At VIFreep Breaking News Crime News Police News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Police Seeking Woman Who Led Female Gang In Beach Attack That Left Victim ‘Unconscious’

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Police are searching for a “heavy-build” woman on St. Thomas who they say led a group of women in a Sunday morning beach attack that left a female victim “unconscious,” authorities said.

Detectives were dispatched to the Roy L. Schneider Hospital Emergency Room at 12:25 p.m. Sunday to speak to the victim of an assault, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

The female victim told detectives that she was at Coki Point beach when she was approached by several other females, according to the VIPD.

“A physical altercation ensued, and the victim was assaulted, causing her to lose consciousness,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

The main suspect in this incident was described by police as being a Black female, about 5-feet, 6-inches tall, about 25 years old, She has black hair, a light complexion and a heavy build.

“The suspect is said to reside in the Coki Point beach area,” Derima said.

The VIPD identified the main suspect as Jamila John at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Anyone having any information about this incident is urged to contact police by calling 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 714-9801, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-8477. Remember, if you see something, say something.

Police Seeking Woman Who Led Female Gang In Beach Attack That Left Victim 'Unconscious'
At VIFreep Breaking News Business News Health News National News St. Thomas News Tourism News

St. Thomas And Orlando To Get Better Acquainted Thanks To New Flights On Frontier Airlines In 2021

ORLANDO — Locals who want to spend a week visiting Central Florida’s theme parks, or just looking for a deal on a flight, have a new option: Frontier.

The twice-weekly flight between Florida’s busiest airport and St. Thomas will connect the two cities in the second month of 2021.

Orlando is a major hub for the airline and service to the city will link St. Thomas to more than 90 additional Frontier destinations.

V.I. Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte announced that Frontier’s new seasonal service will give travelers in Florida even more options for travel to the territory during the peak winter season.

“We are grateful for and greatly encouraged by Frontier’s partnership and support of our efforts to build aerial access to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Boschulte said. “The carrier’s strategic decision to inaugurate service to ‘Rock City’ is another critical airlift development success for the territory, as it helps us to address the growing demand of stateside visitors – as well as Virgin Islanders living abroad – to come to the USVI.”

Boschulte and Governor Albert Bryan met with Frontier executives in Miami in March to explore airlift possibilities.

Starting in February 2021, Frontier will serve St. Thomas (STT) with flights twice a week from Orlando International Airport (MCO), Florida’s busiest airport based on the volume of passengers.

Expressing confidence that the new air service bodes well for the growth of tourism-related activity and revenues, Boschulte said, “As we welcome more stayover visitors to our shores, we expect to see a concomitant increase in visitor expenditures at restaurants, retail and grocery stores, attractions and activities,” while noting that arrivals in the territory have risen steadily since the resumption of leisure travel in September.

“Airlift development for St. Croix and St. Thomas is a central element of the Department of Tourism’s FY 2021 marketing strategy, which will be unveiled and implemented in the coming weeks,” he said.

Commissioner Boschulte added that in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, “We have delivered clear and consistent messages to the travel marketplace that the U.S. Virgin Islands wants travelers to ‘Reconnect with Paradise’ in a safe and healthy manner.”

Pandemic-related guidelines for traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands include the requirement for every traveler aged five or older to submit a COVID-19 test result through the secure online USVI Travel Screening Portal. The traveling public is encouraged to stay abreast of the territory’s COVID-19 travel protocols by visiting

Frontier Airlines, which is known for its low fares as well as its customizable purchase options, has implemented stringent screening and sanitization standards to protect the health and safety of passengers and crew.

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News Government House News Health News St. Croix News St. John News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Tourists Can Flock Back To Territory Starting June 1 As Return To Normalcy Begins

CHRISTIANSTED — During his COVID-19 briefing today, Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. said he is initiating the blue “Open Doors” phase of the territory’s path back to normalcy effective June 1.

“This simply means that we will allow the prohibitions on leisure travel to expire, making it easier for potential tourists to book vacations to the territory,” Bryan said.

Bryan said the territory has received at least 500 test results from COVID-19 symptomatic patients without encountering a positive result.

“We have effectively eliminated community spread of the virus through our actions, and the evidence is the recent lack of hospitalizations and the reduction of calls to our hotlines,” Bryan said. “This is what gives us the confidence to take the next step forward.”

Stimulus checks

  • On Tuesday, May 26, 6,030 stimulus checks totaling about $10 million were mailed out.
  • To date, 18,429 checks have been mailed out totaling just less than $30 million.
  • To date, this is an average of $1,618 per check.
  • Another batch of checks is being processed and will be mailed out on Saturday, May 30.

YES credits

  • To date, 29,414 residential customers received a $250 credit and 5,461 commercial ratepayers have received a $500 credit.
  • A total of just less than 35,000 ratepayers have received YES credits.
  • The YES Credit Program is nearing completion

Unemployment benefits

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $600 per week to unemployment beneficiaries, began this week.
  • All eligible recipients will receive a lump sum check for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation retroactive to April 4, and the weekly payments will continue through July 31.
  • On May 27, the Department of Labor set a record by sending out 3,118 checks in one day.
  • The Department of Labor has secured a contract with InTouch Call Center, and the public can get information about any COVID-19-related employment security issues and unemployment benefits by calling 1-877-374-0356.
  • The call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

COVID-19 cases

  • Currently tracking two active cases
  • 1,708 individuals tested to date
  • 1,617 of those tests were negative
  • 69 tests came back positive
  • 62 recovered
  • 22 tests are pending
  • Six deaths to date
  • No COVID-19 patients are hospitalized at Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix.
  • One COVID-19 patient is hospitalized on a ventilator at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
At VIFreep Breaking News Caribbean News Sports News St. Thomas News Tourism News Uncategorized

Top Tier Runners Sail Into St. Thomas For Annual Marathon Race

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Elite runners from 11 countries are returning to St. Thomas today to compete for top honors in the third cruise marathon challenge as they island hop via the Carnival Fascination ship.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, in collaboration with St. Thomas Road Runners, will once again host the race.

The first two Southern Caribbean Challenges were held in 2016 and 2017, while last year’s event was cancelled due to the impact of the 2017 hurricanes.

Over the seven-day challenge, 22 runners hailing from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Poland, Australia, Pakistan, Italy, Taiwan and Philippines will compete in seven marathons on six Caribbean islands and one aboard a cruise ship.

Between them, the runners have broken 15 World Records and have completed more than 2,000 marathons in different parts of the world; some have run a marathon in over 100 countries.

“We have a star-studded lineup of marathon globetrotters on this trip,” said Ziyad Rahim, founder and CEO of Z Adventures and an adventure-runner from Pakistan. “The oldest competitor is 71 years young and the field includes multiple world record holders in various categories. Runners on the trip have run marathons all over the world.”

The Carnival Fascination brought 2,056 cruise ship passengers to St. Thomas today.

The fantasy-class cruise ship will be at the West Indian Company Ltd. dock from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News Education News Entertainment News Government House News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Gov. Bryan to Honor Radio Talk Show Host Tom Joyner At Havensight Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. honored media icon and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Tom Joyner by proclaiming today April 11 as “Tom Joyner Day” in the territory.

Governor Bryan is scheduled to meet with Joyner during a welcome back event for Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage Cruise hosted by the Department of Tourism at the WICO dock in Havensight 5 p.m. today.

Joyner’s annual Fantastic Voyage Cruise is one of the primary fundraisers for his Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports Historically Black Colleges and Universities HBCU’s throughout the nation, including the University of the Virgin Islands. 

“Tom Joyner’s contributions to the community and his active role in empowering young people to achieve educational success and fulfill their civic duties, make him worthy of this honor,” Bryan said. “He has long been a friend of the Virgin Islands, and we are glad to welcome him back.”

The Tom Joyner Foundation supports HBCU’s through scholarships, endowments, and capacity-building enhancements and has raised over $65 million in the 20 years since its founding in 1998.

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News Caribbean News St. Croix News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Delta Air Lines Planning Second Daily Flight Between St. Thomas and Atlanta

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Delta Air Lines plans to add a second daily flight between Atlanta and St. Thomas this summer.

American Airlines is “seriously considering” restoring its third daily Miami-St. Thomas flight, as well as expressing interest in a new route from Dallas.

United Airlines will serve the Houston-St. Thomas market beginning in May with weekly Saturday service before daily flights from June 6 – August 19, along with nonstop flights from Washington, D.C. scheduled over a similar period and intermittent Saturday flights from Newark over the summer.

And inside the Caribbean, talks have begun with LIAT to increase frequency or capacity on the Antigua-St. Thomas route.

The news was announced Tuesday by Tourism Commissioner Designee Joseph Boschulte at a Florida-Caribbean Cruise Ship Association meeting.

“We are steadily restoring confidence in our destination,” Boschulte said, promising that the department “will leave no stone unturned to maintain and increase airlift to both islands, especially as more accommodations come back on line.”

–Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) on Facebook

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News International News St. Croix News St. John News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Airlines Upbeat About U.S. Virgin Islands, Boschulte Reports From Canada

QUEBEC, Canada — The V.I. Department of Tourism reports that airlines serving the territory are satisfied with their route performance and some are looking forward to increasing capacity to the islands in the months ahead.

Speaking at the conclusion of the 12th Routes Americas conference in French Canada, Tourism Commissioner designee Joseph Boschulte said the conference presented the destination with an opportunity to update airline partners on the progress the islands have made since the hurricanes of 2017.

Airlines Upbeat About U.S. Virgin Islands, Boschulte Reports From Canada

Tourism Commissioner Designee Joseph Boschulte met with LIAT’s Scheduling Manager Jabari Jemmott (left) and Chief Commercial Officer Audra Walker.

Airline executives were especially interested in learning of the reopening of several hotels as well as the uptick in Airbnb accommodations and villa rentals across the territory as part of the wider accommodations landscape in the Virgin Islands.

“We also had an opportunity to speak about our larger accommodations properties which are expected to come back on line later this year as well as next year,” Boschulte said, explaining that as the destination positions itself for the next winter season “at a minimum, we must maintain pre-hurricane airlift into both St. Thomas and St. Croix.”

During the three-day route development forum for the Americas, the Commissioner Designee met with carriers currently serving the territory, including American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, LIAT, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines, and held discussions with Sun Country Airlines about its potential return from Minneapolis. He also connected with Allegiant and Southwest Airlines to begin the dialogue about potential future airlift development.

“This was an extremely important and cost-effective meeting to connect with so many airline partners,” Boschulte said.

It was hard for conference delegates, who were subjected to sub-zero temperatures and back-to-back winter storms during their visit.

“It was important to be here because our competition is here,” he said. “And in order to be an effective player in the tourism space in 2019, you have to be visible and you have to promote why people should choose to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands over any other place in the world.”

Routes Americas connects senior decision makers from the region’s leading airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss new market opportunities and the evolution of existing services, and encourages the building of high-value relationships with some of the most influential aviation professionals from across the region.

Boschulte said the Department of Tourism plans to embark on a strategy to drive greater business from cities in the Midwest region of the United States, including Chicago and Minneapolis, and will update the industry and the community on strong capacity scheduled for the destination over the summer, from cities such as Atlanta, Houston, New York and Washington, D.C.

About the U.S. Virgin Islands

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to, follow us on Instagram ( @visitusvi) and become a fan on Facebook (

When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel – including on-line check-in – making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland.

Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.

Airlines Upbeat About U.S. Virgin Islands, Boschulte Reports From Canada
V.I. Tourism Department Commissioner Designee Joseph Boschulte (right) meets with Andrew Bonney, Cape Air’s Senior Vice President of Planning.

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News St. Croix News St. John News St. Thomas News Tourism News

Businessman Joe Boschulte Tapped By Gov. Bryan To Be Commissioner of Tourism

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Joe Boschulte, a businessman and tourism specialist, has been nominated as Commissioner for the Department of Tourism.

Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. appointed Boschulte to lead the Territory’s major economic driver at a press conference on Tuesday.

Boschulte brings to the tourism department vast experience in business and in government as well as a track record of improving organizational performance and growth.

He formerly served as President and CEO of The West Indian Company Limited (WICO), where he led the completion of major capital projects.

“I look forward to building on the important work I have been engaged with across the cruise sector in the Virgin Islands,” said Commissioner Designee Boschulte, who anticipates providing strong leadership to a team of tourism professionals charged with promoting the destination and ensuring the Territory delivers on its brand promise.

Governor Bryan highlighted Boschulte’s deep knowledge of the cruise industry and broad understanding of the Virgin Islands economy, which he said will help to consolidate the Territory’s messaging in the marketplace. “We look forward to great things from Mr. Boschulte and we are glad that he is offering his public service to the Department of Tourism.”

Boschulte, who earned an MBA from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, has held high-level positions in transportation, utilities, telecommunications, finance, government development and investment banking.

A strategic team leader, Commissioner Designee Boschulte helped to reverse WICO’s annual losses. He also mobilized a public bond offering of almost $79 million to raise funds for capital projects for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, and developed a retirement system cash management program with $1.5 billion in assets under management by the Government Employees’ Retirement System.

A former Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the University of the Virgin Islands, Commissioner Designee Boschulte served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance with Wachovia Securities in Atlanta, and Vice President of Banc of America Securities in Charlotte and New York City.

The Commissioner Designee will appear before the Virgin Islands Legislature in the coming weeks for confirmation hearings.

Businessman Joe Boschulte Tapped By Gov. Bryan To Be Commissioner of Tourism
Richard J. Doumeng, Joe Boschulte and Lisa Hamilton on St. Thomas
At VIFreep Breaking News Community Affairs Entertainment News St. Croix News Tourism News

Agrifest 2019 Set for Mid-Month: “VI Agriculture: Still Growing in 2019”

FREDERIKSTED — The public is invited to attend the 48th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair of the  Virgin Islands from February 16 to 18 at the Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex in Estate Lower Love.

The theme is “VI Agriculture: Still Growing in 2019!”  The entrance fee is $6 for adults, $4 for children, and $5 for senior citizens. The fair will open daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with the opening ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 16. 

“The annual Agfair is planned with the public’s interest in mind,” said
Errol Chichester, acting commissioner of the V.I. Department of Agriculture. “The Board of Directors of the Agriculture and Food Fair of the Virgin Islands invites all residents to attend this cultural, educational, and social event.  Farmers, cooks, exhibitors and other participants await your presence.”

Agrifest 2019 will also feature Farmer of the Year Award presentations and grand quadrille dancing with music by Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights.  Other entertainment will include a Caribbean Gospel “Singspiration,” VI’s own 2019 Road March Champion Fusion Band, Reggae show, and Calypso show. 

Family fun will include interesting and attractive exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, challenging competitions, games, prize-winning animals, a variety of delicious local food and beverages, along with fun fellowship of sharing with friends and relatives from neighboring islands.

This year, the “Fair Wear” competition is back by popular demand. In addition to participants from all three Virgin Islands, guests are expected to arrive from Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada.

University of the Virgin Islands programs will participate under the UVI tent with educational displays of publications and services offered to the community. In addition to their major sponsorship roles, both Land Grant programs the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) – will portray the theme of VI Agriculture: Still Growing in 2019.

The organizers of the 2019 Agriculture and Food Fair invite everyone to come and experience Virgin Islands agriculture at its very best. 

The Agriculture and Food Fair is sponsored by the V.I. Department of Agriculture, the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, and the V.I. Department of Tourism. 

For more information, contact the Public Relations Office at or call (340) 693-1057.

At VIFreep Breaking News Business News St. Croix News Tourism News

Seaborne Airlines, Cape Air To Increase Flights To Keep Up With St. Croix Demand

FREDERIKSTED — The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has embarked on a marketing initiative with Seaborne Airlines and Cape Air to promote new flights between San Juan and St. Croix, helping to meet the demand for travel to the island this winter season.

On Seaborne Airlines, the San Juan-St. Croix route will see an increase from two to three daily flights beginning on Thursday. Then, on January 8, 2019, Seaborne will increase its frequency from three flights to six daily flights.

In January, Cape Air will start ramping up its operations to an average of six daily flights between San Juan and St. Croix, increasing the number of seats by about 50 percent.

The additional flights during the peak winter season will more than compensate for the 100 seats lost with the discontinuation of daily JetBlue Airways service effective January 8, 2019.

While passengers will no longer be able to fly to St. Croix on JetBlue’s aircraft, flights can be booked via JetBlue through its codeshare relationships with both Seaborne and Cape Air.

The Department also announced it would be increasing its marketing of LIAT flights to St. Thomas with connections over Antigua.