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Locals have no respect for expat cops, says magistrate

A batch of new officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. (Photo provided)

The court has raised concern for what is being described as a lack of respect towards law enforcement officers, particularly cops who are expats.

Magistrate Shawn Innocent said many locals portray an attitude which suggests that a person who is not ‘from here’ cannot tell a person who was ‘born here’ what to do.

The magistrate, however, noted that ‘the law is the law’ and it must be upheld by all residents.

He raised the issue while fining a local man who reportedly belittled a female expat police officer last year.

The female officer testified in court on Friday that she feared for her life when she had pulled over 31-year-old Jerone Barnes during a routine traffic operation.

She said Barnes caused her much embarrassment on the day in question. She told the court that the offender invaded her personal space and was aggressive towards her.

“It drew stares from onlookers … his saliva from his mouth flew in my face. I was frightened for my safety. I was embarrassed. I felt insulted,” she said.

Barnes pleaded guilty to indecent language and was later convicted for other offences that he had pleaded not guilty to — assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and insulting language.

He was fined $150 for each of the four offences. Those fines, which amounted to $600, are to be paid in two months or Barnes will spend two weeks at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.

What happened

The court heard that on May 4 last year, the female police officer pulled over Barnes in the vicinity of the Althea Scatliffe Primary School in Road Town.

Barnes reportedly used obscenities towards the officer when she asked for his name.

He reportedly said: “You stupid mother s***t, you cannot read?”

He was referring to his license and registration documents which the cop had requested and was holding in her hands.

And while referring to the fact that the officer was not ‘born here’, Barnes reportedly told the cop: “You cannot tell me what the f*** to do.”

While later representing himself in court, Barnes claimed: “I figure I was being picked on [and] I started to get frustrated.”

Barnes continued to insist that he never used indecent language to the police officer. But, Magistrate Innocent said the offender’s demeanour in court indicated that the reports against him were true.

He then urged Barnes to ‘be nice’ and ‘learn to handle situations better’.

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71 Comments

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  1. Welcome says:

    To the BVI..where there is no rule of law

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    • BVI Weak says:

      The “belongers” have no respect for anyone or anything. They feel they are entitled. Well folks, the world doesn’t work that way. If you feel that you are free to do as you wish then close the Territory and live all by yourself. Let’s see how long you can survive without expats and tourists. The Territory is full of expat workers because the ”belongers” are either too good to do those jobs or too inept. Either way the “belongers” from the top down to the school child needs to stop their bigoted and racist ways and become a loving people. Otherwise the natural disasters will continue to come your way. The Almighty is watching your ways.

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      • Truth be told says:

        Expat cops have no respect for themselves.

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      • BVI Strong!!! says:

        You for one need to heist your tailpart back where you come from, we definitely don’t need people like you who wish others evil in the name of the Lord. Please catch the next plane, thou hypocrite, so that when the disasters come it won’t catch you in the BVI. You will be safe.

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      • @ BVI Strong says:

        I can tell who you are.

        There is a different between a Bvirgin Islander and a Belonger.

        Facts straighten.

    • Wow says:

      Where are his statistics to support this?? Someone of his stature is making such comments just willy nilly? Hmmmmm.

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  2. @B__nes says:

    As a law abiding citizen, if I was in the area that day,I would have slap you in the mouth for being so disrespectful. Just because you local don’t mean you have to be so damn rude and ignorant to outsiders.

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    • Totally agree says:

      I think the locals are nasty disgusting pigs. I am from the US and I live here because my grandparents are from here and they wanted me to experience the Carribean culture. I hear the way the locals are often talking about non locals. I hate when they call me Yankee.

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      • Hmmm says:

        So you agree that it is right to assault someone for expressing their opinion that you don’t like but it’s the locals that are “nasty”? I guess you came here to class up the joint.

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      • Your Honour says:

        Make your statements in relation to the case you’re dealing with but clearly you can’t make such a general statement off one case. Interesting. I hope you have also heard about the non-local police who engage in illegal activity, help out their friends to avoid prosecution, who target the locals while turning a blind eye to the non-locals who engage in the sme criminal activity. No your facts sir before you speak. Don’t let the few repeat local people hating bloggers get into your head.

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      • Disgusted says:

        To totally agree – You are also describing Americans.

      • @Totally Agree says:

        Well go back to the US.

  3. Hmmm says:

    Setta of island man police coming in here thinking them higher then us. Sick a them

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  4. Rex FeRaL says:

    You cannot base an argument of hatred by locals towards foreign born cops on an isolated incident. I have seen foreign persons insulted and disrespected foreign born officers the same way. Esprcially of they are from the sane country.Magistrate Innocent you are making hasty generalizations in this instance.

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    • hmm says:

      I agree this is a hasty generalization especially for a Magistrate that just landed in the BVI. Please stick to the law, and the facts presented sir and don’t fuel the born here/not born here thing. It’s something you heard and just piggy backing on.

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    • BuzzBvi says:

      Innocent maybe making generalisations but everyone who has been here a while knows the judge is absolutely right with this assessment. In reality that means Judge Innocents judgements is pretty good and can help the BVI and it’s people see things as they really are.

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  5. Danny Spivey says:

    THIS IS TRUE.

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  6. mmario says:

    A $150.00 for each of the offences. Come on Magistrator you’ve got to be kidding me. You need to trough the book at this man. A 3 months Gail time plus a 1 year probation its more like it including the fine. At a minimum.

    Why should anyone respect the Cops if you just going to play with them when they get to court.

    You’ve got to show these people that there is real consequences for this type of behavior. That’s how you get their attention.

    Magistrate, please don’t encourage bad behavior by handing out light sentences.

    Thank you.

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  7. mmario says:

    Magistrate. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

    The appropriate sentence here was 3 Months in Jail plus 1 year probation in addition to the fines.

    That’s how you get their attention.

    You cant get people to respect the law if you are going to play with them in court.

    Thank you.

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  8. vim says:

    i am an expat cop, and these unruly locals no exactly, which police officer to pull these stunts with, well of course they all know i dont play when i on d job.

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  9. Not2Sure says:

    The problem is that too many local people have no respect for ANYBODY who is not from here – not just cops but everybody. And too many of our local politicians shamelessly encourage this every chance they get.

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  10. Rubbish! says:

    So one or two cases and you ready to tar all a we with your statment

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  11. Yotuh says:

    Yea when they abusing us, breaking the law and using down island savage tactics on us… that won’t headlines huh?

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  12. Really says:

    Magistrate Innocent you are going to make such a general statement based on one isulted incident? Well same same be said of them towards locals. I have seen situations where they exert their position by trying to intimidate locals. Also they do favor their own kind….#facts

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  13. son of the soil says:

    This is an invasion that has to stop

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  14. Let the good times roll says:

    Dear Mr. Barnes,

    Let’s step it down a notch. Barnes is not a local last name… Get your act together and come again. The good officer was brave to have joined our force and you will treat her with the respect she deserves.

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  15. i from here says:

    I have a problem with this magistrates sttement. Island people’s biggest problem is when we tell them they not from here. Magistrate, if the truth starts off a hating attitude by someoneelse, what do you expect of the end resultsj. Island people get offended when you tell them they not from here.

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  16. BVIslander says:

    I have realised that no one deared to say that they are a bvislander and agree with the magistrate decision of punishment. Well in my opinion the decision made should have being a bit more harsh and set an example for those who will try to mishandle a police officer disrespectfully when him or her are excecuting their duties. Bvislanders and expats have to understand e everyone have there jobs to perform and to there best heart of I terest to there country.

  17. Wellsaw says:

    Mr innocent why would you make such an anti local comment. What about expat officers having no respect for local citizens.

    In the 80’s to early 90’s it use to be twenty of them to arrest one man beating him publicly to a pulp first before taking him in.

    A local or expat who does not respect a policeman will do so even if the officer is local or expat. There are a lot of expat officers that are liked by the local public.

    It was bad enough in a recent judgement by a judge to accuse an international law of racism now you come here making these comments. You’re not even here a year yet or six months.

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  18. WTF! says:

    Well let me join in on this. While I have the utmost respect for “the job” of law enforcers whether local or expat I have to say that some of them abuse their power. They always come at you with a guns out attitude. How do you expect to get any respect that way?

    I’m friends with many of them and I tell them all the time it’s not what you do but how you do it. People just generally don’t have trust in the police force and that situation was self inflicted because of the actions of many of them in the past and still going on today.

    This incident and officer in question has caught the attention of a lot of people both local and expat. She … really makes matters worse as far as respect for her goes.

    The word will spread and the truth will come out on this and many other incidents. The Magistrate painted with a broad brush but I didn’t really expect any better. All he accomplished was igniting a war.

  19. Virgin Islander says:

    Mr. Innocent, how long have you been the Virgin Islands Sir to make such a broad statement like that one? Always remember according to Hon. RT O’Neal, You are a stranger in a strange land.As such, please use your words wisely. These are the kind of statements that bring division amongst our people. Respect is earned. I am a law abiding citizen and I have witnessed the approach by some officers towards some people. I have also witnessed with my mouth wide open to the obscene language that some officers in position use on a regular basis. I once asked the question if that was legal for an officer to use such language in public and was told “NO”. Your honour, some of these officers should never have been recruited into such profession. Some officers leave a stain on the entire force although every officer is not the same. There are well respected officers in the force, but there are a lot more bad apples than good that is why it is one of the professions that is not well respected and that is why sadly many of the crimes are not solved because of lack of trust and respect.

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  20. Wow says:

    That is a bunch of hog wash. I expect that magistrate to be more professional. It could also be said that the expats have no respect for locals and that they impose maximum sentence on locals and warn the fellow expats for the same offences.

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  21. Melody says:

    Nonsense. You guys mishandle locals to. There is no need for a police to ask an offender where he is from unless he has a motive. I witnessed that for myself. They warn the expat young men (behave yourself before they send you home) and lock up the locals.

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  22. Jacperlance says:

    These are the kind of statement that speaks volumes and they are true comments.

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  23. UK observer says:

    Bring back the white cops from the UK. These locals were tipping on there toes and abiding with the law when those white guys were here. Sadly how these locals show more respect to the White UK cops than there own Black Caribbean brothers.

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  24. TRUTH says:

    I am convinced that most of you who come here with your bias and unfounded comments have already done your home work before arriving here as to the expected norms of the Virgin Islands from such like yourself. I am therefore pleading with ALL parents, Guardians and relatives of local children to pray for your children and cover them under the precious blood of Jesus lest they fall prey to such attitudes that we allow to dictate to us what is good or bad for us as Virgin Islanders. The plot is thickening since We, locals are lazy and Not qualified as they have us to be. Since Virgin Islanders are such Misfits in their own country, why do you choose to come to be among them? Your statement is an INSULT to ALL VIRGIN ISLANDERS and at your level, your appointment should be REVOKED forthwith.

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  25. Mcgraw says:

    A statement like this should not come from a magistrate. It makes me wonder if local offenders receive fair and just treatment in his court. I think his contract should be terminated.

    I have gone to social functions and the first question asked before a proper greeting is ” are you from here?”. I am a neutral person who is not concerned with the topic so it gets on my nerve when i am approached with the question and there must be a deep seated reason for this. I once had to share an office with an expat and as soon as the person who introduced us left the room i was asked ” are you from here”. My facial expression must have showed sign of discomfort so the next statement was “my 2 children were born here.” I chose to ignore both the question and the statement but i wonder how it would have turned out if i was the one who introduced the topic? People need to look at both sides of the coin.

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  26. Ok says:

    Get american officers for them they will respect them.

  27. Ummmm says:

    Police do not deserve respect!!! F**k the police!!!! Locals and expats!!
    P.s

    The whole court too!!!

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    • @ummmm says:

      Now I understand why people like you stay at the bottom of the S**t bucket catching everyone bowel and bladder movements. Check this, when you get jacked up out here on the streets, don’t call the police to save your A**. Seems like the ground sea drop kick what ever bit of common sense out of you when it was churning.

  28. W T says:

    “He was fined $150 for each of the four offences. Those fines, which amounted to $600, are to be paid in two months or Barnes will spend two weeks at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.”

    Thank you Magistrate for sending a strong message that would serve as a deterrent to other would be offenders!!!! (am being sarcastic)

  29. Mind ahyo business says:

    IF u all was there ahyo would have known what was said from what wasn’t said,everything people put or tell ahyo you all does believe nttn them people have there is true, nothing was said about who from here or who ain’t from here she put that there her self and ahyo believe it

    • Curious says:

      I am not being sarcastic when I ask this question – but would someone please tell me what “ahyo” means?? Is it “all of you?” That’s what seems to fit! When I read comments that are written phonetically I usually am able to decipher the meaning (although I do NOT understand why), but SERIOUSLY – PLEASE TRANSLATE THIS PHRASE!!! “. . . tell ahyo you all does believe nttn them people have there is true . . .” COME ON!?!?!?

  30. Local says:

    The reason why some of you hate on the locals is because you come here with envy in your
    hearts against the locals because you can’t understand why our little two by four territory is thriving despite the odds while your big S**t hole countries with massive population and poverty ridden villages can’t rise because of the dirty corruption on all level. Some of you come here hoping to take over like Invaders but some of us WOULD NOT LET THAT HAPPEN. Be thou as it may, you can hate until you are tired. Disasters are in your countries everyday and its because of some of your dirty minds why disasters are following you here. We are on to you. We know your motives. We are wide awake. You will not succeed with your dirty tactics. BVI Rules… Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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  31. Magistrate public says:

    $600 fine is too lenient for all those charges..fish stinks from the head adjust the legislature for such….eg contempt of court is only a $50 fine

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  32. Faith says:

    With the last name Barnes, I will bet my last dollar that 1 or both of his parents are expatriates so I don’t believe being an expatriate cop had anything to do with his behaviour. He would have disrespected a local cop in the same manner

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  33. Tortola Concrete Party says:

    WE ARE GOING TO MAKE THE BVI GREAT AGAIN

  34. Truth says:

    Bvi people are racist and xenophobic simple….they need uk or u.s cops to deal with simple

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    • Brad Boynes says:

      Let the UK and us cops deal with their problems in their racist societies. Stop blogging BS.. when you mention racist and you left out the United States of Amerika you blogging to bad talk the BVI where you are making a living for you and your family. Seize the time Ingrate.

    • Liddy says:

      Expats are even more racist. They come to the BVI with grudges and expect to have the same privileges as belongers. Stop the hate.

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  35. de silent one says:

    The Magistrate, haven recognized the attitude and behavior of the defendant and do believe that he committed the act as been charged, should have impose a much stiffer sentence that would definitely send the right message. But that fine was waaayyy too lenient.

  36. No says:

    They don’t have respect for the cops in general. They don’t make this into a local vs expat thing.

  37. mmario says:

    Just realized the my mistake: I exchanged the words
    Throw and Jail for Gail and Trough…sorry..Lol

    Thank you

  38. Mr.VI says:

    The Magistrate should be fired for his comments. Making generalized statements about locals after being here for less than 3 months is not the right temperament for someone that has to make life altering sound decisions for their career. How did he come up with this theory? Did he do a survey, interview the police and reviewed all offenders Passports? If not he is making baseless comments for someone that should be a lot more intellectual.

  39. shark says:

    you want to see who have interest in the bvi
    go by western union and money gram they can’t make it fast enough to get it send out the country.

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  40. Political Observer (PO) says:

    @Shark, it is normally for citizens away from their home countries to send or remit money home to help their families. It is not a common practice among the VI diaspora overseas now but in the 50s and 60s they did from St, Thomas and elsewhere. Nonetheless, it is common among other Caribbean and Latin American countries. In 2017, remittances from the US to Latin America and Caribbean countries is estimated at $75B; approx $10B of the $75B was remitted to the Caribbean countries. Further, in addition to money, they also send food, clothing, appliances, equipment…..etc home.

    Remittances are a vital part of many regional countries economy; they make up approx 8-10% of their real GDP. Without remittances, the economies of many countries may face greater challengers. Is government collecting a fee on money remitted from the territory?

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