Former head of the BVI Ports Authority Claude Skelton-Cline has placed squarely at the feet of the Governor’s Office, blame for the territory’s relatively high murder rate, the number of unsolved murders, disturbances at Her Majesty’s Prison, and the glaring inefficiencies in the territory’s court system.
He suggested that the Governor’s Office should be blamed because it currently has responsibility for all the aforementioned areas. It shares responsibility for the prison with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
“The first six months of 2017, we have had seven murders in six months, and that’s the first in the history of the BVI, and all the while it (the police force) has been under the Office of the Governor in the name of internal affairs,” Skelton-Cline noted.
He continued: “We have persons from the region who occupy the [police] force more than any locals; they are underpaid – probably overworked. You have a few people on the street who harass people with the seat-belts or whatever the shade of their car is. In our district – the Second District, we have an empty police station there that we are still paying for every month.”
“We saw in the last few weeks all of the stuff that happens at Her Majesty’s Prison. We see the judicial system where persons’ lives are just dragged on and on; there is no real due process. It takes three, five, seven years for persons who become entangled in the court to get any resolution. That’s a serious matter. But all of it has been under the auspices – under the Office of the Governor by whomever that person is [holding that office],” Skelton-Cline further explained during his Honestly Speaking television programme a few days ago.
Debate has been rife in the territory over whether the Governor’s Office, now occupied by John Duncan, should continue to have direct responsibility especially for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. Some persons think the Virgin Islands Government should be the one directly in charge of the RVIPF.
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