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Kadeem Maynard Awaits Sentencing: Lawyers and Family Advocate for Leniency in Drug Case

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Kadeem Maynard and his elder counterpart, Oleanvine, stand on the brink of their sentencing. Kadeem’s legal counsel has raised concerns over certain facets of the pre-sentencing review. They have urged the overseeing judge to contemplate a lighter sentence. Earlier in June, the Maynard duo, along with Andrew Fahie, previously holding the position of Premier in the British Virgin Islands, entered a guilty plea over allegations tied to a cocaine-trafficking plot. As part of their commitment, they both agreed to offer their full cooperation with the prosecuting party, in light of a plea bargain which alluded to a potential decade-long sentence.

Recently, between the closing days of July and the initial days of August, the pre-sentencing evaluation reports for both Maynards were presented to the court. On its heels, Kadeem’s lawyers made an official appeal for a sentence modification.

This past April, the U.S. Sentencing Commission opted to institute several alterations to existing sentencing benchmarks. These reforms are set to roll out this coming November. A pivotal amendment was the incorporation of a fresh guideline. This stipulation grants a diminished “offense level” if an accused fulfills particular prerequisites, like having a clean criminal background, and not engaging in violent acts or displaying genuine threats during the crime’s execution. Given the nature of the offense which wasn’t sexually motivated, racially charged, or tied to severe physical harm or death, and didn’t involve firearm dealings, Kadeem seems eligible for a reduced offense level.

Moreover, the legal representatives for Mr. Maynard argue, referencing another segment of the revised guidelines, that non-imprisonment sentences are “typically recommended” when certain conditions, like the one Mr. Maynard meets, are satisfied. Their contention hinges on Kadeem’s clean record, suggesting a variance would be suitable.

On a subsequent update, the defense presented discrepancies in the pre-sentencing document, stressing its failure to propose a “minor role reduction” for their client. They emphasized Kadeem’s restricted involvement in the plot, underlining that he merely connected the DEA’s undercover informant to his mother, Oleanvine, who at the time was the BVI Port Authority’s chief. They adamantly stated Kadeem had no hand in the administrative deception at the port or in the drug consignment logistics.

Most actions in the conspiracy, as per the defense, were primarily driven by Oleanvine and Fahie, not Kadeem. They highlighted Kadeem’s absence in Florida during the cash collection incident that led to Oleanvine and Fahie’s arrest.

To fortify their plea, the defense submitted medical records of Mr. Maynard’s three young daughters, all grappling with ongoing medical needs. They also spotlighted his financial support to another minor child. Supportive letters penned by his family, including a heartfelt one from his spouse, Sherisma Fahie-Maynard, shed light on Kadeem’s remorse and fear of his children’s possible resentment.

Furthermore, Kadeem’s health and academic ambitions were cited. His pursuit of a General Education Diploma has been stalled due to its unavailability at his current detention facility. His entrepreneurial endeavors in Tortola and Baltimore were also mentioned, along with his continuous cooperation with the prosecutors.

A personal letter from Kadeem, conveying his descent into unlawful acts out of desperation to safeguard his family’s residence, accompanied the submissions. In it, he implored for a non-jail sentence, such as probation or home monitoring, to be an active part of his children’s lives.

Contrasting the 11-14 years suggested by the pre-sentencing report, the defense asserts that their client’s eligibility for various reductions should bring the range to approximately 5 years and 10 months to 7 years and 3 months. They contend that Kadeem’s particular circumstances warrant an even reduced sentence.

The verdict on Kadeem’s final sentence is slated for August 21, coinciding with Oleanvine’s judgment day. Meanwhile, the upcoming trial for Andrew Fahie, asserting his innocence, is earmarked for November 1, 2023.

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$12.5 Million Federal Grant Boosts Climate Resilience at Cyril E. King Airport in the USVI

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The Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas has been earmarked for significant infrastructure upgrades, thanks to a generous $12.5 million grant from the Biden administration. This financial boost is directed at augmenting the airport’s resilience in the face of the escalating threats posed by climate change.

Announced on Thursday, this grant is a segment of a broader federal initiative distributing nearly $830 million across 80 projects nationwide. These projects are strategically chosen to reinforce the transportation infrastructure against the adverse effects of extreme weather conditions, including but not limited to flooding, sea-level rise, and heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis.

This initiative springs from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, utilizing funds allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law under the PROTECT Discretionary Grant Program.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg, along with FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt, emphasized the critical nature of these investments. The duo pointed out the growing threats that climate change poses to the nation’s transportation networks. “America’s transportation infrastructure is increasingly compromised by extreme weather events, ranging from wildfires in California that disrupt freight rail lines to flooding subways in New York. These events not only impede mobility but also threaten economic stability by disrupting supply chains,” Buttigieg remarked.

The project earmarked for the Virgin Islands will concentrate on restoring around 460 feet of shoreline at the airport. This initiative aims to curb flooding and combat shoreline erosion, ensuring the continued operation of both the airport and the adjacent petroleum facility that serves as a vital aviation fuel source during emergencies.

This funding initiative is part of the Biden Administration’s extensive efforts to bolster climate resilience. Over $50 billion has been earmarked for various climate resilience and adaptation projects through legislative measures, showcasing a committed stride towards protecting the nation’s infrastructure from climate-induced challenges and ensuring uninterrupted economic growth.

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Delegate Plaskett Applauds Congressional Approval of Funding Bill, Highlighting Benefits for U.S. Virgin Islands

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Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has lauded the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bill, marking a significant milestone with its presidential endorsement. This legislative achievement promises substantial benefits for the U.S. Virgin Islands through a comprehensive funding initiative celebrated for its cross-party backing in both Congressional chambers.

Characterized by its extensive support for economic growth, public safety enhancements, and family assistance nationwide—and by extension, in the Virgin Islands—the bill embodies a commitment to vital societal sectors. According to Congresswoman Plaskett, the legislation channels funds into pivotal areas such as educational initiatives, job training, and accessible, high-quality childcare. “This funding package champions essential services and programs that underpin education, workforce development, and childcare affordability,” Plaskett remarked.

The bill earmarks significant funding across various domains: $1.1 billion is allocated to the Small Business Administration to aid underserved business owners, $20.3 billion is designated for comprehensive disaster recovery efforts, and additional funds are directed towards combating the opioid crisis, specifically fentanyl. It also encompasses contributions towards Rural Health Programs, Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants, School-Based Mental Health Services, support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, among other initiatives.

Highlighting the bill’s transformative investments, Ms. Plaskett pointed out the strategic funding for education, healthcare, and climate change mitigation efforts that are critical to the Virgin Islands’ prosperity. “The legislative package makes unprecedented allocations towards Head Start, childcare, educational enrichment, workforce training, and placement programs,” she detailed. The bill also fortifies national defense, underscores the U.S.’s dedication to climate change countermeasures and global health improvement, and boosts funding for border security and cyber-defense.

Congresswoman Plaskett views the bill’s passage as a triumph for House Democrats, who she notes, “successfully protected community investments while countering several detrimental proposals by House Republicans, such as cuts to education and climate change initiatives.”

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Over $10 Million Allocated to USVI through Community Projects by Delegate Plaskett

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In a significant advancement for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the recent approval of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2024 by the House of Representatives heralds a substantial financial boost for local initiatives, thanks to the efforts of Delegate Stacey Plaskett. Plaskett announced the inclusion of twelve Community Project Funding Requests from her office in the federal bill, highlighting her commitment to enhancing education, healthcare, community development, and economic opportunities for the territory’s vulnerable populations.

Upon the anticipated Senate approval and President Joe Biden’s signature, the legislation will channel more than $10 million into the Virgin Islands for various critical community projects. Beneficiaries include notable entities such as the St. Croix Foundation, My Brother’s Workshop, and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, each tasked with implementing projects that aim to foster community well-being and economic resilience.

Deanna James, Executive Director of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, praised the funding as a testament to the impact of civic-public partnerships in catalyzing significant social change in underserved areas. The Foundation is set to receive $1 million to rejuvenate affordable housing and commercial spaces in Christiansted, underscoring the initiative’s potential to transform local communities.

Similarly, St. Croix Farmers in Action will utilize their $1 million allocation to refurbish essential water infrastructure at the Bethlehem Sugar Factory site, enhancing agricultural resilience against drought conditions. Kareem Edwards, a board member, emphasized the project’s critical importance to St. Croix’s agricultural sector.

The funding extends to a diverse array of projects across the U.S. Virgin Islands:

  • Lord God of Sabaoth Evangelical Lutheran Church is allocated $1,666,279 to increase affordable housing and activate essential services for Christiansted’s disadvantaged populations.
  • My Brother’s Workshop receives $1,000,000 for constructing a facility that will bolster education and workforce development.
  • The Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts is awarded $850,000 to transform a historical site into an educational center for traditional building crafts.
  • Caribbean Centers for Boys & Girls of the Virgin Islands gets $1,000,000 for the rehabilitation of youth centers damaged by hurricanes.
  • The Department of Planning and Natural Resources is allocated $510,000 for renovations and solar lighting at the Gustave Quetel Fish Market.
  • World Ocean School will use $850,000 for the educational refurbishment of the Roseway, a National Historic Landmark.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers receives funding for projects improving navigation in Christiansted and Charlotte Amalie Harbors.
  • Coral World Ocean and Reef Initiative is granted $438,000 to study and mitigate the impacts of sargassum on marine life.
  • An additional $963,000 goes to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources for addressing harmful sargassum algal blooms.

This allocation underscores a forward-thinking approach to enhancing the U.S. Virgin Islands’ resilience and sustainability, marking a pivotal moment for community development in the territory.

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