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Sunday, February 5, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesGovernor Nominates Williams, Thomas to Parole Board

Governor Nominates Williams, Thomas to Parole Board

A retired government financial officer and a member of the clergy could become the newest members of the V.I. Parole Board. Their appointments would take the strain off of the board which has been functioning at a reduced level for at least a year because it lacked a quorum.

Last week Gov. John deJongh Jr. sent the nominations of Curtis E. Williams and the Rev. Dr. Bentley Thomas to the Legislature for confirmation. If approved, they would bring the total number of voting board members to five; by statute, the board has a total of seven voting positions and the attorney general serves as a nonvoting member.

It was not clear Monday how quickly confirmation hearings would be held. Typically, noncontroversial appointments can be handled in a matter of a few weeks and include confirmation hearings held by the Senate Rules Committee.

Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Sammuel Sanes could not be reached Monday to detail the process. A staff person in his office said it includes the nominees filling out a legislative questionnaire, but she deferred further questions to the senator.

According to Williams’ résumé, provided by Government House, he is now retired after working in numerous administrative and financial positions, primarily in the public sector. His government service includes work in the Departments of Health, Labor and Public Safety and with the Municipal Court. He also served as an instructor with the Adult Education program. He received his associate degree in accounting in 1977 from the College of the Virgin Islands, which is now the University of the Virgin Islands.

Thomas’ résumé states he received a bachelor’s degree in social services and social welfare services as well as a master’s degree in public administration from UVI. He also lists a doctorate in Biblical leadership studies from the North American School of Theology in Winter Haven, Fla. Thomas has been principal of the Bethel Baptist Elementary School for 42 years, has served as a chaplain for the prison on St. Thomas for 35 years and as a chaplain for the Police Department for 20 years.

The three current members serving on the Parole Board are Chesley Roebuck, Samuel Garnett and Dennis Howell. All three have indicated a willingness to continue to serve, according to Darien Wheatley, who serves as staff liaison between the Justice Department and the board.

Members are appointed to two-year terms, but, Wheatley said, they automatically continue to serve until replaced by the governor or until they resign.

At least three of the voting members must be from the district of St. Thomas-St. John and three from St. Croix. Williams would be a St. Croix member; Thomas, a St. Thomas-St. John representative.

Parole Board members receive a stipend of $50 a day for each day or portion of a day that they meet as well as “necessary” travel expenses. By statute, the board is supposed to meet a minimum of twice a year at the Golden Grove Correctional Facility on St. Croix to review and make decisions on requests for parole.

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