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Two Exceptional Students to Vie for the Prestigious Miss UVI Crown on April 6



Left to right: LaMonee Morris and MiLisa Mercado. Courtesy of UVI.

As the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) prepares to celebrate the 44th Miss UVI Ambassadorial Competition, excitement builds on the Albert A. Sheen Campus in St. Croix. The event, a highlight of the UVI calendar, is meticulously organized by the Queen’s Committee of the Student Government Association and is slated for a grand showcase on Saturday, April 6, at 6 p.m., in the campus Cafetorium.

This year, the competition spotlights two standout students, each aiming to clinch the Miss UVI 2024 title in a display of grace, intelligence, and cultural advocacy.

LaMonee Morris, 21, is a psychology major with a passion for dance, which complements her academic journey. As a vibrant Mocko Jumbie and the captain of UVI’s Twirlettes, Morris is deeply entrenched in the cultural fabric of the Virgin Islands. Her campaign for the crown is underpinned by a dedication to promoting HBCU Pride, aiming to illuminate the rich cultural heritage and excellence of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Competing alongside Morris is MiLisa Mercado, a 20-year-old nursing student with a fervent commitment to enhancing water accessibility and sustainability. Mercado’s campaign focuses on the critical importance of education in these areas, striving to make a lasting impact. Both candidates, proud representatives of the Sheen Campus, epitomize the blend of elegance, intellect, and leadership that the Miss UVI title symbolizes.

Jana Austrie, the University’s director of Student Life and Activities, shares her enthusiasm for this year’s theme, ‘I Am HBCU Excellence,’ a tribute to the legacy and achievements of HBCUs. Austrie extends an invitation to the community to experience the ambassadorial prowess and diverse talents of the contestants firsthand.

The Miss UVI competition is more than a title; it’s an opportunity for the winner to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the university, engaging in recruitment efforts and representing UVI on both a local and international stage. Criteria for judging include intellectual acumen, linguistic proficiency, and overall presentation.

Beyond the crowning of Miss UVI, the event is a platform for contestants to showcase their intellectual and artistic talents. The winner will be awarded a full academic year’s scholarship at UVI, covering tuition, room, and board, along with other accolades for categories such as Most Intellectual Speaker, Best Ambassadorial Presentation, Best Performing Talent, and Best Evening Wear.

Tickets are available, with a special rate of $15 for UVI students presenting a valid ID, and $20 for the general public. They can be purchased at the Student Center and Bookstore on the Albert A. Sheen Campus, St. Croix, promising an evening of exemplary talent and ambassadorial potential.

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Utopia: The Unity Festival Highlights – Starring Burna Boy



Set to make history in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utopia: The Unity Festival promises an unforgettable day of music and entertainment at St. Thomas’s Crown Bay Dock on Sunday, May 5th. The event headlines global music icon Burna Boy, alongside a stellar lineup of top-tier artists.

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $174
  • Front Stage Access: $209
  • VIP Tickets: $350

VIP attendees will enjoy an enhanced experience with access to both the front stage and exclusive amenities including gourmet food and beverages, air-conditioned restrooms, and multiple service stations.

Tickets are available for purchase on EventBrite and at the festival gate. Attendees should bring a digital or printed copy of their ticket for scanning and wristband distribution.

Event Lineup and Schedule: The Unity Festival boasts a diverse array of performers, from local talents to international stars like dancehall sensation Spice and Grammy Award-winning duo R. City. Burna Boy, accompanied by his full band of over 30 members, is set to deliver a spectacular performance. The event will also feature renowned deejays Puffy and Private Ryan. Gates open at 2:00 p.m., with the festivities kicking off at 4:00 p.m. and concluding at 3:00 a.m.

Security and Amenities: Enhanced security measures include professional personnel with law enforcement expertise, the V.I. Police Department, and the V.I. Port Authority Police securing the venue and adjacent waterways. Emergency medical services, including St. Thomas Rescue with ambulances and emergency teams, will be on site.

Food and beverages will be readily available from multiple vendors and bars. Patrons are encouraged to reuse their drink cups to reduce waste and enjoy discounted prices on subsequent purchases.

Environmental Considerations: The festival area will be fully enclosed with shaded fencing to ensure privacy and security. Organizers have strategically placed garbage bins throughout the venue to promote responsible waste disposal.

Utopia: The Unity Festival is more than just a concert—it’s a celebration of music, culture, and unity that promises to deliver joy and an unparalleled collective experience to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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The Countdown to St. Thomas’s Unity Festival Heats Up



The excitement is palpable as we edge closer to the Unity Festival, poised to transform Crown Bay Dock into a pulsating epicenter of music, culture, and togetherness on May 5th. This year’s edition, headlined by the globally acclaimed Burna Boy, is shaping up to be a memorable day for everyone present, despite an unforeseen change in the lineup.

The festival’s atmosphere took a bittersweet turn when organizers recently announced the absence of Morgan Heritage from the lineup, due to the unfortunate passing of Peetah Morgan. Known for their indelible mark on the reggae genre, Morgan Heritage will now grace the USVI with their presence on St. Croix at a future date, offering fans a chance to honor Peetah Morgan’s enduring legacy.

In a move that reflects the festival’s commitment to accessibility and unity, ticket prices have been revised, with general admission now starting at $174 plus taxes. This adjustment ensures more fans can experience the exceptional array of talent scheduled to perform.

Burna Boy, renowned for his mesmerizing performances and pioneering music, is poised to headline the event, guaranteeing a captivating show. R. City, the Grammy-winning duo from the Virgin Islands, will return home to deliver their eclectic mix of pop, reggae, Soca, and R&B, adding a local flavor to the international lineup.

Spice, the dancehall phenomenon, is set to thrill attendees with her energetic performance and hit songs, making her one of the most anticipated acts of the festival. Her presence underscores the festival’s dynamic range of musical offerings.

The event will also shine a spotlight on the USVI’s own musical talents, including an array of local bands and DJs. International sensations DJ Puffy and DJ Private Ryan are slated to perform, promising to enhance the festival vibe with their genre-blending mixes.

With its final preparations underway, the Unity Festival stands as a powerful symbol of music’s unifying force. Organizers are committed to presenting an event that celebrates the Caribbean’s unity, music, and diverse cultural heritage.

As the festival nears, it not only signifies a key moment in the Caribbean’s cultural calendar but also marks the culmination of the St. Thomas Carnival season. This positioning as the final act of the carnival provides a fitting and vibrant conclusion to the festivities, celebrating the community’s culture, resilience, and shared joy. Attendees are invited to be part of a momentous close to the carnival season, experiencing a gathering that transcends music to embody the spirit of the Caribbean.

Fans looking for more information or to secure their tickets are encouraged to visit the Unity Festival’s official EventBrite page. With the festival poised to be a standout event of the year, securing a ticket promises a day filled with unity, music, and unparalleled celebration.

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Liberty VI Announces Completion of Transition from AT&T Networks



Residents of the Virgin Islands who have stayed with Liberty VI during its transition from AT&T’s networks to its proprietary system now have a reason for optimism, as the company has announced the successful completion of its migration process.

In a significant move back in 2020, Liberty acquired the customer base of AT&T in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico for $1.95 billion in cash. Following this acquisition, Liberty embarked on a journey to enhance its infrastructure, leading to the initiation of customer migration from the old AT&T network starting in June 2023.

The transition was not without its hurdles, triggering a wave of dissatisfaction among customers. Complaints ranged from dropped calls and service interruptions to poor communication from Liberty’s customer service team. The situation drew the ire of legislators, particularly during a committee meeting in January, where the negative impact on international telecommunications due to the migration was discussed at length.

Despite these challenges, by February 28, Liberty VI reported that it had successfully moved over 90% of its customers in the region to its new system. This progress occurred amidst an ongoing investigation by the Public Services Commission into the migration’s tumultuous execution.

As March concluded, Liberty VI was nearing the end of the migration process, even as legislation was being considered to mandate the PSC to lodge a formal grievance with the Federal Communications Commission over the ordeal.

If Liberty VI’s latest announcement is any indication, the resolution of post-migration issues might render such a complaint unnecessary. Ravindra Maywahlall, the General Manager, extended his appreciation to both customers and employees for their patience and trust during the transition. With the migration now complete, the focus shifts to refining the service platforms to ensure the exceptional mobile service experience Liberty aims to provide, as stated by Maywahlall.

He acknowledged that some customers might still face issues, particularly with device compatibility and software updates, notably on Samsung devices. Liberty VI is actively reaching out to those affected to offer support, and encourages customers to verify their device compatibility via a dedicated section on the Liberty website.

Now operating on its own network infrastructure, Liberty VI is poised to introduce new offerings and packages for its customers, promising enhanced flexibility, control, and service innovation. These new options are now accessible both online and in Liberty VI’s retail locations.

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