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Bizarre Loyalty: Residents protect killers, distrust police

Image depicting sections of Tortola. (Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News Journalist)

Residents are protecting the killers responsible for last week’s double homicide of an 11-year-old girl and a man.

This is according to Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews who said no one has come forward with information on the murders.

The top cop suspects residents’ loyalty to criminals could be cultural, among other reasons.

“There are people living in this community right now who are hiding those killers and are protecting those killers and they are protecting them from the police and from the rightful justice. And it’s some bizarre loyalty whether it’s cultural, whether it’s members of their family, or whether it’s fear,” the commissioner said.

Matthews also lamented that community members have an unhealthy mistrust of the Royal Virgin Islands Police.

“The sad truth is that we are not getting the cooperation from the communities in the sense that people are turning a blind eye to criminal behaviour. People have a fear of speaking to the police. Part of that is about trust. Part of that is about having confidence that what they say is gonna be dealt with confidentially,” said the commissioner, who described the lack of community corporation as an uphill battle.

Eleven-year-old Trinity Moses and 41-year-old Tortola native, Franklin Penn were gunned down by scooter riders around 9:30pm while traveling on the West End public road last Wednesday, November 22.

An adult female who was travelling in the vehicle continues to receive treatment at Peebles Hospital.

“Are we really going to sit back and say: ‘Well, I’m not prepared to say anything to the police even on this occasion?’ And that’s the bit that I think is really breaking my heart,” the commissioner decried on the Honestly Speaking radio programme this week.

Murders connected

“Those killers are living amongst us. By doing nothing, by not standing up as a community, by being prepared to turn a blind eye, you’re condoning their actions and you’re allowing them to walk free and you’re allowing them to kill again,” Matthews said; further adding that some murders in the BVI are connected.

“I’ve got evidence to indicate that some of those murders – no matter how many weeks or months apart – have been linked and that killers out there are being protected by friends and family and parts of the community rather than somebody being bold enough to even make the anonymous call and say the person you’re looking for is this. This is where they keep their firearm, etcetera, etcetera.”

The police commissioner made that statement on the heels of police releasing the name the territory’s latest male homicide victim, Franklin Penn.

Franklin is said to be the brother of another murder victim, Alston Penn, who was killed earlier this year.

Alston’s accused killer escaped Her Majesty’s Prison following the hurricanes and is still at large.

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