BVI News

‘Immunity clause’ sought to place liability on RVIPF, not individual officers acting under orders

The Office of the Governor has sought to explain certain ambiguities surrounding the controversial Police Act of 2019, which seeks to replace the current three-decade-old Police Act (Cap 165).

The proverbial bones of contention within the newly proposed Bill are its clauses, 22 and 185. The first states that police officers are not personally liable for acts done under a warrant, while the latter clause provides immunity for police officers acting under the authority of a warrant.

Responding to BVI News queries via email, the Governor’s Office said when the Act speaks of ‘immunity’ for members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), it does not mean officers will be exempted from punishment or enjoy freedom from the injurious consequences of an action in all cases.

“In no way, shape, or form, do the clauses in question mean total immunity for police officers. They will continue to be held to the highest standards when carrying out their duties, including being held to account under the Police Act and Regulations,” the email correspondence stated.

Liability would be placed on RVIPF, not individual officers

In explaining the intention behind those clauses, the Governor’s Office said they were made to place the responsibility, or “liability on the RVIPF as an organisation rather than on individual officers”.

“In doing so, the Act ensures a high level of accountability in our security and justice system, whilst also protecting individual officers when acting under orders. It is important to note that the provisions included in the Act already exist across the rest of our public service and in other Police Acts within the Commonwealth,” the Governor’s Office said.

“When off duty, they are accountable to the law just like everyone else,” it added.

RVIPF, Governor’s Office was involved in drafting the proposed Act

The Office of the Governor further said the legislation will build on what it describes as the ‘already high standard of the RVIPF’. It explained that the proposed Act is designed to modernise law enforcement policies in the Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile, the email correspondence said the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s chambers and the RVIPF were all involved in the development of the new legislation. 

It explained that Attorney General’s chambers was also sought to “ensure that there were no breaches of the laws governing the Territory or the rights of citizens”.

Act failed to pass

The Act, according to Premier Andrew Fahie, failed to pass in the House of Assembly after being recently introduced and debated.

He explained that the Act did not get the support from either side of the political aisle.

“The numbers were not there to approve that Police Act. The members unanimously in terms of voting, instructed me as the Premier and Minister of Finance — and I so was guided — for the Act to go in a full committee of the House so that the concerns that the public had raised can be addressed and that is what true democracy is about,” he said in recent sitting of the HOuse.

Premier Fahie said this would be a Special Select Committee comprising all members. During the proceedings of this select committee, the Police Act will be assessed clause by clause before making a return to the public in a new session of the House of Assembly.

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

44 Comments

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  1. Youth says:

    This man think we are fools.

    Like 11
    Dislike 15
    • Strupes says:

      Be quiet you think he’s a momo ayo down island people want to take over the force

      Like 2
      Dislike 14
      • To a Fellow Warriors and haters of Evil says:

        So called “Down Island people,” BVIslanders, USVI, America, South America, Europe and Africa, all Black people must stop being prejudicial against each other and unite.

        There are a few indivifual bloggers on this site, presumably not Black, that are stoking flames of hatred and division among locals and so called “down island people.”

        We must irradicate such ignorance from our mental consciousness, and not allow dividers to plant psychological divisive seeds into our psyche.

        At the end of the day, we all have a common enemy and we know who he is.

        Wake up, rise up and unite Black people. Stop, if you are Black, falling for such evil.

        Like 10
        Dislike 6
    • To Youth says:

      After reading your comment and a lot of the others below I’m sure he does

  2. Oh says:

    I was wondering who is behind this dictatorship Police legislation. Now we know it is the Governor. I always warn ayo about this man.

    Like 10
    Dislike 20
  3. People says:

    Why do we need a governor in this 21st century? And if we do then why do we need one from the UK? Why can’t one of us in the BVI be the governor? Let us wake up.

    Like 10
    Dislike 25
  4. Sooner says:

    The sooner this man leaves the better. He is a f****** and a fake.

    Like 8
    Dislike 25
  5. Hmmm says:

    To much island people in the police force here

    Like 11
    Dislike 8
    • So what do you want? says:

      The opposite of island people?

      That would be mainland people:

      South America? North America? Europe? Africa? Asia?

      Why?

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
  6. What says:

    So when they do all sought of nonsense under a warrant that are outside of their authority it’s our tax money that will have to compensate when the RVIPF is sued and persons win in Court. Hellllll no! This will be a liability on us the tax payers long after Mr Governor returns to his homeland. Very unfair!

    If Officers know they will not be held liable personally what incentive is there to behave. All that will happen is they will lose their jobs and find another one.

    This section has to go!

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  7. Listen says:

    Mr governor what mr Frazer talked about and the other ministers you mean to tell me that you mr governor and commissioner of police with the attorney general are the only people with common sense in the bvi??. What you are really saying is that the ministers don’t have a clue about what they were saying??. What is written should be easy for everyone to understand not for us to seek legal advice. This act should be written not only for the governor the attorney general and the commissioner of police to interpret. We all should be able to understand this act without seeking legal opinion because different people would have different interpretation. Something is just not right

    Like 24
  8. Hmmm says:

    This site only protects the governor from blogs he may not like.

    Like 7
    Dislike 8
  9. Street says:

    This man needs to keep out of the news.

    Like 7
    Dislike 11
  10. strupes says:

    mayson go siddung wid dah f**t

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  11. Well well says:

    I liked the Governor until now. I am beginning to see that he is a d***l in disguise. Please do pass this in the house. This man have an agenda for the BVI people and it is noting good. Cline have a right to be on you the way he does. You are a w*******s man thinking the BVI people are fools. We are you your sheep sir. Lord you got me p****d off this morning😡🤬🤬 This man and yes this man. Hmmmm .. D***n he is. Be aware BVI landers.

    Like 11
    Dislike 9
  12. ‘Tis governor says:

    Racist need to get on the plane …

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  13. Here we go again says:

    More than 400 years ago our foreparents were enslaved because they allowed themselves to be captured by thinking that these kinds of persons liked them and care for them. Then when they had them comfortable believing so and have them selling out to them their own people then they captured all of them and enslaved them. Here we go again with this chap.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  14. Skeptical says:

    Smoke screen and dazzling mirrors. Their aim is to expand policing powers to disseminate brutal control whenever the time comes to effect full control of people and land.

    The virus has made it possible for them to usurp human democratic freedoms, now the next phase is the enshrining of draconian methods of human rights suppression into law.

    The people must be very skeptical of tinkerings with the law by the power brokers, as their is always a hidden agenda behind.

    We has better wake up and look, see and read between the lines and unfolding events.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  15. E. Leonard says:

    Policing is a vital and critical community service and the police mission is to serve and protect the community it serves. Effective policing is a standard of living and a quality life issue in a free and modern society. In a free and modern society, it promotes public safety and uphold the rule of law so that individual liberty may be enjoyed. Police power is powerful.

    Nonetheless, its power cannot be absolute. Police must held accountable and responsible for individual and collective bahaviour, performance and actions. The community must have trust and confidence in the police. To do so, the police must build positive relationships, respect civil liberties, and avoid tactics that encourage the use of excessive force against citizens.

    Moreover, like other organizations, the RVIPF must have structured policies, programmes, processes, practices, standards, customs, norms…..etc. However, if these items are not properly followed and effectively executed, they are useless and the organization is in essence ineffective. And to be an effective organization, each police officer and civilian must strictly adhere to organizational practices……etc.

    Further, if police officers follow the rules, there should not be a problem. Police officers in performing their duties whether it is warning someone or making a routine arrest or executing a warrant or conducting an investigation must follow the law, use sound judgment and exercise reasonable discretion. And when police offices deliberate violate the rules, they must be held responsible and accountable for their actions. Is an individual police officer and RVIPF one and the same?

    In my view, a police officer and the RVIPF is one and the same. Out on the beat, a police officer is an ambassador and represents the RVIPF. Similarly, when a police officer out on the beat follows the rule, the RVIPF has his or her back. Yes, the RVIPF should support officers that follow the rules in performing their duties. Nevertheless, when officers deliberately stray from the rules, they should be held responsible and accountable for their action(s).

    Moreover, the qualified immunity clause seem muddied. When officers are executing warrants or carrying other orders from superiors, they must still follow established rules, but if they stray deliberately from the rules, it must be clear that they can be held responsible and accountable for their actions. Police officers must demonstrate the courage and strength to refuse to carry out unlawful orders. To me, qualified immunity for police officers but holding RVIPF liable is creating a moral hazard situation. The bottom line is that police officers carrying out all actions should be aware that if they go beyonnd the bounds of the law, they can be held accountable and responsible for their actions

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • RealPol says:

      @E. Leonard, real talk. “ To me, qualified immunity for police officers but holding RVIPF liable is creating a moral hazard situation.“ Indeed, the scenario is a moral hazard. For example, an insured investment company is prone to take higher risk because it is insured than if it were self-insured, for a failed investment would cost the company less because it is insured. Thus, if police officers know that due to qualified immunity that the RVIPF, not they, will be liable for their actions they feel incentivize to go rogue.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
    • RealPol says:

      @E. Leonard, real talk. “ To me, qualified immunity for police officers but holding RVIPF liable is creating a moral hazard situation.“ Indeed, the scenario is a moral hazard. For example, an insured investment company is prone to take higher risk because it is insured than if it were self-insured, for a failed investment would cost the company less because it is insured. Thus, if police officers know that due to qualified immunity that

  16. ReX FeRaL says:

    The claues does not relieve the individual office from culpability in use of excess and unreasonable force in the execution of his/her duties. Come on governor.

  17. I never hear wuss... says:

    the Govnr is simply clarifying the issue and listen to all the hate. UK is gonna tell us to shove it one of these days then all you haters will have your pants full of $h-t in a panic. Sept 2017 we were all so glad the UK was there for us…now look at us, just a few years later.

    Like 11
    Dislike 5
    • agreed - says:

      UK sent ships with UK taxpayers money to a tax haven that depends on 50% of its revenue from hiding taxes from them and other first world countries – what irony. then they offer to back a recovery loan and we dont want it because we want to spend it on our terms only. Jaspert has rolled up his sleeves and stood with us through thick and thin and because he is so involved in helping us (like he should be) we give him a ration of crap. We cant have our cake and eat it.

      Like 14
      Dislike 5
      • fpl says:

        you a dog lover. Go love a dog

      • Recovery loan says:

        Look man we got hit with a cat 5 hurricane and they want to use that as a opportunity to financially enslave the territory.

        Its three years later what recovery loan do we really need?

        Having your cake and eating it is enslaving a people, getting rich off their work with cotton sugar and tobacco and then playing like they owe no repatriation.

        Like 2
        Dislike 2
  18. opressor says:

    this governor has become a burden on the people …

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  19. Bystander says:

    Very few of the bloggers on here have understood what the Governor is saying; he is saying that if a policeman does something wrong you want the force on the hook not the policeman. It’s the force that will have the money to pay damages and also the institutional accountability. If necessary the force will then discipline the policeman concerned because apart from anything ese he will have exposed the force to liability.

    Like 10
    Dislike 3
    • @bystander says:

      Try to have a little foresight and stop operating in hindsight.

      1) employers are already liable under law for acts done by their employees during the course of employment. RVIPF is no exception unless previous law expressly excluded RVIPF from liability.

      2)The RVIPF money is ultimately the government money. Why put the government ONLY at stake for wrongful acts of police officers. Police officers should have that possibility of liability hanging over their head also so they think twice before acting stupid.

      Conclusion, no explanation needed. The people are not stupid. We want to hear about our repatriation funds…

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
    • To bystander says:

      So when an officer wrongly murders someone who was in their possession under a warrant, you going place criminal murder charges against the RVIPF? You could send RVIPF to prison? Think twice.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
      • Bystander says:

        I think the Governor is talking about civil liability for damages, not criminal prosecution; so on your example if a policeman murdered some one in the course of carrying out his duties the policeman would be prosecuted criminally, and any civil judgment for damages would be against and met by the RVIPF. As to the vicarious liability point I suspect that is less straightforward when a person is employed by the Crown than when employed by the private sector, hence the need for this Act. Which we haven’t got because no one understood it and anyway thought if it comes from the Governor we will block it on principle.

  20. Nonsense says:

    The governor talking p***. Just like the UK we are a common law jurisdiction. Therefore, employers are already vicariously liable for acts done by their employees who are acting during the course of employment. I tried with this governor but I am over it now!!!!

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  21. Annoyed!! says:

    Governor, where is the law for repatriation! Talk dat!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  22. James bond says:

    Always has his arms folded standing off yet always in thing too. When can we get a dark skinned governor or do they not employ them as spies?

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  23. fbi says:

    good act, they need to pass this thing soon, i see nothing wrong with it, should be passed a long time ago, the bvi has criminality in their blood, they love and support it, so they will say things to put down the police, where enforcing the law comes to play, lawless set of people, young, old and in between, they need many more acts like these to keep them in line, by the way you guys will have a white governor till Jesus come for his planet, i mean his first planet, i almost forget that the bvi is a planet as well, hehehehehe.

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
    • To fbi says:

      No one of sane and informed minds today do not know that past enslavers of humanity, warlords and thieves of people, resources and lands were then and now impurities of the earth. From that background, why would their children want to rule other people indefinitely? Not worked for privilege perhaps.

    • @FBI says:

      HATER!!!!! No matter how much you hate us the BVI will continue to prosper (even through the rough times). That’s why you are so envious and hateful.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  24. Anonymous says:

    Racism and hatred will never die even after jesus has come and gone, for the devill’s servants will continue spreading evil until such time as he is erradicated from planet earth.

    Now, only a demon possesed mind could post words such as the following and others: “by the way you guys will have a white governor till Jesus come for his planet, i mean his first planet, i almost forget that the bvi is a planet as well, hehehehehe.”

    Well, first, the Black mind is not static. Second, the same jesus you depend on to perpetuate white dominantion over Black people will free the Back man from your domination.Third, nature, life and mankind mentalities and institutions are not permament, they are transient.

    Where are the first human developed civilizations of Africa? Where are the proceeding developed civilizations after Africa such as the Greeks, Romans and others?

    Stated with confidence then, this here illusionary fictitious civilization dominated by hatred towards other races, incessant destruction through war of innocent people and their forward progress, greed, selfishness, decadence and murder will not last as long as either the Greeks, Romans, and definitely not as long as past African civilizations.

    So gou longgg posting the anti Black and derogatory grimy and wait to see if such limited dirty thinking will change the course of destiny.

  25. @fbi says:

    Here and across the world, your time is now, but no where is it foretold, neither on Hieroglyphs, in the bible or the koran, in your mind or the bowles of that mind, that domination of the Black race will last into perpetuity.

    All weapons formed against him will fail eventually, including the most successful ones so far, religion, jesus, heaven, hell and warfare.

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