BVI News

Legislators fail Bill! Controversial Police Act to now be deliberated in special committee before returning

The controversial Police Act of 2019, which seeks to replace the current three-decade-old Police Act (Cap 165), failed to pass in the House of Assembly after getting disapproval from both government and Opposition legislators.

This is according to Premier Andrew Fahie who made the announcement during Monday’s sitting of the House.

He said: “The police [portfolio] is under the governor and I graciously brought the Act for him to the House of Assembly and the members debated on both sides of the isles. 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 added.

Premier Fahie said this will 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.

Concerns about too much authority

The Premier also detailed some of the feedback that was relayed to him from members of the public.

“They were concerned about certain areas that were giving policing, in their humble view, too much authority,” Fahie stated.

In a July 10 sitting of the House, senior Opposition legislator Julian Fraser outlined several sections of the Act which he said raised many concerns.

He described aspects of the Act as creating a ‘police state’ and having too many ambiguities that needed to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

Such examples included clauses 22 and 185 of the Act. 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.

Fraser also called for the Premier to ensure that the public gets involved with the process of creating the new Act, a sentiment that was also shared by Opposition leader Marlon Penn.

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  1. down2earth says:

    What percentage of the VIPF is Virgin Islanders? God looks at the heart of man. Now, look at the hatred spewed in comments.

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    Dislike 1
  2. Outlook says:

    I see a sickout coming

  3. Hmmm says:

    All Bills MUST be approv3d by cabinet. How can a Govt in cabinet approve a Bill and then not support it in the HOA.

    Something not adding up.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
    • Observer says:

      @Hmmm: Please don’t confuse what goes on in Cabinet/ Executive with the role of the House of Assembly/Parliament. Parliament can make and unmake any law because Parliament is sovereign.

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  4. Rat Minding the Cheese says:

    The police are already being paid under the table or doing favours by alerting people beforehand that they are on their way with a warrant and not executing warrants at times.

    How can they be immune to acts conducted under a warrant when they are wolves in sheep clothing?????

    You think drugs and guns are a problem in the BVI now, imagine giving police immunity.

    Up to now they can’t catch a man on the run.

    Like 10
    • @Rat Minding the Cheese says:

      I concur. But you forgot one thing. They can’t cath a man on the run on a 24 square mile island while ports are closed. lol. And They are aware where he is because just the other night they went by to say hi. It couldn’t have been anything else because if they wanted to apprehend him they would have walked with at least four men. One on the north, one the south, east and the west. Only in the BeeWeeIiii. The majority of the Police Force are paid for doing absolutely nothing at all while dressed in uniforms and driving in vehicles paid for by the Government.

  5. Windy says:

    This is how a democracy is supposed to work not an health emergency act that allows for politicians to take away rights

  6. Observer says:

    As to the issues raised by Honorable Fraser in reference to Clauses 22 and 185. His arguments don’t hold water. Think about it, All Search warrants obtained by officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force are signed by local Magistrates or a Justice of the Peace. Further, there must be probable cause or sufficient information must be provided in support of any application for a search warrant. That said, however, to some extent I do agree that police officers should not have total immunity in the sense that if acting under a warrant, if that officer does anything outside the authority given to him/her, then that officer should not have total immunity. A good example here is excessive use of force during the execution of a warrant, or wanton destruction of a property subject to a search warrant.

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  7. SLEEPER AWAKE says:

    You guys really don’t see further than your lil toe. By the time you awake if you ever do this country will be long gone.

  8. Jane says:

    The brutality of the Police in the US is aided because of the immunity which they enjoy there. A good summary of this is explained here:

    No to Police immunity here. Also time to have the Police here equipped with body-cams as standard (and to introduce legislation to make it a criminal offense to switch it off).

  9. Think This Through says:

    Something is wrong with this picture,The Government pushing everything for police,let not violate persons right when it comes to a warrant. have you all forgotten about other departments like immigration and Customs when it comes to strengthened the security of this great country,let us do it right all three agencies does similar enforcement.your strengthened one department and bringing down the other departments that housing all locals.lets be fair.why not pass a law so immigration can stamp people out on exiting the BVI.

  10. The Nation. says:

    The police force have corrupt cops. No police should get immunity. They done don’t do their jobs and are a big reason why crime they way it is in the BVI. These search warrants can be abused by police and the family who have an axe to grind.

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