Junior Minister of Tourism Archibald Christian has told the House of Assembly that persons have been trying to smuggle suspected looted items out of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), adding that looting is not part of the territory’s culture and heritage.
Following Hurricane Irma on September 6, both locals and expatriates, as well as persons from all social classes and races, were seen looting businesses across the BVI.
Christian, during the first post-hurricane sitting of the House, said: “This part (looting) angers us. This is not who we are as a BVI people. The looting is not in our culture; it is not in our heritage.”
Christian also joined the list of persons calling for residents to submit video and photo evidence of looting to the police.
“If you feel you want to provide it in confidence, provide it to your minister of gospel, Minister of Religion, member of the House of Assembly, Justice of the Peace – anybody that you have confidence in,” he said.
A number of persons already have been punished in court for looting, but several other offenders are still at large.
Christian said a 20-foot container of goods is among suspicious items persons have tried to smuggle through the territory’s ports.
“A 20-foot container [was] going to a particular destination full of appliances and all sorts of goods, and the person could not tell Customs how they acquired these items,” he said.
“You hear of stories of persons leaving the territory now, and they can’t account for the items that they have in their luggage.There is no receipt of how they acquired what they have — brand new items.”
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