help of the Special Operation Bureau along with other supporting units all executed two search warrants and two arrest warrants.

The minor was detained at the Youth Rehabilitation Center in Anna’s Hope pending hearing in the family division before the Honorable Jessica Gallivant

Perezt was transported and detained at the John Bell Correctional Facility an pending advice-of-rights hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning.

On August 30, 2021, at approximately 9:30 a.m. 911 Emergency Call Center received notification that three masked men came into an Estate Old Fredensborg home, police said.