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Bryan Tells Residents and Visitors COVID-19 Travel Portal No Longer In Effect Tomorrow

CHRISTIANSTED — During today’s weekly Government House briefing, Governor Albert Bryan reminded residents and visitors that, effective Wednesday, June 1, 2022, the USVI COVID-19 screening Travel
Portal will cease to operate.

“As you may know, we are transitioning our response to COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic. What this means, in short, is that we are at a point now where we have the tools and the information necessary to guard
against and protect ourselves from serious illness because of this virus,” Governor Bryan said. “Our travel portal is one of those tools that we have relied on over the last several months. We believe that this tool effectively served its purpose in protecting Virgin Islands residents. But we need to move forward, especially with the advent of the vaccines and all the other information we have available to assist us in making the best decisions to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Aliyah Boston Day

Governor Bryan also invited the community out to celebrate “Aliyah Boston Day” on June 4 with a parade starting at Griffith Ball Park on St. Thomas at 11:30 a.m. before ending at the Waterfront promenade, where
there will be a brief ceremony honoring NCAA Women’s Basketball All-American and National Champion Aliyah Boston.

Aliyah, who won almost every national college basketball award this year after leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to the national championship, is a native of St. Thomas. She recently signed a sponsorship with athletic clothing manufacturer Under Armour, which also will host a free basketball clinic for about 50 local young women basketball players – 25 from each district.

Shadya Coureur

Governor Bryan also offered his well-wishes to the Territorial Spelling Bee winner, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Free Will Baptist Christian School on St. Croix, who is representing the USVI in the Scripps National
Spelling Bee.

“Win, lose, or draw, we are already extremely proud of her. I congratulate her mother Sauda Coureur, her chaperone Deputy Superintendent Carla Bastian, her principal Hannah Postlewaite, her coaches, and the faculty and staff at Free Will Baptist school on her success,” the governor said.

COVID-19 cases as of May 31

• 11.58 percent seven-day positivity rate
• Currently tracking 664 active cases (487 STX; 147 STT; 30 STJ)
• 422,824 tested
• 19,817 tested positive
• 403,007 tested negative
• 70, 294 first doses of vaccine administered
• 57,115 second doses of vaccine administered
• 73.76% vaccination rate
• There are 3 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with one on a ventilator, at Luis Hospital on St. Croix.
• There are 6 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with none on a ventilator, at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas. 

More COVID-19 information

Anyone who thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 can call the Epidemiology hotline at 340-712-6299 (STX) or 340-776-1519 (STT-STJ).

For more information, visit covid19usvi.com

For information about the COVID-19 vaccines or to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated, call the VITEMA hotline Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-VACS (8227).

Home testing

Positive test results from a home COVID-19 test should be confirmed, and confirmation is absolutely necessary if medical therapeutic treatment with an oral antiviral or monoclonal antibodies are to be prescribed.

Confirmation testing can be arranged by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 340-712-6299 on St. Croix or 340-776-1519 on St. Thomas. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and testing appointments
can be made online at http://www.Covid19USVI.com/testing.

Free Vaccinations

The Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday-Friday and on Wednesdays on St. John at the Virgin Islands Port Authority gravel lot.

Free vaccinations at the CVC at the Charles Harwood Complex on St. Croix are available by appointment, which can be made by calling 340-777-8227 or by going to http://www.covid19usvi.com/vaccines. Walk-ins also are available.

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Jamaican National Charged With Illegal Re-Entry By A Felon

CHARLOTTE AMALIE United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Veron Venita Goulbourne, 60, a Jamaican national, has been charged with being present in the United States after removal and conviction for an aggravated felony.

If convicted, Goulbourne faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

According to court documents, Goulbourne was previously removed from the United States in March 2000, after she was convicted of an aggravated felony.

Court documents further show that on April 24, 2022, Goulbourne was a ticketed passenger on a flight from St. Thomas to Miami, Florida.

When Goulbourne presented herself at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection primary inspection point at Cyril E. King Airport, officers determined that she had no legal status in the United States having been
previously removed.

Homeland Security Investigations is investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Sleeper is prosecuting the case.

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

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St. John Brewers Hosts St. Thomas Location Grand Opening

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — After months of planning, construction and a soft opening, St. John Brewers owners Kevin Chipman and Chirag Vyas invite the business community and general public to enjoy Love City in the heart of St. Thomas at their new location, St. John Brewers on the Waterfront.

The grand opening event will take place the week of June 6-10 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with deals on drinks and merchandise. The new location can be found at 32 Raadets Gade in downtown Charlotte Amalie next to the St. Thomas Historical Trust.

“Over the years, we have received such amazing support for our brand from the St. Thomas community, and now we are thrilled to have a location here to increase our engagement with residents and guests,” said Chipman.

St. John Brewers Hosts St. Thomas Location Grand Opening
St. John Brewers on the Waterfront associate Kim Smith serves an Island Summer Ale.

The new store on St. Thomas, designed to complement the beautiful 1800s structure it’s housed within, will allow the popular local brewery to share its product with St. Thomians, cruise ship guests and overnight guests staying on St. Thomas. The primary focus of the St. Thomas footprint is to promote St. John Brewers through its delicious craft beer and trendy merchandise.

The store features a bar experience with select draft and canned St. John Brewers beer, Love City Seltzer and alcohol-free options as well as brewery merchandise so guests can sport their favorite St. John Brewers product. St. John Brewers also recently introduced its newest brew, a hazy IPA dubbed Juicy Booty, to St. Thomians.

St. John Brewers Hosts St. Thomas Location Grand Opening
St. John Brewers owners Kevin Chipman (left) and Chirag Vyas (right) enjoy a cold draft beer on the St. Thomas Waterfront.

“We are excited to continue our expansion of our St. John based brewing company to St. Thomas,” said Vyas. “We look forward to sharing our island inspired brews and beverages to our local customers and visitors alike.”

St. John Brewers was established in 2004 and continues to be extremely popular among locals and visiting guests. Following the grand opening of the St. Thomas Waterfront location, owners Vyas and Chipman have several additional ventures on the books. These expansions will not only promote the territory, but contribute to the tourism industry and the local job market and economy.

St. John Brewers is also working to ramp up their Mongoose Junction location on St. John. The Tap Room bar and restaurant, where guests can enjoy the full array of St. John Brewers craft beers on tap, recently saw the addition of a merchandise corner and an arcade room set to open soon.

Despite unexpected hurdles for the company since 2015, owners Vyas and Chipman continue to push their endeavor further and share their love of craft beer. Virgin Islanders can purchase St. John Brewers beer and other beverages at the two St. John Mongoose Junction locations, St. John Brewers on the Waterfront and at dozens of convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants throughout the territory. Apparel and gifts can be found at these locations and online at stjohnbrewers.com.

St. John Brewers Hosts St. Thomas Location Grand Opening
St. John Brewers on the Waterfront associate Shaelen George shows off the full line of hats at the St. Thomas store.

About St. John Brewers: St. John Brewers is a craft brewery, Tap Room and Brewtique located in Mongoose Junction, Cruz Bay on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Founded in 2004 by Kevin Chipman and Chirag Vyas, the brewery has garnered a loyal following of local craft beer lovers and St. John visitors who return year after year. Bellows International distributes St. John Brewers products throughout the Virgin Islands. To learn more, visit stjohnbrewers.com and follow @stjohnbrewers on Instagram and Facebook.

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USVI Ends COVID Restrictions For U.S. Travelers Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Governor Albert Bryan has issued an Executive Order removing the requirement for the U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Screening Portal for all domestic travel to and from the United States, the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) said on Facebook.

The Executive Order takes effect on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 (today), according to VIPA.

The following exceptions apply:

1. Federal guidelines and restrictions continue to apply to all international travel, including travel from the British Virgin Islands.

2. For all commercial ferry and private water taxi vessels leaving or entering the territorial waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands which must comply with U.S. Coast Guard guidelines.

Read the full Executive Order at  https://www.vi.gov/executive-orders/

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Man Wanted In Florida Taken Into CIB Custody

CHARLOTTE AMALIE  Faustin Henry Romero was taken into custody Monday by the Criminal Investigation Bureau after investigation revealed that Romero was wanted by of the State of Florida for a Probation Violation in Osceola County, Florida.   

Faustin Henry Romero, 37-years-old, was arrested and processed. Romero was taken to the Bureau of Corrections, pending the extradition process and procedures, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

This case is presently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Any persons having information regarding this incident are asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ex. 5576/5572. You can also contact 911, Crime Stoppers VI.  

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Bartender Arrested At Limetree Restaurant In Connection To January Rape: VIPD 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A bartender was arrested at the St. Thomas restaurant where he works in connection to a rape that took place near Limetree in January, authorities said.

Kishan Mootooveran, 28, was arrested at 8:00 p.m. Thursday and charged with first-degree rape, unlawful sexual contact, third-degree sexual contact, third-degree assault, simple assault and kidnapping, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

A CIB detective traveled to Lanai Restaurant in Limetree, St. Thomas in reference to serving an arrest warrant on Thursday night, according to the VIPD.

“The warrant was pertaining to an incident where Kishan Mootooveran sexually assaulted a female on January 27, 2022 in the Limetree area,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.

Bartender Arrested At Limetree Restaurant In Connection To January Rape: VIPD 

The arrest warrant was served on Kishan Mootooveran, a bartender at the Lanai Restaurant, about 8:00 p.m., according to Dratte. 

Mootooveran was issued a copy of the warrant and taken into custody without incident, police said.

Bail for Mootooveran was set at $200,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing. 

This case is currently under active investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Anyone with any information regarding this crime is urged to contact 911, Detective S. Rhymer at the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ext. 5572 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

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Colorado Fugitive Once Wanted For Extortion Detained At St. Thomas Airport By Feds 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Colorado man accused of extortion was detained by federal agents after he landed at Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas on Thursday night, authorities said.

Brett Kimelman of Trinidad, Colorado was taken into custody at 6:53 p.m. Thursday by the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau after an investigation revealed that Kimelman was wanted out of the state of Colorado for leaving a halfway house/parole program without permission.  

Kimelman, 50, was arrested, booked, and processed, the Virgin Islands Police Department said. No bail was set because the state of Colorado is requesting extradition.

Colorado Fugitive Once Wanted For Extortion Detained At St. Thomas Airport By Feds 

This case is currently under active investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Kimelman was remanded to the Bureau of corrections pending extradition proceedings. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the St. Thomas airport noticed that Kimmelman was wanted by the state of Colorado and detained him for the VIPD.

In January 2020, Kimelman was arrested on a charge of criminal extortion, a class four felony, and theft, a class 3 misdemeanor, according to All Things 81082. At that time, he was held a the Las Animas County Jail in Colorado on a $15K cash or surety bond.

Any persons having information regarding this incident are asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ex. 5576/5572. They can also contact 911, Crime Stoppers VI., the Chiefs office at 340-715-5548 or the Commissioner’s Office at 340-715-5506

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Florida Man Who Beat Woman In St. Thomas Hotel Room Found Guilty Of Assault

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Florida man was found guilty of assault after holding a woman hostage and brutally beating her in a room at Sapphire Beach Resort in 2020, authorities said.

Devindra Jaglal, 39, was found guilty of second degree assault and simple assault on May 26th by a Superior Court jury in St. Thomas, V.I. Attorney General Denise George said. Jaglal faces a maximum of 10 years in prison after the conviction.

Jury selection began on May 23, 2022. Jaglal was charged in a three-count information for the
following crimes: (1) False Imprisonment; (2) Second Degree Assault and (3) Simple Assault. The
matter was submitted to the Jury for deliberations around noon on May 26th and the jury
returned a verdict shortly before 4:00 p.m.

Jaglal was found innocent of the charge of false imprisonment, but found guilty of committing the remaining crimes, second degree assault and simple assault. For the crime of second degree assault, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment. For the simple assault conviction, he faces up to one year.

Virgin Islands Department of Justice (VIDOJ) Criminal Division Chief Quincy McRae, and
Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Riley, represented the People. They were assisted by V.I.
Police Department (VIPD) Officer Khalil Tatum. The prosecution team proved to the jury that on
November 15, 2020, Jaglal restrained a woman in a hotel room while physically assaulting her.

According to an Affidavit, police received a call from a hotel guest about a woman screaming for
help. Police officers were dispatched to the location of the hotel. Upon arrival, they observed the
woman with bruises about her body and redness to her neck. The victim indicated that Jaglal is
her boyfriend and stated that they live together in Florida.

The victim told the officers that she was afraid to speak to them for fear that Jaglal will kill her. The individual who called 911 stated that he was staying next door to Jaglal’s room and heard the screaming. He recorded the screaming with his cellphone and while doing so, Jaglal came outside on the balcony and confronted him.

He said Jaglal told him to mind his own business. The individual then told Jaglal he was going to call the police, to which Jaglal replied, “call the police”. Jaglal was subsequently
placed under arrest.

After the verdict, the Defendant was given 2 hours to collect his belongings before reporting to
the V.I. Bureau of Corrections (BOC) to await Sentencing, which is set for June 30, 2022, at 2:00
p.m.

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Bryan Calls For Investigation Into Sex Assault Allegations Against Steven Payne

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Governor Albert Bryan issued a statement today calling on Attorney General Denise George to open an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse made against At-Large Senator Steven Payne by a young woman who alleged that Senator Payne sexually assaulted her when she was a minor.

“The allegations against Senator Payne revealed recently in the media are serious and disturbing. Although the law presumes his innocence until proven otherwise, the nature of the accusation warrants immediate action. This isn’t the first time allegations of inappropriate sexual contact have been made against individuals in positions of authority. I have asked the Attorney General to ensure these matters are properly investigated and trust that justice will be swift. I want to encourage anyone who has been a victim of any type of improper sexual behavior, harassment, or abuse by an authority figure to come forward,” Governor Bryan said.

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FEMA Obligates $30M To VIWMA On St. Croix For Wastewater Treatment System Design

KINGSHILL  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has jumpstarted the replacement of the St. Croix Wastewater system with a $30 million award to the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority. VIWMA can now begin the architectural and engineering design work for the island of St. Croix. These funds will allow the territory to begin the design in advance of the obligation for the system-wide replacement projected at $1.5 billion.

Late last year, FEMA determined that the damages caused by the storms in 2017, coupled with the age and deterioration of the island’s wastewater facilities, made full replacement the most cost-effective option to meet industry standards, stop frequent sewage overflows and resolve the need for recurring repairs.

“The award provides critical funding to assist the Authority with the procurement of a design firm to engage in proper planning as we begin the arduous process of modernizing the wastewater infrastructure throughout the Territory,” said Roger E. Merritt, Jr., Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (WMA). He further explained that the Authority is now closer to construction as the WMA is working to solicit a firm to provide the design work.

“This is not just one step forward for the Waste Management Authority. It is also a critical piece to addressing the “One Dig” mandate,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery. “The identification of funding to begin design work ensures that the replacement of wastewater lines is included in other infrastructure projects for electrical undergrounding and water line projects already on the drawing board. The Office of Disaster Recovery thanks FEMA for their proactive approach to addressing this issue and will continue to coordinate with consultants Witt O’Brien’s to identify solutions to moving the Recovery forward.”

The wastewater replacement determinations for St. Thomas and St. John are expected by the end of the year.