BVI News

Former Police Commissioner did not favour radar barges — Premier


Former Police Commissioner Michael Matthews was not in favour of having barges assist with border security at the beginning of the COVID-induced lockdown, even as the Immigration and Customs Department was in support of this measure.

This is according to Premier Andrew Fahie during his recent hearing with the Commission of Inquiry (COI).

“We had correspondences, not directly to me but at least copied, where the Commissioner of Police (COP) was – he was not a fan of the ship, the barges – but Immigration and Customs were,” Premier Fahie told the COI.

Former COP wanted to accept free vessels

According to the Premier, the then-Commissioner of Police also reportedly supplied some documentation where persons wanted to offer smaller boats for free.

However, the Premier expressed some level of apprehension for this measure, citing safety and security concerns as well as financial protocols prohibiting the receipt of free gifts for any law enforcement agencies.

“The issue with that, my professor in college told me anything free means one of two things: Somebody paid for it already or somebody will pay for it after,” Fahie told the COI.

Smaller boats were a concern

The COI further heard that even though smaller boats were being rented by the Joint Task Force at the time, these became a concern at some stage.

“I must say, though, Commissioner, in full openness that the NSC (Nation Security Council), when we spoke with the Joint Task Force – and this is from them reporting to us — in the beginning they were renting smaller boats, and the smaller boats caused a concern with a lot of the officers,” Premier Fahie said.

The Premier said security operatives, through their unit head reported to NSC and expressed “concern for their safety on the water”.

He noted that they further complained that the boats “could not stay out on those waves or waters too long and take it.”

He told the COI that the main concern expressed was for a bigger vessel since the smaller vessels were made of fibreglass.

According to the Premier, another issue that came to the fore was about security operatives being in the line of fire. He did not, however, expound on what this meant or how the men might have been affected in this particular manner.

Abnormal times required emergency measures

Further bolstering his argument about the abnormal procurements done to patrol the VI’s waters, the Premier said he realised that he “had to move to get something out there to protect the water.”

“Was it done in terms of the normal procurement?” he asked rhetorically. “No, but nothing was done during that time in that way – whether it being the hiring of hotels, would be the hiring of boats, would be the hiring of cars.”

Insisting that his acts were done in good faith, Premier Fahie further told the COI that it was a time of emergency and he needed to ensure the people of the Virgin Islands were made safe.

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  1. Resident says:

    why use barges when the drug men use go fast boats, not smart

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  2. heckler says:

    Nobody did except those that wanted a kickback

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  3. But Why says:

    Why is the former Commissioner of Police transcript not released on the COI website? I notice Wade Smith testimony is not on their either. Is the COI being selective? My understanding is that they would delete any sensitive info from the transcript and make all testimony from officials public this has not been the case for these two. Are they rats? Did they sell out? If they are telling lies how will the public ever know if the transcripts are not released? I find this to be a mystery.

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    • I agree says:

      I am keenly waiting on the statements from Wade Smith and the commissioner of police
      , Mr. Commissioner of Inquiry. We want to know what they had to say. We also need Leslie lettsome, greg romney and the other guy ttestimony please and thank you

  4. Eyes says:

    ” he had to get something out there t o protect the water”
    Isn’t that the responsibility of the UK?
    Andrew, refusing assist by the YK for our borders is one of your worse blunder. You must have been pressured ..In the meantime tell us about your armoured security detail.

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  5. WOW says:

    How come this newsite always have information on the COI and usually writes or is given to post stories trying to paint the Government in a bad light. This whole thing is a set up.

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    • Hog wash says:

      That make any sense? If you read the transcript you will see BVI News only reporting what is said.

      Your government is shedding the bad light upon itself.

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    • @WOW says:

      Don’t be an a** for all to see, the transcripts are public and any news site can access them and write their stories accordingly.

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    • Yeah says:

      I wonder the same thing. Is like they are the only ones preview to information and set the narrative to make the Government look bad with their bias news.

      Dislike 10
    • Yellow site says:

      The other site paints the bad the government do as good. So what you trying to say??

  6. Again says:

    This man that just left the force needs to be investigated.

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  7. hmm says:

    is the barge man part of the drug ring so how? lol

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  8. Anonymous says:

    @WOW, Try posting something against the government and see if they publish it. I have done blogs with no bad words just calling out the government that never got posted [other site].

    • Big Al says:

      That happens to you too? It happened to me when I blogged on this subject. My blog was one of the first, it never surfaced. What a damn shame. No free speech unless it’s pro government. I will still continue to blog whether they publish it or not.

  9. itstime says:

    Abnormal times required emergency measures

    This is what Premier Andrew Fahie said. Further bolstering his argument about the abnormal procurements done to patrol the VI’s waters, the Premier said he realized that he “had to move to get something out there to protect the water. The UK navy was offered to him he turned it down because he had his own plans. The Navy of any country is trained to protect borders they can by sea and air have the equipment to detect movement by sea and air but instead; he gets two Barges to sit there for month doing nothing.

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  10. Common sense says:

    The Premier does not have a leg to stand on, the UK offered Naval vessels to guard the borders free of charge, he declined, why ??

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  11. @ @ HECKLER says:


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  12. Hummm says:

    Maybe for the same reason the NDP Government declined the same UK Military to assist with clean up after the August 2017 floods. If there are locally available resources why bother? Everything is not dollars and cents!

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  13. Thoughtful Sailor says:

    If the police could swim, and understood boat construction, they would have had no fear of fiberglass boats out in the ocean. Beginning bareboaters do it every day!

  14. Time will tell says:

    We pander around the truth like we don’t know what’s going on. Look at who the barges belong to and how much their alleged contribution to the election campaign was. Some of us don’t like to hear it, but this Premier is going to sink us all into the abyss!!

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  15. Skipper says:

    There are ships at anchor off Peter Island, unused for any other purpose, that are seaworthy and capable of being the electronic eyes of Customs and Immigration. Have the owners of these vessels been asked if they would be for hire?

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