9-Year-Old Boy Dies After Being Shot in Head in Croixville Housing Community; Police Detain 15-Year-Old

Concerned Residents Clean Christiansted Town Using Their Own Tools, Money, and Some Help from the VI Fire Service

Territory May See Veterans Cemetery Through DeGazon-Sponsored Bill

Credit and Debit Cards of WAPA Customers Were Compromised Since August 30th, WAPA Says, Authority to Finally Start Issuing Notification Via Mail and Email

Sports Tourism in VI Gains Momentum as DC United Team is set to Play Exhibition Soccer Game on St. Croix

Carnival Breeze Brings 3,700 Tourists to St. Croix During Maiden Call; Senators, Tourism Officials Want to See More

Limetree Bay Willing To Provide $10 Million To Help Add Life to a Dying G.E.R.S.

American Airlines to Serve St. Croix With New Flights Next Summer

The Sudden Death of Influential Roots Reggae Visionary, Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite Band and Akae Beka, Has Rocked the Virgin Islands and Reggae Community Around the World

Arthur A. Richards K-8 School Hosts Anti-Bullying Campaign

Come Out. Hang Out. Have Fun at The Meat Up, One of St. Thomas’ Latest Hot-Spot for Good Food with Friends and Family.

UVI Board of Trustees Approves $47.1 Million Fiscal Year 2020 Budget; Sets $3 Million Fundraising Goal

Man Dies During Early Morning Car Accident on St. Croix; Driver of Car Arrested (Updated)

'You Did Everything You Could to Prevent this from Happening': An Emotional Goodbye to Young Aaron Benjamin

Back in Business: Cost U Less on St. Thomas Opened its Doors Friday to Thousands of Customers 2 Years after Irma and Maria

Bill Aimed at Regulating Credit Use by Gov't Departments and Agencies Among Others Held in Committee

Juan Luis Hospital Announces Completion and Availability of Mobile Dialysis Facilities

Tractor Trailer With Tank Carrying Thousands Of Gallons of Liquified Gas Flips Near Cool Out Bar; Driver Injured But Alive

Credit and Debit Card Hack Through WAPA Appears to be Widespread in Virgin Islands; WAPA Says Support Services Will be Made Available to Affected Customers

Facing Life in Prison Without Parole, Mother and Boyfriend Plead Not Guilty in Murder of 4-Year-Old Boy

New B.O.C. Director Wants 800-Room Prison On St. Croix; Vialet Pushes Back: We Need Fluff For Education, Not Penal Facilities

Breaking News / Crime / News / Virgin Islands / July 24, 2019

Bureau of Corrections Director Wynnie Testamark said at B.O.C.’s budget hearing on Tuesday that an 800-room prison is needed on St. Croix to replace the current one in Golden Grove, which Ms. Testamark has said is old and outdated. On St. Thomas, she said a 300-room prison would be sufficient, bringing the total number of rooms for penal institutions in the territory to 1,100, if the new director’s vision were to hold. She said in light of the territory’s difficulty financial position, the new facilities would be built through public-private partnerships.

“One consideration, now being explored, is to have a private company build the facility we need, then sell it back to us under a long-term funding agreement,” said Ms. Testamark.

She said the rooms would accommodate mental patients, temporary federal prisoners and local inmates. “To encompass all the different classifications of inmates the Virgin Islands has, we need to build for the future and not necessarily what we have currently,” Ms. Testamark said.

But her plan came under immediate fire, specifically from Senator Kurt Vialet, who said the director’s idea amounted to an insult to the territory.

“We’re not talking about schools, we’re not talking about economic development, we’re talking about penal institutions. So I am very offended when this number has increased by some 800 projected beds that is embedded in your testimony,” Mr. Vialet said. “These are the numbers that you have, so those numbers just got to be fluff. An 800-bed facility is embedded here. How? The Virgin Islands never in its history has had so many prisoners. Even if we project a hundred more we’re not going to reach those numbers.

“And we want preventative programs; we want to reduce the prison population,” Mr. Vialet went on, adding that with the recent passage of the medicinal marijuana law, some inmates will need to be released because of decriminalized offenses.

Ms. Testamark responded by stating that the number of beds also include consideration in case of storms or emergency, where prisoners would need to be moved from one facility to the next. Her response, however, did not quell the veteran senator’s angst.

“You think the Government of the Virgin Islands has that kind of fluff? We want a shelter for the people of the Virgin Islands, not building fluff. So that whole number needs to be revisited. That whole paragraph is totally, dead wrong. Totally, totally off. And I don’t know if this was through your consulting part or this is from your analysis, but when you come before the Legislature, present information based on the facts in front of you and what is taking place at those facilities now. Have those numbers; you’re hired now,” chided Mr. Vialet.

He then mentioned the director’s salary, increased under the Bryan administration by $15,000 to $115,000 annually.

“You’re the director. A hundred and fifteen thousand dollars to put this together, so I don’t want to see fluff and this is fluff. I would love to see fluff in the Department of Education with facilities for our children, etc., but not penal.”

Following the castigating, Ms. Testamark said a 500-room prison on St. Croix would work.

B.O.C. is seeking $34.3 million for its fiscal year 2020 budget.

Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected]

Previous Post

B.O.C. Director Salary Increased By $15,000, Even As Bryan Has Vowed Not To Increase Salaries Of Cabinet Members

Next Post

Bryan Appoints 4 To Medicinal Marijuana Advisory Board

Leave a Reply

More Story

B.O.C. Director Salary Increased By $15,000, Even As Bryan Has Vowed Not To Increase Salaries Of Cabinet Members

Governor Albert Bryan vowed not to increase the salary of his cabinet members. He made this vow before and after being elected....

July 24, 2019