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CruzanIron
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October 19, 2020 3:57 pm  
Posted by: @janeinstx

https://viconsortium.com/vi-crime/virgin-islands-victims-of-emerald-beach-resort-robbery-attempt-had-stolen-a-firearm-police-say-they-were-arrested-on-multiple-weapons-charges-

Thanks Jane. As I suspected, it was a targeted crime involving unsavory characters. 


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rewired
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October 19, 2020 7:24 pm  
Posted by: @gators_mom

Correlation should not not imply causation when looking at the quality of K-12 schooling and crime.

 

I'll happily stipulate that correlation and causation are different and there shouldn't be an implication of causation.

It does give one pause when the low test scores are looked at

https://viconsortium.com/vi-education/virgin-islands-10-1-percent-of-usvi-students-met-or-exceeded-math-standards-in-2019-24-7-percent-met-or-exceeded-english-standards-education-reveals-in-2019-report-card

and

https://viconsortium.com/editor_new/source/2019%20School%20Report%20Card%20Release%201-21-2020%20-%20PDF.pdf

Although everyone learns differently and test scores aren't the only indicator of student success, I think even the BOE would agree that there is a LOT of room for improvement in our educational system. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Youth deserve to have the opportunity to learn basic life skills and have a foundation of knowledge to move forward in life (whether it's college, a skilled trade or an unskilled trade).

Other places have had success with charter schools and trade high schools (where students learn basic life skills and a skilled trade in their junior/senior years) - should they be looked at as options here?

I don't discount the 'lure of easy money', but I think the lack of opportunities for success sends more young men that direction than would go that way if they felt they had the opportunity to succeed in their own.

Just my 2 cents..

 


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Gator's Mom
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October 20, 2020 10:01 am  
Posted by: @rewired
Posted by: @gators_mom

Correlation should not not imply causation when looking at the quality of K-12 schooling and crime.

 

I'll happily stipulate that correlation and causation are different and there shouldn't be an implication of causation.

It does give one pause when the low test scores are looked at

https://viconsortium.com/vi-education/virgin-islands-10-1-percent-of-usvi-students-met-or-exceeded-math-standards-in-2019-24-7-percent-met-or-exceeded-english-standards-education-reveals-in-2019-report-card

and

https://viconsortium.com/editor_new/source/2019%20School%20Report%20Card%20Release%201-21-2020%20-%20PDF.pdf

Although everyone learns differently and test scores aren't the only indicator of student success, I think even the BOE would agree that there is a LOT of room for improvement in our educational system. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Youth deserve to have the opportunity to learn basic life skills and have a foundation of knowledge to move forward in life (whether it's college, a skilled trade or an unskilled trade).

Other places have had success with charter schools and trade high schools (where students learn basic life skills and a skilled trade in their junior/senior years) - should they be looked at as options here?

I don't discount the 'lure of easy money', but I think the lack of opportunities for success sends more young men that direction than would go that way if they felt they had the opportunity to succeed in their own.

Just my 2 cents..

 

"Characteristics of children’s families are associated with children’s educational experiences and their academic achievement. Prior research has found that the risk factors of living in a household without a parent who has completed high school, living in a single-parent household, and living in poverty are associated with poor educational outcomes—including receiving low achievement scores, having to repeat a grade, and dropping out of high school."

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cce.asp

Overall in the US, the percent of people with a high school degree (or higher) is highest in Montana (93%), and lowest in the US Virgin Islands (68.9%).

Who is going to pay for high quality afterschool programs and vocational education in the USVI? These programs can help redirect children who might otherwise be destined to fail.

USVI is an undertaxed cash driven economy.

Charter schools are not financially feasible for the VI.


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stcmike
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October 20, 2020 7:34 pm  

Are there any public vocational schools in the VI. To be honest I never thought about it but I can see this being a need.


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stjohnjulie
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October 21, 2020 3:28 am  

I hope o didn’t give anyone that I thought for a second that teachers had anything to do with the crime problem.   I do however believe that our public education system is contributing to the problem.  We need more vocational programs in our schools and more basic life skills being taught.  The only way to stop the cycle of uneducated parents is to educate this generation.  

it does seem that in the plannings of the new schools to be built that they are trying to include vocational studies.  I think this would be a big step in the right direction.  But those schools won’t be completed for years yet.   


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jaldeborgh
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October 21, 2020 8:17 am  
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

it does seem that in the plannings of the new schools to be built that they are trying to include vocational studies.  I think this would be a big step in the right direction.  But those schools won’t be completed for years yet.   

Agree this is the right direction.  One thing we can do now is to start dispelling the notion that you need a College degree to be respected or capable of achieving good standard of living.  Qualified trades people are constantly in short supply and command good salaries.  We need to be teaching our young people that a vocational education can lead to a life filled with many exciting opportunities.


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rewired
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October 21, 2020 8:31 am  
Posted by: @gators_mom

...

Who is going to pay for high quality afterschool programs and vocational education in the USVI? These programs can help redirect children who might otherwise be destined to fail.

USVI is an undertaxed cash driven economy.

Charter schools are not financially feasible for the VI.

My intent is to try to help move the discussion from 'why can't we' to HOW CAN WE...

How can we identify, gather, provide resources to help provide our youth with the skills they need to be successful?

How can we identify sponsors and help create after school and vocational programs (and which programs should we start with)?

How can we provide opportunities for our youth to obtain the skills they don't learn at home or school to be better prepared for life?

How can we provide training and job opportunities that encourage our youth to build peaceful, productive lives and avoid (or turn away from) the gangster/easy money path?

How can we work together as a community to improve life in the territory for everyone without expecting our fickle government to finally prioritize it over their own interests?

(I guess I'm up to a nickel now...)


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jaldeborgh
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October 21, 2020 9:37 am  
Posted by: @rewired

My intent is to try to help move the discussion from 'why can't we' to HOW CAN WE...

I'm with you on this one, I was born with the double curse of having both a burning need to fix things I see as broken and a strong bias towards action, even if my aim isn't perfect on the first attempt, as I can always course correct.  I've never seen a problem fixed by complaining about something, all you do is empower (and enable) someone else, with a bias towards action, to step in an do something you may not agree with.

This post was modified 1 month ago by jaldeborgh

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Scubadoo
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Gator's Mom
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October 21, 2020 11:24 am  
Posted by: @rewired
Posted by: @gators_mom

...

Who is going to pay for high quality afterschool programs and vocational education in the USVI? These programs can help redirect children who might otherwise be destined to fail.

USVI is an undertaxed cash driven economy.

Charter schools are not financially feasible for the VI.

My intent is to try to help move the discussion from 'why can't we' to HOW CAN WE...

How can we identify, gather, provide resources to help provide our youth with the skills they need to be successful?

How can we identify sponsors and help create after school and vocational programs (and which programs should we start with)?

How can we provide opportunities for our youth to obtain the skills they don't learn at home or school to be better prepared for life?

How can we provide training and job opportunities that encourage our youth to build peaceful, productive lives and avoid (or turn away from) the gangster/easy money path?

How can we work together as a community to improve life in the territory for everyone without expecting our fickle government to finally prioritize it over their own interests?

(I guess I'm up to a nickel now...)

So the discussion is who is going to pay? 

After a quick Google search, I found the VI government gives the Boys and Girls Clubs around $900K per year, which is about right to support 3 sites at $300K/year each that each serve 100 children 8-16 years of age. The unfortunate truth is government provides the most predictable source of annual funding for programs such as this, which are too important to be at the whim or mercy of private funding. 

Well-structured afterschool programs like the Boys and Girls Clubs that serve these children can provide mentorship, skill building and academic support systems missing from K-12 schools. 

I am a professional fundraiser and I've worked in the education space raising millions of dollars over my career. To hire me is a major cost - and one that requires a highly predictable annual operating budget. Raising private money is not a cheap enterprise by any measure.

My passion however - and where I direct my volunteer time - is working with afterschool programs serving two of the most economically challenged areas in Florida. Many of our families are led by single mothers or grandparents - almost all are African American if that makes a difference. A lot of our mothers work in the evenings or at night - many at second jobs. We have a cohort of mothers who are strippers and/or prostitutes. Drug use, dealing and gangs are part of the community we serve but we provide as safe a space as possible for these kids to learn and grow. We are government funded through a sales tax directed to support community children.

I worked on a business plan for a charter school that would have served our kids. But it was mostly a scheme to move monies from public education to the pockets of landlords, equipment vendors, corporate administrators and other special interests. We had to completely disassociate. The New Orleans model works fairly well because the charter schools primarily are located in public school buildings.  

Vocational programs are enormously expensive to put into place. Though I haven't looked at grants.gov, I suspect there are federal funds that could support building and equipping two programs - one on each main island I suppose. But then, the VI government would be responsible for keeping it staffed, supplied, and current each and every year from operating funds that come from the Feds and local taxes. Again, something this important can't be at the whim of philanthropy.

Virtually all school children in the US participate in standardized testing. So VI children, parents and schools will have to figure out how to cope.

With that, I encourage you to participate in the USVI Vision 2040 survey (one for each island).

https://www.usvi2040.com/get-involved?fbclid=IwAR1knkCSdq6S1-R6qXYq39BSZQKi941ByfBt5WdyK5DbvZ5P4p5qgxykMBo


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stcmike
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October 21, 2020 11:47 am  

@Scubadoo

 

Nice  - A vehicle version of stop and frisk. Time to be proactive instead of reactive


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East Ender
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October 21, 2020 12:46 pm  

If you wait until children are school age, you are too late. You need to start at birth to three.


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stcmike
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October 21, 2020 3:00 pm  

I know its extremely important to reach out and help guide children as early as possible but my question is how do we stop crime for people in their 30's, 40's and 50's. Is it a lost cause?


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Gator's Mom
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October 21, 2020 6:19 pm  
Posted by: @STTsailor
Posted by: @janeinstx

https://viconsortium.com/vi-crime/virgin-islands-victims-of-emerald-beach-resort-robbery-attempt-had-stolen-a-firearm-police-say-they-were-arrested-on-multiple-weapons-charges-

I’m glad there is a happy ending to this story. 

Former police chief and current USVI Senator Novelle Francis' son was one of the perpetrators at the Emerald Beach Resort.

Here's the latest on USVI Senator Marvin Blyden's gun toting drug dealer son.

https://viconsortium.com/vi-crime/virgin-islands-st-thomas-man-arrested-on-firearm-and-drug-charges-


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rewired
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October 21, 2020 6:41 pm  
Posted by: @gators_mom

So the discussion is who is going to pay? 

@gators_mom

Congratulations on the success of your career in educational fundraising. I also commend you on your volunteerism in Florida.

Rereading my post, I can't find anywhere that I asked who would pay...

My questions didn't reference funding, but moving the conversation to a more constructive and optimistic direction of how we can make things better. Some ideas that come up may not be achievable without a significant source of funding, but others may also be achievable by volunteer effort and minimal funding.

@stcmike

I worked in law enforcement, community supervision and the Courts for over 30 years. Below is part of a response I wrote in a comment on a recent news story. In my experience/opinion, there are some 'lost causes' out there, but the great majority of offenders don't have to be.

Having retired after 30+ years working in law enforcement and the Courts, I've had the opportunity to see and do research into 'what works' in criminal justice. These are some of my personal observations over that time (and opinions based on the observations)...

I've seen very little evidence that 3 strikes laws serve as a true deterrent, although they do make us feel better and give us a way to send away the people that are repeat offenders for a long time.
Life sentences should be reserved for the most serious crimes (rape, armed robbery, murder, kidnapping, etc.).
There are a few things that DO work (but they seem to be more elusive in the VI than in some other places).
The first is swift detection and response to the offense - the closer the arrest is to the offense, the more closely associated it is with the offense in the person's mind.
The second is a timely court appearance - waiting months or years disconnects what the person did from their day in court.
The third is the appropriateness of the sentence - it needs to be proportionate to the offense and consistent with other similar situations.
The fourth is appropriate supervision and treatment if convicted and returned to the community. This would also include random drug testing if determined by the court.
The last (but not least) is community support including positive influences to help the person stay out of trouble when they return to the community.


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stcmike
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October 21, 2020 8:44 pm  

@rewired

Very Interesting and congrats on your retirement

 

Regarding the arrests of the Senators' sons, have the Senators made any comments regarding the arrests?

 


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rewired
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October 21, 2020 9:14 pm  

Thanks @stcmike

Here's another story a couple days later with more of the story on Khalid Blyden...

http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/news/blyden-appears-in-court/article_268ea558-41c9-597a-820e-ce0ba38242f0.html


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stcmike
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October 22, 2020 5:26 pm  

I hope it was just a lie about taking his kids to the beach.  I hate to think kids were in the car with drugs and a gun. 26 years old with 3 Florida arrests and now a Virgin Islands arrest, not much of a role model to his kids (Is he married to the mother of the kids). I guess politicians do need pay raises if they have to keep posting their kid's bail. In fairness to the individual an arrest does not mean your guilty.


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sttanon
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October 23, 2020 12:46 am  
Posted by: @stxdreaming1

@stcmike

I've always wondered, does the BVI and other places such as Cayman islands etc have the same issues with crime? I ask because I honestly don't know. 

BVI is on ALL SORTS of watchlists for money laundering for illegal funds ( mostly drug money). Last I saw they are like Panama and they Caymans were back in the day...... There is a lot of illegal crap that happens there just not as widely reported ( know this from friends that born and raised there that live in VI but commute).


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sttanon
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October 23, 2020 1:19 am  

         The rise in crime lately is almost to be expected and probably is going to get worse before it gets better. The world is reeling from the pandemic and the shutdowns, but the VI is really getting hit because we never really got a chance to come back after storms before COVID became a issue.

           I guess in living in the VI for over 20 years I am a bit jaded at the whole situtation to a degree. Every administration has their action words and plans with fancy names but in the end sounds great but the end impact is little to nil. Corruption within the police is not something that is VI specific but I suppose is more "in your face" because of the size of our community. I remember seeing same sort of issues growing up some in rural America. I remember what my mentor told me when I first moved to the islands all those years ago, " when times get tough here people put down the books and pick up a gun". That statement does have some truth to it. That same person also told me that to make it down here you have to have a bit of pirate and corruption to ya. It is sad seeing so many getting cut down in their prime over the color that they like or the signs that they mark. Cocaine and the bucks that it brings in have been a problem here since before I moved in '95 and will continue to be so as long as there is money to be made with it. 

               One problem that I have always seens is that the local government is really touchy when it comes to the idea that there are problems that they cant solve on their own.... The Feds cant really do anything at this point until the government says we need your help with this, that being said even in the states when the feds help the problem doesnt go away.... I personally understand when the VIPD reaches out for tips and gets nothing. People are scared because of what can happen and sadly many times does happen to people that "rat" out the criminals. 


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Gator's Mom
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October 23, 2020 8:43 am  
Posted by: @sttanon
Posted by: @stxdreaming1

@stcmike

I've always wondered, does the BVI and other places such as Cayman islands etc have the same issues with crime? I ask because I honestly don't know. 

BVI is on ALL SORTS of watchlists for money laundering for illegal funds ( mostly drug money). Last I saw they are like Panama and they Caymans were back in the day...... There is a lot of illegal crap that happens there just not as widely reported ( know this from friends that born and raised there that live in VI but commute).

BVI has a co-starring role in the Panama Papers about the laundering of South American drug money. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/notorious-tax-haven-british-virgin-islands-to-introduce-public-register-of-company-owners/


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stcmike
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October 23, 2020 11:12 am  

I guess street crime gets of the attention (but nothing ever seems to be done) because lets face it gorry pictures and words sells newspapers (and gets internet clicks). But if we are going to be honest its not just street crime that has invaded the islands. Govt/Police corruption has been a long time problem. Sexual exploitation has also been a problem here (need I say more than Epstein). The easiest thing to do is just live and hopefully enjoy your time here and when the opportunity to move back to the states you take it and let the remaining citizens continue to deal with the mess.

 

I must congratulate everyone who participated in this thread. It was good to hear everyone's opinion on the subject matter. Before this site changed its web presentation we often had subject matter that created allot of important public feedback


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Lyubov
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October 23, 2020 2:44 pm  

@queen-mary This! 🙂


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rewired
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October 24, 2020 8:14 pm  
Posted by: @stcmike

Are there any public vocational schools in the VI. To be honest I never thought about it but I can see this being a need.

There was an interesting and timely story in the Source yesterday about the Board of Careers and Technical Education (I didn't even know it existed)

https://stcroixsource.com/2020/10/23/board-mulls-new-programs-for-career-and-technical-education/

The Board has been meeting less than a year, but it's discussing construction and agriculture programs that could impact students as early as middle school.

 


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rewired
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October 24, 2020 9:06 pm  
Posted by: @stcmike

Are there any public vocational schools in the VI. To be honest I never thought about it but I can see this being a need.

Apparently, there is (was) also a Workforce Investment Board that has authority over apprenticeship programs in the territory.

Interestingly enough, the last annual report was done in 2014 (for FY2013) by now Governor Bryan... Although the website is still there, it doesn't look like it's been updated since then.

http://www.viwib.org/whatsnew/apprenticeships.htm


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