V.I. Port Authority Temporarily Closes Cyril E. King Airport

CHARLOTTE AMALIE The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) temporarily closed the St. Thomas airport at 4 p.m. Monday “to perform a minor repair.”

But by 4:50 p.m., VIPA said the Cyril E. King Airport’s runway was reopened.

“VIPA thanks the traveling public for their patience,” the quasi-governmental authority said on Twitter.

CIB Investigating Woman Found Unresponsive in West Caret Bay 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE  A male individual contacted 911 at 1:41 p.m. today and reported that he traveled to the residence of his female friend and discovered her unresponsive in her apartment in West Caret Bay, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Emergency Medical Technicians responded to the scene, checked the female, and discovered she had no vital signs, according to the VIPD.

“The woman was identified as 37-year-old Megan Frazier from Indiana,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy. There were no apparent signs of foul play.”   

Anyone having any information about this incident please contact the Virgin Islands Police Department at 340-774-2211 or the Criminal Investigation Unit’s Major Crimes Division at 340-642-8449. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Oswald Harris Court Attempted Murder Suspect Surrenders

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The suspect in a Sunday night shooting at Oswald Harris Court surrendered to authorities about four hours after police issued a wanted poster for his arrest.

Donte C. Joseph, 31, of Estate Tutu, was arrested at 5:50 p.m. today and charged with first-degree assault, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Officers from the Richard Callwood Command were dispatched at 7:09 p.m. Sunday to the area of Oswald Harris Court regarding a report of shots fired.

“Investigation revealed that there was a verbal altercation between two individuals that then became physical the victim, a male individual was shot multiple times about the body,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The victim received several gunshot wounds to the chest, flank, and leg areas.”

The victim was transported to the Schneider Regional Medical Center via private vehicle and was seen by Emergency Room Personnel, according to Dratte.

The VIPD issued an “attempted murder” wanted poster for Joseph at 1:05 p.m. today, but used an incorrect photo of the suspect which police later recalled at 4:31 p.m. today.

“An updated report will be provided pending the ongoing investigation,” police said, adding that it was possible the charges against Joseph will be upgraded once the ongoing investigation is completed.

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

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Virgin Islands Parole Board Schedules Parole Hearings

CHARLOTTE AMALIE The Virgin Islands Parole Board advises the public that the Board will convene on  July 7, 2022 to hear testimony from victims, family members of victims, or other interested persons for and against the application for parole by inmates incarcerated at various penal institutions.

Anyone who wishes to share testimony on behalf of or against any inmate must submit written comments to the Board or advise the Board of his /her desire to appear and testify. Such notices must be received by the Board no later than June 30, 2022.  Written comments or requests to testify should be addressed to:

Chairman of the Parole Board

John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility

Rural Route 1, Box 9909

Kingshill, VI 00850-9715

(340) 773-6309 ext. 6817

Email: viparoleboard@vi.gov

The Board will conduct parole hearings in person for inmates at the following penal institutions: John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility, St. Croix.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Inmate’s Name                                                              Offense(s) Committed

Isaiah Simmonds                                                          Third Degree Assault                           

Dale Pringle                                                                 Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card           

Jelani Hall                                                                    Unlawful Sexual Contact

Ryan Baskin                                                                 Third Degree Burglary

Akil Gumbs                                                                 Third Degree Assault

Anthony Gumbs                                                           Negligent Homicide

Callistus Ettiene                                                           Unauthorized possession of a Firearm

Edwardo Garcia                                                            Voluntary Manslaughter

Jahzeel Fenton                                                             First Degree Assault/Domestic Violence

The Board will conduct parole hearings in person for inmates at the following penal institutions: Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Complex, St. Thomas.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Inmate’s Name                                                              Offense(s) Committed

Kaseem Bruno                                                                Aggravated Child Abuse/Third Degree Assault

Kzsa Hodge                                                                 Forgery

The Board will conduct parole hearings by in person for inmates at the following penal institutions: Wallen Ridge State Prison, and  Keen Mountain, VA

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Inmate’s Name                                                              Offense(s) Committed

Nicholas Albert                                                               First Degree Murder/Escape from Jail

Jahmal Todman                                                               Possession of a Firearm in a school zone

The Board will conduct parole hearings in person for inmates at the following penal institutions: Citrus County Detention Facility, FL.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Inmate’s Name                                                              Offense(s) Committed

Charlesworth Gonsalves                                                    Second Degree Aggravated Rape/ Child Abuse/Domestic Violence           

Josiah Hodge                                                                  Second Degree Murder/Unauthorized use of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a crime

IMPORTANT NOTE

Whether an inmate is eligible to apply for parole is determined by the terms of his/her sentence and the requirements of the V.I. parole statute, 5 V.I.C. §§ 4601-4606. The fact that an inmate’s name may appear on the list of those deemed eligible to apply for parole does NOT guarantee that parole will be granted or that a parole hearing for that inmate will take place as scheduled. Even if eligible to apply for parole, no inmate may be granted parole unless he/she is recommended for parole by the Director of the Bureau of Corrections.  Also, the date of an inmate’s release, after being granted parole, is dependent on compliance with a number of conditions, including approval by the State Council of Interstate Compact for the Supervision of Adult Offenders when necessary.  Ensuring compliance with these conditions may delay an inmate’s release. This agenda is subject to change.

Routine Traffic Stop Nets 2 Suspects On Illegal Gun Charges

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Virgin Islands Police have arrested a motorist and their passenger on gun charges after conducting a traffic stop in St. Thomas while looking for a stolen vehicle.

Kiante Christopher, 23, and Shyrah Isaac, 24, were each arrested and charged with constructive possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession of ammunition, and possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a church, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Routine Traffic Stop Nets 2 Suspects On Illegal Gun Charges
VIPD mugshot of Kiante Christopher, 23, of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas.

During the traffic stop at 2:40 a.m. Saturday, officers noticed an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, according to the VIPD.  

“Upon further inspection of the vehicle, a loaded black unmarked 9mm handgun with an obliterated serial number and several 9mm cartridges was discovered in a black bag located on the driver’s seat near the center console,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.   

Neither driver nor passenger in the vehicle indicated that they had obtained a license to carry a firearm in the Virgin Islands, according to Dratte.   

Routine Traffic Stop Nets 2 Suspects On Illegal Gun Charges
VIPD mugshot of Shyrah Isaac, 24, of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas.

Bail for Christopher and Isaac was set at $75,000. Unable to post bail, they were each remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending advice of rights hearings. 

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Man Charged With Stealing Cell Phone, Violating Restraining Order At Agrifest

KINGSHILL A St. Croix man was arrested after police said he stole a woman’s cell phone and violated a restraining order, according to documents filed in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.

Jovon Joseph was arrested and charged with contempt of court-domestic violence, the VIPD’s probable cause fact sheet states. He was held without bail pursuant to the territory’s domestic violence law and appeared in court for his advice-of-rights hearing Wednesday.

Man Charged With Stealing Cell Phone, Violating Restraining Order At Agrifest
Jovon Joseph on Facebook

The incident occurred at around May 29, when police stationed at the Department of Agriculture for Agrifest 2022 responded to a report of a woman having her cell phone stolen, according to an affidavit filed by Virgin Islands Police.

“The victim stated that she was at the Annual Agriculture Fair, located in Lower Love Frederiksted St. Croix, when Mr. Jovon Joseph (her ex-boyfriend) approached her, held her tightly by her right wrist and began pulling her towards the eastern exit gate,” the probable cause fact sheet states.

The victim told police that she has a temporary restraining order against Joseph, which forbids him from coming within 100 feet of her.

“The victim stated that she kept pleading with Mr. Joseph to release her hands, but he refused and kept pulling her towards the eastern exit gate,” the VIPD’s sworn affidavit states. “The victim added that Mr. Joseph also grabbed her cell phone from her hand.”

As the estranged couple was nearing the exit gate, the victim noticed three police officers in the area and asked them to help her.

“Mr. Joseph released her hands when he observed the police officers walking in his direction,” the probable cause fact sheet states.

The victim told the officers at Agrifest that Joseph had her cell phone and the officers helped her to retrieve her cell phone from him, according to court records.

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Students of Color Push Back On Calls For Police In Schools

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) After the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, schools around the country pledged to boost security measures and increased the presence of law enforcement on campus — partly to reassure parents and students.

But police inside schools can make some students more uneasy, not less. Especially for Black students and other students of color, their personal experiences with policing can leave them feeling unsafe and alienated from school when they see officers on campus.

High school senior Malika Mobley has seen three different school resource officers patrolling the campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Once on the way home from school, Mobley saw officers detain a visibly distraught classmate and push the student into the back of a police vehicle.

“They were crying, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I didn’t do anything,’” said Mobley, co-president of Wake County Black Student Coalition. “I was just forced to stand there and couldn’t do anything.”

Since 2020, the student group has advocated for eliminating police officers from school buildings in favor of investing in counselors and support staff for students.

“We don’t see police presence as part of the solution,” Mobley said. “If you really think about why police don’t make us safer, you can draw connections to all types of tragedies that impact the most marginalized among us.”

Police officers have a regular presence at schools across the country in recent decades, often in the form of school resource officers, who are tasked with building relationships with young people to promote trust of law enforcement, providing security, and enforcing laws. Critics say having armed police on campus often results in Black students being disproportionately arrested and punished, leading to what they call the school-to-prison pipeline.

Researchers have found that Black students report feeling less safe around police officers than their white peers and that officers in predominantly Black school districts were more likely to view students themselves to be threats.

Black students and other students of color also are disproportionately likely to have negative interactions with police in schools, ranging from referrals to law enforcement to being arrested or restrained, said Katherine Dunn, director of the Opportunity to Learn program at the Advancement Project. Since 2007, the Advancement Project has documented at least 200 instances of officers at schools assaulting students, she said.

“It shows all the physical harms that young people experience by police,” she said. “It’s also the experience of being degraded and made to feel like a criminal because you have to walk down the hallway to your class with several armed cops, who are not there for your safety, who you see arrest your friends, assault your friends.”

In 2018, after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the state Legislature passed laws mandating public schools to have either law enforcement or armed personnel present on campuses.

A study of the law’s impact by F. Chris Curran, a University of Florida professor, found the expanded police presence was followed by an increase in school arrests and the number of reported behavioral incidents. He said there are many factors to consider in deciding the role police play in schools.

“I’d like to see that conversation include thoughtful considerations of potential benefits, decreasing certain kinds of behaviors, but also the potential unintended consequences, if that’s increasing the likelihood students are arrested or potentially increasing racial disparities in discipline and arrest rates,” Curran said.

While there are examples of school resource officers who have intervened in incidents of gun violence, Curran said, the presence of law enforcement does not always guarantee that shootings or other violence won’t occur, or that the officer would be immediately effective at stopping the perpetrator and minimizing casualties.

In a statement issued this week on best practices for school security in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting, the National Association of School Resource Officers emphasized the importance of having “a carefully selected, specifically trained SRO on its campus whenever school is in session.”

The nonprofit group has rejected criticism that officers contribute to a school-to-prison pipeline. Officers who follow its best practices, it says, do not arrest students for disciplinary issues that would be handled ordinarily by educators.

As elsewhere around the country last week, the police presence was increased outside schools across North Carolina to provide reassurance to families in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas shooting.

Wake County schools have 75 school resource officers, drawn from several local law enforcement agencies.

The Wake County Black Student Coalition’s campaign to remove the officers stemmed partly from student accounts of bad experiences with officers, including a 2017 incident where a school resource officer was filmed picking up a Black girl and slamming her to the ground, said Chalina Morgan-Lopez, a high school senior who is co-president of the student group.

“I think it’s a reasonable response to want more officers in schools, especially from people who genuinely do feel protected by law enforcement, even though that’s not my lived experience,” Morgan-Lopez said. “But I think people need to take into account … that officers do in fact do more harm than they do good.”

Last summer the school system made several changes to its school resource officer program, including a new process for fielding grievances involving officers and adjustments to training to prepare them better for the school environment, said Lisa Luten, a spokesperson for the school system. The review was based on community feedback the district sought in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Luten said.

“This is not a new conversation for us,” she said. “That certainly brought it back to light.”

By ANNIE MA/Associated Press

Ma, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, writes about education and equity for AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/anniema15

___

UVI Students Get $48K In 13D Business Launch Competition 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE Three University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) student entrepreneurs were awarded $48,000 at the annual 13D Entrepreneurship Business Launch Competition held virtually on May 6, providing them with valuable start-up funds to pursue their business ventures. 

Christopher McDonald earned $24,000 for his MappIt! Geographic Information System (GIS) business start-up, and an additional $24,000 was awarded to Mitchell Turnbull and his teammate Walter Morris for their Cash N’Crypto ATM business idea. The 13D Competition is designed to eliminate the obstacle of financing for UVI student entrepreneurs who have great ideas for potentially profitable businesses but no access to start-up capital.  

“The two teams that pitched this year were absolutely fantastic,” said Tim Faley, the Kiril Sokoloff Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at UVI. “I especially want to thank 13D Research & Strategy (www.13D.com) and Viya (www.viya.vi) for the funding that makes this program possible.” 

UVI Students Get K In 13D Business  Launch Competition 
Mitchell Turnbull

UVI Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship Glenn Metts commented, “During a pandemic and amid the storm of instability that it caused, the students rose up and did something extremely unusual – they built a viable small start-up over just a six-month period. We often forget just how daunting the13D Business Launch Competition is for students, to build a real business at their age, prior to graduation, is a difficult and ultimately challenging task. The two finalist teams are students we should be proud of at UVI and in our community.” 

In the competition, students present a “Shark Tank”-like pitch for start-up funds before a panel of judges. McDonald’s MappIt! GIS services company will use ArcGIS mapping software and aerial photography to provide environmental data analysis for planning and management decisions. In his presentation, McDonald demonstrated how his services could aid multiple local government agencies in mapping their resources, properties and other environmental data across the Territory. McDonald, who graduated this month with a master’s degree in Public Administration, first conceived of the idea after participating in a NASA internship that introduced him to the field of GIS and led him to take a GIS course at UVI.  

“Being a part of this competition has enhanced my ability to believe in myself and pushed me to turn my ideas into reality,” said McDonald. “I’m grateful to Dr. Faley and Dr. Metts who met with me weekly to help me organize and develop a strong presentation. They believe in the students and our dreams, and I’m grateful for this opportunity and for people like them at UVI.” 

Drs. Faley and Metts also mentored the Turnbull and Morris team. “They set the table for us and set us on the right path,” said Morris, a UVI sophomore studying Computer Science. “They were so responsive and receptive of our work and gave us confidence,” added Turnbull, a sophomore double majoring in Business and Business Management. With strategically located ATM machines in the Virgin Islands and a website to educate customers about the value of crypto currency, Cash N’Crypto ATM aims to be the first of its kind in the VI to allow easy access to purchasing or converting crypto currency to cash. The enterprising duo will use the funds to navigate the regulatory and legal aspects of launching the business and for equipment and marketing.  

Morris encouraged other students to “expand your horizons and don’t let anyone stop you!” The participants agreed that the competition was a great opportunity to hone their research and presentation skills as well as improve their understanding of business.  

Competition judges included Jennifer Matarangas-King, vice president of public relations and governmental affairs at Viya; Leon Hughes, founder and CEO of NEARiX, a software service company on St. Croix, and Dr. Thomas Lombardi, UVI assistant professor and Department Chair of computer information systems. 

“We were especially proud of these leaders who created businesses during a very challenging time in history when many small businesses were shuttered. For these entrepreneurs to develop a business plan, seek funding and bring their dreams to fruition is truly commendable,” said Matarangas-King, who has served as a judge since the inception of the program.  

The 13D Entrepreneurship Competition was established in 2012 through a gift to UVI from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research (USVI) LLC. The competition is open to all eligible students within the University. As part of the program, student entrepreneurs pitch their financially sustainable businesses and the funds necessary to get them launched. Utilizing the enormous expertise of the companies associated with the Research and Technology Park, as well as local, regional, and national business leaders, students receive very practical guidance, insights, and expertise from experienced entrepreneurs. The competition is expected to return to an in-person event next year at the newly unveiled 13D Research & Strategy Innovation Center on the Orville E. Kean campus on St. Thomas. 

Trinidad and Tobago In Talks With Quanten LLC For Refinery Sale

PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) Trinidad and Tobago is in talks with U.S.-based Quanten LLC for the sale of the country’s refinery, Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Sunday, more than a year after the government rejected a proposal by a local group to buy the facility.

The Caribbean nation’s government three years ago shut down the state-run refinery Petrotrin, which at the time had a capacity to process about 140,000 barrels per day of crude, due to losses of over $1 billion in the prior five years.

“Quanten LLC is an American company that is engaged in the (request for proposal) process for the refinery,” Young said in a statement.

“The company is engaged with TPHL and has to go through the standard and required processes in these types of matters,” he said, referring to state-owned Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited, which is handling the request for proposal process.

Quanten did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trinidad and Tobago’s government in early 2021 said Patriotic Energies, a subsidiary of a trade union which represents oil workers, could not provide any credible offer of financing for the refinery.

Reporting by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar in Port of Spain and Brian Ellsworth in Miami; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Man Wanted In 2×4 Assault Arrested By CIB: VIPD

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man wanted for hitting another man with a two-by-four has been in official custody since last night, authorities said.

Pedro Zapata, 59, was arrested at 10:06p.m. Friday and charged with third-degree assault, simple assault & battery, and disturbance of the peace, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

The charges stem from an incident that that took place on May 9, 2022, in the area of Fort Christian parking lot, according to the VIPD.

“Investigation revealed Zapata struck the male victim in his face with a piece of wood (2×4) causing injury,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.

Bail for Zapata was set at $27,500. Jnable 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 information regarding this crime is urged to contact 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau Ofc. S. Donastorg at 340-774-2211 ext. 5610 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.