Labelling claims that the BVI is corrupt as an “irresponsible” assertion, Premier Andrew Fahie has called for a retraction of such statements.
Following the recent $250 million drug seizure that has implicated a local police officer, claims of corruption being present in the British Virgin Islands have been echoing in the territory. One of the persons who have come out publicly with that assertion is Governor Augustus Jaspert.
Premier Andrew Fahie took time during his Budget Address on Thursday to fire back at such claims, stating that the negative narrative is from persons who have a hidden agenda.
“This latest bust does not show that our system is corrupt, but rather it shows that our system and our officers stand up for what is right. So I am calling all those with hidden agendas, who are in covert ways trying many different strategies and using vulnerable opportunities to prevent the Virgin Islands from truly achieving the mandate given by the United Nations in Article 73 of the UN Charter for former colonies to become self-governing, to go and erase the irresponsible labelling of the BVI’s system and our people as corrupt,” Fahie said.
“This irresponsible statement must be retracted as it is a well-calculated attempt to try to stain the good name of the many hardworking law-abiding citizens, the local law enforcement agencies, and this BVI LOVE economy,” he added.
Negative comments took away from real message
Premier Fahie said the negative comments took away from the real message that should have been broadcast from the quarter-billion-dollar drug seizure — the largest ever in a British Overseas Territory.
He said the takeaway ought to have been that local law enforcement agencies can handle crimes of that magnitude.
“Their actions show that we have zero tolerance for any form of crime, and I thank our local law enforcement agencies for demonstrating to the world that in this country, the Virgin Islands, our systems work and add value and protection to the global economy and its fight against illegal activities,” Fahie stated.
“It is important to note that there will always be negative elements in each law enforcement agency in the world and even in communities, but let us not lose sight that a huge majority of our law enforcement agencies and our community are people with high integrity,” he added.
Premier does not condone crime and violence
The Premier also made it clear that he does not condone any wrongdoing or lawbreaking in the BVI.
He said: “I am not proud of the latest crime reports, including the shootings which my government and I denounce, and I say condolences to all those who have been affected in some way or the other by what has happened.”
Governor believes pockets of corruption exists
Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s joint media conference with Governor Augustus Jaspert and Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews, the governor said the 2,300-kilo cocaine haul proved that pockets of corruption not only exist in the territory but may be contributing to other major undetected illegal activities.
He said that major concerns regarding the security of the territory’s borders and its vulnerability to drug smuggling had increased following the bust.
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