BVI News

‘Bobby’s owner will have his day in court’ | Top cop says RVIPF getting backlash over businessman’s arrest

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has been receiving public backlash following the recent arrest of Bobby’s Market Place proprietor Elton Leonard but says the matter is one that will be decided by the courts.

Commissioner Matthews said during a news interview that broadcast on ZBVI radio Tuesday morning, April 28, that the businessman — who he only referred to as ‘an individual at Bobby’s supermarket’ — was arrested on suspicion of breaching the curfew.

“People have demonstrated with regards to that and said that the particular individual concerned shouldn’t have been arrested and was doing their best to help the people. But nobody, including myself, is above the law,” the commissioner said.

“When the law is adopted under these very challenging times, under these curfew divisions, the curfew is very, very clear about who could and couldn’t do what. And if somebody is found in breach of that, then my officers are often left with no choice,” he added.

Will have his day in court

The top cop further said ‘the matter has been placed for local courts to decide’.

“The police service is not making judgements on people as to whether they are guilty or innocent when it comes to these curfew breaches. So the individual at Bobby’s, like any other individual, they will have their day and their opportunity to explain themselves to the independent judiciary,” Commissioner Matthews said.

No charges

When BVI News made inquires with the RVIPF Information Unit on Tuesday morning (April 28), no charges were laid against the individual.

Our news centre then asked if a person can be arraigned before a court without being charged; to the RVIPF forwarded the following message: “I can confirm that a businessman was arrested on Friday, April 24 after 7 pm. He was subsequently discharged pending further investigations.”

“The name will not be released,” Acting Police Information Officer Akia Thomas further said.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

59 Comments

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  1. dvs says:

    Lets get the truth to this story before making judgement.

    • Rubbish says:

      This is a load of Rubbish, there were lines outside of the leading super store and you all are carry the man to court for this?
      Come on man, the officer should have leave it as a warning in writing.

  2. annudda2cents says:

    nobody was robbed, nobody was robbing. just a descent business man helping a paying starving man to purchase a few bananas. “i will let this one slide, do it again, and i will report and arrest you.” if the arresting officer had said this, this could’ve made a major difference. meanwhile, at another supermarket, 2 senior officers engaged in a public spat and that has gotten a lukewarm response thus far. anyways, i hope the courts show Elton some mercy in the same vein that he showed that poor customer mercy. my condolences on the passing of Elton’s aunt also.

    Like 59
    Dislike 3
    • One Drop says:

      need a local commissioner of police again. folk from elsewhere have violated the curfew laws and nothing. what about those that leave that location in Purcell all now no update from enforcement of laws

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      Dislike 15
    • Not a crime says:

      From since when it’s a crime to have an argument with a coworker? Public or not still not a crime!

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  3. Strupes says:

    Blame the police officers also. The day when essential workers could have gone and shop. There was police officer family and friends jump out vehicles went str8 by door and was into the supermarket..you need to dicipline your officers commissioner…

    Like 48
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  4. I hope says:

    You’re a nasty human being.

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  5. Forward ever Backward never says:

    Bringing a case against Elton for showing compassion and humility during this critical period is a waste of the courts time. This should not be continued. RVIPD dropped the ball on this one. Come on, there is no act of lawlessness here. The commissioner should look with in him self and ask the question what would he have done. Would he had let that individual walk away without those few bananas , not knowing if that was all he was able to source to eat that day? Commissioner I don’t know what you would have done, but I hope that your answer would be that you would have done what Elton did. This issue has no legal merit, only a humanitarian merit. And yes, the whole territory is behind Elton on this. The RVIP is being toxic.

    Like 51
    Dislike 3
    • Jones says:

      We all know Elton has an attitude of self importance when he is ready. He has no respect for rules and think they dont apply to him. I wasnt there but I can bet he had a bad attitude about it and argued his way into being arrested

      Like 9
      Dislike 22
  6. Eyes says:

    You need to go back to the UK where you come from your kind don’t like to see black man progressing.

    Like 8
    Dislike 19
  7. The Nation says:

    Meanwhile…RTW gets no scrutiny because why?

    Like 33
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    • @ The Nation says:

      It is white owned. The truth they are will deny forever.

      Like 28
      Dislike 9
      • Thank you says:

        Yup – Those damn white people. 😉

        Like 11
        Dislike 11
        • Get it. says:

          I get your sarcasm. Isn’t it ridiculous that some people think that the amount of melanin you have has any effect at all on your morals? It’s like saying people whose name begins with an “F” are no good at skiing.

          • Snowboarder says:

            Good in theory, but you clearly have not spent time snowboarding. Each time I go snowboarding I hear the snowboarders constantly yelling “F’n skiers”.
            Seems to me that the majority of skiers names begin with F…

    • @ The Nation says:

      It is a fact that RTW housed the Commissioner and the Police Headquarters for a long time after hurricane Irma. That’s well and good. I just hope that the law will be applied equally across the board.

      Like 7
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  8. Question says:

    My question is was the individual purchasing the bananas an employee or a customer?

    If a customer, then the officer is the one by the door checking persons coming into the establishment. If the customer could not make any purchases who let him into the establishment and why?

    Officer these are just a few of the questions you would have to answer if this matter reach in court. All the best.

    Like 22
    • But... says:

      You are assuming you know what he was arrested for.
      You only know what you have heard or read. He may have been arrested for all sorts of reasons.

      Like 4
      Dislike 4
  9. See says:

    So what about the hundreds of people breaking curfew and not wearing madks or the scooter boys without helmets and on their phones ? Selective enforcement .

    Like 38
  10. Jokes says:

    See his day in court for serving a civilian bananas in a crisis? What about a gentle warning…arrested without sufficient evidence to charge, still have to conduct an investigation before any charge can be laid but yet we know for sure he will see his day in court??

    This level of folly does not occur in the UK!!! Why they condoning it here!!! This is a joke to them, that is why. Premier say something. We are better than this. This is not how we do it in the BVI!! Let him off with a warning. I forbid anyone from using up public funds for this nonsense when there is greater need in other areas for those funds. The crown really want to pursue this nonsense??? Yeshua take the wheel and cover your people with blessings and let the wicked perish in the presence of the righteous ones!

    Like 28
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    • Oh yes it does. says:

      People of all races get arrested for all kinds of trivial things in the UK. As they do in every country.
      In one example, a Cheshire man was cautioned for being “in possession of an egg with intent to throw”. The BVI is no different. Sometimes the cops get it right, sometimes they don’t. As the Commissioner says, the police don’t get to decide who is breaking the law in this case. The magistrates do.

      Like 11
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      • Please says:

        How does egg with intent to throw (therefore a weapon/missile, etc) compare to banana WITH INTENT TO FEED A HUNGRY MAN…scram with your ness…..trying to prove a point..please!!

        Like 5
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        • Banal says:

          I think he/she means they compare because whether or not the man was hungry is irrelevant and whether or not the egg was thrown is irrelevant.
          They both result in a person being arrested because the police believe they have broken the law but as “Oh yes it does” said, the police don’t decide who is guilty. Seems logical to me.

          Like 1
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          • Silly beans says:

            Silly beans. How can you compare the problems in the UK police force over a decade ago, with now. That silly example of caution over possession of an egg was meant to show the lengths officers had to go through just to meet the targets that they were set which is what their performance was being based upon, instead of being able to focus more time on more serious cases. Why they bringing another country’s problematic culture of over a decade ago (which I am certain has already been addressed ages ago) to our shores in 2020. If VIP is forward ever and backward never, I challenge the Premier of the Virgin Islands to speak up about this!! No one with sense condoning this BS.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6656411.stm

  11. That police says:

    The police officer that sought the individual in the line could have cash out for him/her and gave that person a verbal warning gosh it’s a crisis as Bobby’s say everyone have to eat
    Dont know the position of the person cupboard with food
    But because you guys are essential you believe your special this why out community dont work with police!
    If you all charge Bobby’s this to show the type policing we have among us !

    Like 31
  12. Truth says:

    The law is the law of course but there is something called discretion. Letting ppl get food to eat warranted back up being called and the business owner arrested? Come on now!

    Like 31
    • I will say says:

      It was wrong that the officer reacted the way he did. Elton is one of the nicest person that I know. They swoop down on the man like he was some type of fugitive. Why wasn’t the man that purchase the bananas arrested also. If I have to write a letter to the courts on Elton’s behalf I will.

      Like 29
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      • @I will say says:

        100%, I am willing to do the same. I agree, they swarm down on the man like some type of hostage situation was going on over some damn bananas.I also agree that Elton is a humble kind hearted man. Is it possible the police have an axe to grind with Elton or was it a set up to humiliate him. I just don’t get it.

        Like 15
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        • He could do this says:

          Elton can just “a peel”.
          I’m just so funny sometimes.
          Banana. Peel. Appeal. See what I did there?
          Brilliant. Folks, you don’t get this kind of quality joke on V**O.

          Like 7
          Dislike 1
  13. wow says:

    Meanwhile police brutality caught on video and it is condoned.

    Like 18
  14. Smh says:

    1. What happened to the individual who actually broke curfew and was in the supermarket shopping?
    2. Hope Pastor Cline gets his day in court as well.
    Elton we support you. You did the honorable thing. I will be patronizing your business even more after this.

    Like 27
  15. Resident says:

    The police are a joke, arresting a man who tried to help someone who probably was starving, ridiculous

    Like 18
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    • But... says:

      Why do you assume he was starving? The truth is you cannot know that. That’s why the Comissioner is right. When people don’t know the truth you go to court and a judge decides what is true. That’s how our system works.

      Like 2
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      • Resident says:

        Why else would a person break curfew and come out to buy food, he most likely had none

      • Logic says:

        That costs to much and takes too long for trivial issues. Many things that technically might be an offence are not morally wrong or harmful to society. Laws are there to enable punishment of serious wrongdoing. They are not there to make everyone a criminal for just getting on with life in a sensible way. That’s why police must exercise discretion in what issues to tackle. Seeking and rewarding a high arrest count is a recipe for courts clogged with irrelevant trivia, massive waste of money on lawyers, magistrates, reporters, and other non-productive roles. Enforce less, target effort on most harmful breaches, and society will run better and cheaper.

  16. Truth says:

    Mr commissioner I think you have done some of what was expected of you but your time has come to and end. You are getting out of touch with this little community if you had any touch at all.And I would also say that many of the expatriate police officers are displaying some serious negative attitude towards the local population. It is wrong and cannot continue. You guys are attempting to devide the close nit community. I was b9bbys supermarket to really put out their recordings for the day in question and the days before and see how many police officers relatives and friends was allowed by your officers to shop at Bobby’s.

    Like 18
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  17. Am I not a man and a brother says:

    Free the Waterfront Drive One.

  18. Comish says:

    Comish you droppex the ball on this one. You of all person should have seen the folly in this and keep very quiet on this one. The petson did not buy a bag of grocery. He bought a handful of banannas and if you cannot exercise some discretion on This then God help us for the type of police force you are leading. If they are being taught to be robots then there is no wonder such large number of murders remains unsolved. You have created a force that lacks knowledge,Emotions, though, ingenuity or empathy.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  19. patriotic says:

    with all due respect mr commissioner . Your police officers are not decipline themselves. There are escorting their families and friend into the grocery stores. U and I know relatively speaking that your force has a long way to go in terms of education and communication.

    Like 11
  20. Want2Kno says:

    Where’s the humanity? Perhaps the police preferred that the individual break into the store after it closes, rather than being allowed to get something to eat.

    This is like using a sledge hammer to kill an ant. The police could have surely handled this incident differently. The Commissioner and is force isn’t showing good police/community relations….

    Like 11
  21. GTFOH says:

    Why would someone break the law for just some bananas? Now they have Elton in some hot sauce over some bananas. This is just plain monkey business. I could understand breaking the law for a case of water but just some bananas? Obviously they wasn’t starving because all they got allegedly was just some bananas so this was just a craving or greed not a necessity now Elton in some problem. This is what we talking bout. During the curfew people wasn’t starving they just wanted to live as they lived before curfew. Eat what them want when they want. If your cupboard and fridge wasn’t empty during curfew then you wasn’t starving.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  22. Ausar says:

    You see WHY we need our own-Belonger-in-tow, Police Commissioner?

    This type of nonsense would never have occurred in the Kingdom: A Bloakie, being arrested for helping to feed, another Bloakie!

    Oh,and by the way: WHEN will a BElonger have the ability to be a Police Commissioner in the Kingdom?

    I think this is what WE should be clamouring for, instead of the BASED ON RACE nonsensical fiasco, that we now have!

    And be rid of the BLOAKIE that is now resided!

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  23. LEAVE ELTON ALONE says:

    Yes the police here are a joke and are dishonest as well . They seem to like to harass people , I think it makes them feel self important. Police do your jobs and stop this petty S…..T.

  24. Tola says:

    How the arab them over da in Baugher’s Bay was braking curfew for days.Them had everybody da buying everything.But now a black local the law is the law.We can not get any where even where we from.How can we make it in the outer world?

  25. Please says:

    Who is the officer who reported Elton. Qtna.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  26. Ztrupes says:

    So what happen to pastor cline then

  27. Go fund me says:

    Ok. You guys put your money where your mouth is. I’ll say let’s start a go fund me to pay Elton’s $5000.00 fine. We all just need to drop a $1 in there. He sure will get $5000.00 in 24 hours.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  28. Preferential Treatment? says:

    What I’m not understanding is some businesses are being allowed to operate and others are not although they do not fall in the list of approved businesses.

    – some clothing stores are open and others are not (clothing stores are not on the list)

    – some food vendors are opened and restaurants are not (neither on the list) and serving food that are not considered bakery-type food

  29. Preferential Treatment? says:

    What I’m not understanding is some businesses are being allowed to operate and others are not although they do not fall in the list of approved businesses.

    – some clothing stores are open and others are not (clothing stores are not on the list)

    – some food vendors are opened and restaurants are not (neither on the list) and serving food that are not considered bakery-type food

  30. Unfreaking Believable says:

    When are we going to be able to live in peace in this place? Can we please have our island back!

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  31. Musa says:

    How come the 2 police officers didn’t reach courthouse or at least fired asap

    Like 2
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  32. Road Town Rebel. says:

    So why the non essential people on the road during curfew coming out of Bobbies not arrested? You all make the effing dog sick now.

  33. disgust says:

    elton need to sue the police along with the police commissioner. if the individual was breaking the curfew why wasnt he arrested?. Guy doing what he likes up there at rite way and every body turning a blind eye is it because of his skin colour?,and then they come harassing elton .wickedness will never last forever,today for elton mr officer tomorrow might be yours.

    Like 4
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  34. Bvi says:

    For all i know this could very well be a set upcause this looks funny …..elton we wid you you reminds me of miss maduro stor at port purcell just be careful…. have your eyes like hawk…hope the goverment watching what do they say in a time like this…is not the same police/ goverment come in thete to get food purchase.order/ on credit…..after this shit you need to pay for goods cash up front ….you will need that money up front to pay them fine…..
    Andrew need have a say because.no supermarket close un time.. not even now.. cause every body still in supper market shoping all after 12pm noon geting what they need racing to wards the 1o clock cofew

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  35. Musa says:

    If the guy have to pay a find for his action I will help him pay that find .

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