Governor Augustus Jaspert has said the 2,300-kilo cocaine haul involving a local policeman proves that pockets of corruption not only exist in the territory but may be contributing to other major undetected illegal activities.
Governor Jaspert, who is responsible for the national security, made that statement during a media conference on Tuesday.
He said the major concerns regarding the security of the territory’s borders and its vulnerability to drug smuggling have now increased even more.
“My view and that of law enforcers is that this is not the work of a few criminals sneaking through the cracks on a one-off [occasion]. A seizure of this scale, especially when combined with other seizures made in recent months, is strong evidence of serious and organised criminality here in BVI,” the governor said.
He added: “The investigation is at an early stage, but regrettably, the involvement of a police officer indicates that there may be pockets of corruption facilitating this kind of illicit activity. It is important that we act fast to eliminate and prevent this corruption from growing further.”
Proof that institutions can be manipulated
The governor also said that three of the territory’s most recent major crimes, which included the broad-daylight murder of Everton McMaster Jr, the recovery of a stolen boat at sea where $99,000 was discovered, and this drug bust of $250 million worth of cocaine and two illegal guns, all painted a very concerning picture.
He said he believes something must be done to prevent such negative activities from becoming a norm in the BVI society.
“The fact that corruption has occurred is a sobering sign that our institutions can be manipulated. If we fail to tackle corruption now, there is a danger that it could spread throughout our institutions, businesses, and society. This must be a wake-up call. We cannot allow BVI to become a target for drug trafficking and criminality in the region,” he urged.
In the meantime, Governor Jaspert also praised the officers involved in the historic seizure, especially considering their operations resulted in no casualties.
“It was a dangerous and complex operation, which required significant courage and professionalism. The significance of their bust is beyond anything the officers have seen in their lifetimes and will make our streets and others around the world a safer place,” he stated.
“It has shown drug smugglers that BVI will not tolerate their illicit activity. We can and will stop trafficking. Our officers who led the investigation and raid should be incredibly proud of their effort and I hope we all feel proud of what they have achieved. We all owe them a debt of gratitude,” he further said.
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