Born on the beautiful island of St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands of the United States on October 12, 1973, Alma Francis Heyliger developed a healthy sense of self-expression and confidence as a result of her upbringing and immediate environment.
Graduating from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1991 at the age of 17, as a proud Chicken Hawk, Alma embarked on her journey to the University of the Virgin Islands in the fall of that same year. Sadly, tragedy would bring Alma’s life to a screeching halt as her mother, Leeann Rabsatt Francis of Tortola was involved in a terrible accident. Coupled with the onset of Cancer, Leeann passed away on January 3, 1993. The following year, Alma’s life would once again be rocked with tragedy as her father, well-known barber and musician, Denzil” Frank” Francis Defreitas of St. Kitts also died of Cancer. Grieving the loss of both parents within a year of each other, Alma made a conscious decision to change the cards that life had dealt her! Remembering her upbringing and that her parents had carefully selected her birth name because of its meaning, “brave and diligent young lady”, as well as naming her after a tropical storm, Alma has dedicated the rest of her life to accomplishing every goal she set for herself.
Alma firmly stands by her own motto, “We spend so much time rationalizing mediocrity…we have forgotten what Greatness looks like!” Alma truly believes in the greatness of the people of the Virgin Islands and for the last two decades, Alma has laid the foundation for this greatness by being a fearless community activist and involving herself with various non-profit organizations and boards. She has given her ‘best’ as an employee of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands for the past 22 years, in the MIS Division, as well as lending her expertise alongside former Senators Lorraine L. Berry and Donald ‘Ducks’ Cole.
Unfortunately, on December 22, 2010, tragedy struck Alma and her family once again as they were forced to grapple with the still-unsolved murder of her brother Preston Antonia Francis. Alma’s brother’s murder lit a fire under her to keep pushing forward and not giving up on wanting to make the Virgin Islands better and safer for all those who grace these shores.
For about 20 years Alma has lent her voice to various Radio Show programs to include her current community-oriented show, Alma in the Mornings. Alma enjoys using this medium to share information with the public on various community issues in hopes to create a dialogue that will continue to open up avenues for collaborative change and empowerment as she is a firm believer that “Through Discussions Solutions can be found.”
As fate might have it, after one of the many entertainment shows Alma produced over the years, to include “Bunny Wailer Live in Concert” in 2002, Alma was introduced to her husband of over 16 years Gilbert “Pugito” Heyliger. Together along with family, have helped to raise the two children left behind by the senseless murder of her brother.
Alma is also a founding member of Intrigue Carnival Troupe; Past-President of the Independent Citizens Movement Party; Past-President of the CAHS Class of 1991, member of the St. Thomas Ad Club; supporter of Crime Stoppers USVI; member of East End Lions Club, member of the Rotary of St. Thomas II, just to name a few.
Alma is the author of “Fallen Petals of the Orion”, published in 2004. This fiction novel chronicles the lives of six young people who through a telescope of poverty, look towards the future to escape and survive this poker game of life with the cards they were dealt.
In December of 2020, one of Alma’s long term goals was accomplished when she closed on the purchase of one of the oldest radio stations in the territory, Radio One – AM 1000. As the new owner, Alma joins the ranks as 1 of approximately 18 African American women who own the majority or 100 percent ownership of a radio station out of approximately 11,000 radio stations across the nation.
These accomplishments have allowed Alma to build the necessary relationships and networks needed to assist her in educating, enriching, and empowering the people of the Virgin Islands.
On November 3, 2020, Alma was elected to serve as a member of the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands. Senator Francis Heyliger has vowed to be an agent of change with the strength and support of the people of this territory as she continues in search of our greatness and remains fearless in her pursuits of prosperity for all Virgin Islanders.