BVI News

BVI, USVI strengthens links to enhance border security amid increase in smuggling

The British Virgin Islands is moving to strengthen links with the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in a bid to combat the active smuggling trade between the two territories.

News of this follows Premier Andrew Fahie’s meeting with border control personnel who have now commenced a ‘more intense’ 24-hour surveillance of the borders since the recent spike in COVID-19 cases locally.

Premier Fahie said USVI Governor, Albert Bryan Jr has committed to increasing cross-border ‘protection and has immediately engaged his team to ensure collaboration and coordination of efforts to “curb any illegal activities along the shared borders”.

Strengthening borders crucial

While stating that the 24-hour protection of the BVI’s borders “is a lot to ask of the team”, Fahie said the officers were committed to the task.

“We recognise that in further strengthening our sea border security, we must close any foreseeable gap that would allow the illegal entry of persons to our shores. We have been able to move swiftly because the resources required are available locally and there is a need for them at this time,” he stated in a media release.

He continued: “There is a cost to deploy these assets, and the suppliers of the equipment and vessels have provided the most competitive offer to the government inclusive of safety equipment, security, and suitable working environment for our officers.”

More plans

The Premier said there were other plans in the making to further protect the territory.

While not divulging details, he said there would be point-for-patrol and interceptor vessels tasked to intercept vessels deemed to be suspicious.

He further said a permanent network of radars will be introduced to clamp down on drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Due to the recent COVID-19 cases, the Premier said it was crucial to ensure that no one would be able to evade the screening and precautionary measures that have been implemented for persons entering the territory.

“In making these tough decisions, we are being guided by the provisions of the Public Health Ordinance, the Quarantine Act and the Infectious Diseases (Notification) Act — all of which are designed to treat circumstances such as these, and which prescribes measures that should be taken whenever there is the risk of an outbreak of disease,” Fahie stated.

He added: “In the end, we had to make the choices that we did as a Government because to do otherwise would have cost lives, or it would have resulted in more extensive, long-term, and more serious damage to the local economy. We have to take these steps because we want to avoid going into another shutdown of the Territory. Whatever has to be done in the best interest of the health and safety of the people of the Virgin Islands will be done.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith described the undertakings as necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is customary that where it is necessary to procure equipment or services from the private sector, HM Customs does this from time to time. In this instance, the radar equipment and the vessels for this exercise are in the territory, and we needed to move promptly to further tighten the sea borders,” Smith stated.

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25 Comments

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  1. St. Thomas, Thank you says:

    One of the main drop off points into the BVI is down Fortuna Bay below Bordeaux, that is the end of St.Thomas. That is the main hot spot. They drop them off and they are picked up by someone and taken to an unknown location then sent off to the BVI. Also heard some is dropped off some where in Red Hook or St. John.

    Like 9
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  2. Cut Deep says:

    The only way it will stop if the Host from C** D**p asked their criminals supporters to stop. The host posted on Facebook bashing Foreigners when it’s the born here who was bringing them into the country. The host knows this but can’t actually say anything to them. #soulsoldtothedevil

    Like 10
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  3. Just my 2 cents says:

    Good move on the part of the Government. In addition to the human smuggling, clamping down on the prolific drug trade, which is long overdue, is now a great possibility. Why then has this taken soooo long?

    I am a bit concern however, that the equipments and vessels were procured from local suppliers. Thats a bit odd to me having these locally given the nature of these items and national security concerns.

    Lets hope for the best moving forward and that the illegal smuggling of people, drugs and guns will be eradicated or at least, significantly minimized.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  4. vip heckler says:

    So we turned down the UK ships with helicopters for a political crony cargo barges??? Most likely that 15000 dallars per day for each barge will be shared around the table??? Well sah!!! Yo could see thing

    Like 21
    Dislike 3
  5. Lots of houses... says:

    Is the reappointed head of customs really interested in stopping the drug trade?

    Like 18
    Dislike 3
  6. Agreed says:

    The host of c** d*** knows what is going on.

  7. triple says:

    $45,000 a day

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  8. Yup says:

    The F** turns every instance into profit sharing for himself and his cronies. The U.K. Navy would deal with this smuggling along with the US Coast Guard. However in lieu of this the F** has created the BVI Navy and is paying his cronies for the use of their dinghy like they were battleships. You can’t make this s**t up. Just visit the BVI to see the unthinkable happen. Just open the f***in boarders and live normal and stop the bulls**t. Covid everywhere including the BVI. You got your sacred communist Cubans there to save you. Why worry? They got the cure…LMAO

    Like 8
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  9. HAHA! says:

    How do you expect smuggling to stop when some of the officers can make their annual salary in one payment, by turning a blind eye just once? The Govt acting like they don’t know what has been and is going on and only looking for a scapegoat for the new COVID cases knowing full well just like any airborne virus, it’s always around.

    Like 18
  10. VIP says:

    Won’t stop drugs or smuggling. This thing goes all the way to the top and back down again..

    Like 16
  11. it never ends says:

    How much money you need to put a man at Steel Point and Thatch Island and couple forts with binoculars to look out? Simple

    Like 18
  12. LOL says:

    KLYDEE LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK

  13. Attention Smugglers and drug runners says:

    We are slowly creeping up your backs.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  14. Doh says:

    I’ve been saying it for years….

    The “smugglers” are those in powered authority. I saw two nights ago a boat come in and the two men changed into immigration and customs uniforms. They unloaded items into a government vehicle. So tell me, do you really think smuggling will stop?

    This is how we all lose. Corrupt officials who cheat us from duties and taxes. They are the ones bring in the drugs, the guns, and Covid.

    Step up your game marine police. You will be surprised at who you catch.

    Like 15
  15. black life matters says:

    We need the UK ship with officers that will shoot on site

    Like 10
    Dislike 5
  16. So pissed says:

    Too late shall be the cry! The borders should have been on lock down by the UK Ship in conjunction with the patrol forces and Us Coastguard from earlier. We cannot put laws in place and not have them enforced because people on a whole are disobedient and own way. If they can get away with breaking the law they will. People are too selfish!!

  17. Stop says:

    Stop all of the corruption that is not fixing or protecting at all. Go straight and get the job done. Everyone knows the people involved, what they have done. Time to make an example of them.
    We likely do need a visit from the Navy to patrol the borders for a while with real action take against the perpetrators. That said, how have the DPP and magistrates been letting people off when court for boarder and smuggling offences.

  18. @Stop says:

    And that is exactly my point. The Courts let them off with a fine and they resume the smuggling the same night.

  19. Ray of sunshine after the "storm" says:

    How many rental cars to I see driven by people obviously not from here? Last week someone was driving the wrong side of the road down Joe’s Hill! Another person by the Nanny Cay hotel asking where Peg Leg was. Then you go to Riteway Passea and see people provisioning boats and taking it out to their rental cars. Stop the rental companies from renting cars to any but residents.

    Like 3
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  20. Realistc says:

    Is this not a British overseas territory? I saw a battle ship and helicopters here last week. Why not ask for assistance in this matter?

  21. Concerned says:

    The Government knows what’s going on they are only looking publicity. U think they don’t know where all the $$$$ coming from but they know if they put measures in place $$$$ will dropped only a show.

  22. Truth says:

    why is customs and immigration highlighted in the media n police left out, the new re elected boss couldn’t wait to start segregate buddy, x parts in police force n locals in customs. Aren’t the initial captures and arrests for smuggling, drugs and firearms been done by police running the criminals down out there? The police have been out there at all hours, now they have no boats working they are bashed. Even the drug dealers know better, they know who are out there really fighting crime n who are saying this is my cousin let him through. There must be a reason why the marine base isn’t fixed almost three years after Irma. i am sure it would have made more sense to fix all the police boats for a fraction of that huge price being paid. Who really is in charge of the borders? Who are being blamed for the increase in COVID-19 in the territory due to smuggling? Something there i don’t understand. This a blame game going on here!

  23. @ just my 2 cents says:

    There is no reason for concern. All cargo boats that travel internationally (outside of domestic waters) are required by international marine laws and safety regulations to have equipment onboard to allow for safe navigation. This equipment can assist with any marine issues or emergencies at sea when necessary

  24. Locals unite not divide says:

    So Tola people have spent the last month or so on a hard campaign against work permit holders. Talk centred around BVI Islanders not getting jobs over an expat, high local unemployment, locals are fed up with being called lazy, entitled, lacking skills and so on. But it looks like this patriotism only applies for certain locals because now a local finally gets an opportunity to work for the betterment of national security y’all haters have a problem with it. Crony, buddy, corruption they say. Seriously. None of you know fact, you know gossip, and you like nothing better than to gossip viciously against each other. You know how to bring each other down instead of bigging each other up.

    Locals, you are your own worst enemy, don’t be fooled. You’ll sink yourselves with your own petty hatred and jealousy of each other. That’s why work permit holders outdo so may of you because they see the weakness between locals and take advantage of it for themselves.

    Unite and be glad a local is out there representing, helping to fix a problem the Police Commissioner assured the joint task force was under control five months ago. It was never under control and now look what’s happened; but that’s OK with y’all because he’s the right ‘tone’ for your eyes.

    Great Move Premier. Keep the UK military out of this.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  25. This is all good says:

    This all good cooperative law emfprcement btween two family, states and governments. The current influx of white expats ito all levels have severely altered the family relationship betweent the lands, but we still know our cultural inks, heritage and history.

    The issue with this and other law enforceent arrangments, whether here or in the USVI, the enforcement area is very biased.

    Here as in the USVI, law enforcement forces fouses only on the Black population. The white community is free to go unnoticed, unsuspected and unquestoned. Yet, they are equally involved in all areas of illegal and illicit activities from drug use to smuggling to selling, to guns sale and rafficking, child sex and trafficking and a whole host of other activities that those people simply are immue from the police eyes. And that kind of policing is biased and bad..

    So, they will be on he water, but with laser focus for Black people only, while the white folks will be go on about thei business carrying their drugs, covid, guns and whatever else they chose without a hesitation in the world.

    The laws should and be administered equally and fairly. It is not beinng done soin the BVI or USVI relative to marine law and enforcement of those laws.

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