CHARLOTTE AMALIE – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Bridges Randle, 47, of Memphis, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an initial appearance on a warrant 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. 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.
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 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.
No comment from UVI President Dr. David Hall about why Randle was hired at the university in St. Thomas.
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.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE Tamia Grant, a junior at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), has been crowned the 42nd Miss UVI.
Reigning Miss UVI Jackeima Flemming crowned her successor at the Miss UVI Ambassadorial Presentation and Coronation, which was held on Saturday, April 23, 2022, on St. Croix.
“I feel truly blessed to have been awarded the title of Miss University of the Virgin Islands 2022-2023,” Grant said. “I began this journey with the intent to get closer to the best version of myself and I have achieved that goal, not because of the title but because of the hard work and perseverance through it all. I am humbled in the sight of God and grateful for this transformative journey.”
Grant, who competed against three other contestants, is a Chemistry and Physics major with a double minor in Computational Science and Mathematics. She is pursuing her studies at the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas. She is a member of a program that collaborates with Engineers for Tomorrow Outreach, which works towards developing a STEM program that allows students to participate in projects with engineers. Her professional aspirations include becoming a chemical engineer with a focus in pharmaceuticals and exploring entrepreneurial opportunities.
In addition to winning the crown, she was awarded the top spot in the following categories: Most Eloquent and Intellectual Speaker, Best Evening Wear, Best Talent, and Miss Popularity.
Grant’s platform during the competition was increasing mental health awareness and encouraging the Virgin Islands community to take proactive steps to address the need for mental health wellness.
During her reign Grant plans to address several objectives. “As Ambassador I want to help UVI achieve its goal of increasing enrollment and retention. I also would like to fully establish my mental health foundation ‘Perserve’ and start raising funds for students on campus who can’t afford professional help,” she stated.
Also vying for the coveted title this year were Esonica Charles, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology; Angelique Lettsome, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology; and Tyler Valmont, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
Valmont was named first runner-up and was awarded Best Ambassadorial Presentation and Miss Congeniality.
Lettsome was the competition’s second runner-up and was named Miss Photogenic.
As the reigning Miss USVI, Grant will be invited to compete in The National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.’s annual Competition of Black College Queens. The goal of both the Miss UVI Ambassadorial Competition and the Competition of Black College Queens is to provide memorable and impactful experiences for young women attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, as well as to help them gain self-awareness, institutional pride, and general societal awareness.
She will also receive a full-year UVI Scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, among other prizes.
Miss UVI serves as an ambassador for the University. The role includes, but is not limited to, participation in UVI’s recruitment efforts, and representing the University locally and abroad. Miss UVI is also expected to maintain high visibility on UVI’s St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses.
The Miss UVI Ambassadorial Coronation was presented by the Albert A. Sheen Campus Student Government Association, Queen’s Committee. The theme of this year’s competition was “A Journey Through Time … Celebrating 60 Years of Black Excellence.”
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — As Virgin Islanders mobilize to demand and act to increase their food security, the University of the Virgin Islands’ (UVI) Caribbean Green Technology Center (CGTC) and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) teamed up to aid farmers and families by donating more than 850 fruit trees on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
This effort was sponsored by Cruzan Rum’s Island Spirit Fund established in partnership with GlobalGiving and is aimed at increasing access to fresh food across the U.S. Virgin Islands. Farmers and residents of all islands received a selection of mango, avocado and papaya trees to increase their orchards or home gardens.
These trees will support the rebuilding of farms across the territory, many of which were devastated by the 2017 hurricanes. Once mature in a few years, fruits from those trees will improve access to healthy food and increase agricultural production in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Christina Chanes, CGTC research specialist and program coordinator of this project indicated that the goal of this unprecedented effort was to provide farmers with trees that would increase their crop production and support rural development in a time of uncertainty and stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “This is a wonderful project that was a win-win for UVI and the community overall,” said Chanes, adding that the project was designed to include fruit trees that produce at various times throughout the year so that farmers would have continuous production. “This project is vital to our community. Farmers have been hit hard in recent years and teaming with CFVI to provide ways for them to increase their production and to say thanks to them for working to feed the community is just a great way to share good health and nutrition and promote agriculture in the community.”
Farmer and volunteer, Royce Creque of Green Ridge Guava Berry Farm in Estate Bordeaux on St. Thomas and Chanes worked together last week to complete distribution of the fruit trees to 100 farmers and 250 families across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
To identify families to receive the trees, the project was paired with a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) emergency COVID-19 grant program designed to aid families in dealing with mental health issues and isolation during the pandemic so they could get involved in gardening while sheltering in place. Cindi Rollins, Director of the V.I. Department of Human Services Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), who partnered with UVI on the project noted that the participants of the programs were delighted to learn they would be given trees to place in their gardens. “This is an awesome program that the seniors across the U.S. Virgin Islands in our programs enjoyed,” said Rollins.
The Virgin Islands Department of Education also took part in the program through the Parent University Program coordinated by Jerae Forde. Forde, who worked with Chanes to gift trees to clients that took part in the parenting program said, “The fruit trees hit home for us – it connects the community with food and healthy nutrition which is a great way to promote self-care. Whether a senior, parent, or farmer you have to take care of yourself and this was a great way to build the community through agriculture and connecting them to the earth and nature.”
This effort is one of many that CGTC is leading to promote the sustainable development of our islands. To aid farmers and the community at large, CGTC launched a new newsletter focused on agriculture and drought which can be found at U.S. Virgin Islands | Drought.gov. The CGTC staff will also be creating a Water Resource Guide called “Go with Flow” which will focus on strategies from CGTC that are Caribbean focused.
The mission of the UVI CGTC is to develop, promote and help implement the use of innovative green technologies to improve the social development of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the well-being of all the Territory’s communities. The CGTC will achieve its goals by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change, and creating products, processes and methods that are relevant to Caribbean islands.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. has nominated former Bureau of Internal Revenue Director Marvin Pickering to be the chairman and chief executive officer of the Casino Control Commission.
Pickering’s nomination will go before the Senate and, if approved, Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Raymond “Usie” Richards will fall back to a regular board seat, Government House Communications Director Richard Motta, Jr. said today.
St. Thomas architect Stacy Bourne also serves as a commissioner on the CCC.
In addition to his role as the BIR director from 2015-2019, Pickering served as a senior vice-president and chief financial officer for Cruzan Rum For 17 years.
Pickering was born on St. Thomas and attended Charlotte Amalie High School before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration from the College of the Virgin Islands, now the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).
He currently sits on the board of Junior Achievement of the Virgin Islands, and he has served on the board of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA); the Board of Trustees of the St. Croix Landmarks Society; the board of the Foundation for UVI; and the Boards of Trustees for Good Hope School and St. Dunstan’s Episcopal School.
The Casino Control Commission was established to “develop and implement a regulatory framework that permits and promotes the stability and continuity of casino gaming in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” according to its website.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) will host a Virtual Open House on Wednesday, June 3 to present an overview of its programs, answer questions from the public and encourage students to enroll this fall.
High school seniors, parents, and anyone interested in learning about undergraduate and graduate programs on St. Thomas and St. Croix, as well as online, are invited to participate.
The event will be hosted live on UVI’s Facebook page and via a 90-minute Zoom video call at 4 p.m.
“We recognize there is a lot of uncertainty especially for new students and families as they consider what higher education options are available for them during this unprecedented time,” David Wuinee, UVI vice provost of Access and Enrollment Services, said. “We want to reassure the public that UVI remains an excellent choice with a broad range of academically rigorous and globally relevant programs right here in the Virgin Islands.”
Attendees of the Virtual Open House will learn about the diversity of programs available including Nursing, Business, Education, Science, Mathematics, Agriculture, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, among others. The Access and Enrollment Services team will outline the admissions process and discuss financial aid opportunities. Presenters and panelists will comprise university leaders including UVI president, Dr. David Hall, and student representatives.
The event aims to be both informational as well as interactive and engaging for prospective students. To attend the Virtual Open House, visit www.facebook.com/UVI.edu to access the link or visit www.uvi.edu for Zoom login details. A recording will be available on the UVI Facebook page following the open house for anyone unable to attend the live event.
For more information, visit www.uvi.edu or call the Public Relations Office at (340) 693-1057.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — By graduation date, May 2017, 100 percent of the School of Nursing (SON) Class of 2017 at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) was eligible to sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Of the 12 graduate students that took the examination, 11 of them were successful. This marked a 92 percent pass rate.
“This is a major accomplishment,” said, Dr. Beverly Lansiquot, dean of the School of Nursing (SON). “As an alumna of the School of Nursing myself, I am happy to know that the school is once again producing outcomes that it is historically known for and I hope that it continues on this trajectory,” she said.
In previous years the pass rates were not meeting the expectations of the school, according to Dr. Lansiquot. “The results we have seen over the years have been mediocre and in 2014 the outcome for the program was a 25 percent pass rate,” she said.
“Since then the School of Nursing took some serious revisions to the curriculum, admission and promotion policies,” Dr. Lansiquot said. “We increased the academic rigor of the program and strengthened our use of standardized testing.” She further added, “New courses were introduced in Fall 2016 to include a NCLEX-RN Preparatory Course and a Senior Clinical Practicum.” The graduating Class of 2017 were the first to complete these courses.
“The newly implemented curriculum and the preceptorship program (Senior clinical practicum) were very beneficial to my success,” said Shahara-Ann Donastorg, UVI SON 2017 alumna. She stated that, “the 12-hour shift for the Senior clinical practicum gave me a hands-on experience, increasing growth and a greater understanding of the roles and scope of nursing.”
Donastorg is a registered nurse working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Schneider Regional Medical Center. She is also employed at Premiere Health Care Services, a home health agency.
“It is very rewarding after working so hard over the past years. Starting from a student nurse, transitioning into a graduate nurse and now a registered nurse, I feel quite accomplished,” said Donastorg.
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada. There are two types, theNational Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). After graduation from a SON, one takes the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam to receive his or her nursing license. A nursing license gives an individual the permission to practice nursing, granted by the state where he or she met the requirements.