Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has expressed a desire to have a local at the helm of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) once again.
Premier Wheatley was asked at a recent press conference about the issue and whether he felt a new commissioner should be sourced from within the Caribbean.
While contending that the Police Service Commission will be responsible for that process when that time comes, the Premier said his hope is that the role will be filled by someone who is highly qualified for the role.
“Over the years, we’ve been advocating for our own local police officers to be able to step to the fore and I’m happy that we’ve seen some local police officers being recruited,” the Premier stated.
He added: “We’re hopeful that we have persons rising through the ranks; that we provide them with the training and the opportunities necessary to rise through the ranks and of course, we expect that, as [happened] in the past, that we can have homegrown talent rising to the level of a police commissioner.”
Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley, in addressing the issue of escalating crime in the territory, said he believed the BVI should be more reliant on CARICOM colleagues in assisting in the territory’s crime-fighting efforts.
The Premier was quizzed on whether he felt it would be more effective to have Caribbean-trained officers recruited to the RVIPF.
“The short answer is yes, and we’ve already had a lot of assistance from our Caribbean brothers and sisters through CARICOM,” Premier Wheatley said in response.
Dr Wheatley noted that the government has already had some collaboration with the Caribbean-based Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) which he said has been helpful in streamlining the advanced passenger information system.
“We’re appreciative for whatever resources are provided to us through the United Kingdom. But I agree with you. In the region here, we have to work together more because, of course, all of us face a similar challenge,” the Premier said while alluding to the drug trade.
He added: “All of us in the Caribbean are impacted by the proximity to the United States where most of the illegal guns in the Caribbean originate from the United States, The more we work together, the better we’ll be able to solve crime, which is a transnational problem.”
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