BVI News

Residents concerned about drones: Say devices fly too close, invades privacy

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Some residents on the main island of Tortola are becoming alarmed by what they say is an increase in the amount of drone activity in residential areas, especially during after-dark hours.

These residents have said they believe the presence of the drones is an invasion of their privacy.

“These drones can come to your bedroom level and the zoom on these cameras can see straight into your bedroom. What if you are sleeping at night and they are hovering these drones and seeing what you are doing?” said one male resident who spoke to BVI News on the condition of anonymity.

The man, who is a resident of Sage Mountain on Tortola, added: “I don’t have a problem that they are using it, but the BVI should have laws, and you should have a permit, especially in residential areas.”

“This has been going on for a while now … this is an invasion of privacy. These people who fly the drones here; do they have a permit to use these drones? Are there any laws in place for drone activities in the BVI? And what is the law? We need to know,” he continued.

The Sage Mountain resident said he spotted one of the drones being operated in West End just minutes before midnight earlier this month.

He said he also spotted drones in Huntums Ghut, Sea Cows Bay, Nanny Cay and in his Sage Mountain community.

“These people could be recording you, and you don’t know,” he said before calling on central government to probe and address the issue.

One female businesswoman residing in the Nanny Cay area of Tortola told BVI News she also had an encounter with the flying devices.

She said one hovered above her property just this week.

“It was about midday on Sunday and it was right there. I stood and I watched it for ages. I’m asking what were they doing?”

No drone regulation laws, police say

Deputy Police Commissioner Alwin James told BVI News on Tuesday that there are presently no laws in place to govern the use of drone activity in the territory.

“The Air Safety Support International has regulations on drones. It applies to the BVI but it is more so as it relates to where it interferes with aircrafts coming into the airport. [But], we don’t have any regulations on our books as it relates to drones,” James said.

“Drones are a recent thing, and no permit is required to utilize them.”

When asked if the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) own drones, the deputy commissioner responded with a ‘yes’. However, he said, “RVIPF drones are associated with [their] K-9 Unit and the search-and-rescue at sea.”

The Deputy Police Commissioner said there have been no reports received about the drone disturbances. He further said there are no restrictions on anyone wishing to import drones in the BVI.

Drones to form part of security plan

Notably, just last year, Governor Augustus Jaspert said a new security plan for the territory would see the introduction of drones in the territory.

He said the police drone surveillance would be purchased with a portion of the £1.2 million the United Kingdom had donated to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) in December 2017.

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

17 Comments

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  1. OZYMANDIAS says:

    Dem on dem west boys arse!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  2. Well says:

    I would not worry about it. Close your curtains or blinds. The drones is keeping a eye on the boys from the West.

    Like 8
    Dislike 7
    • ... says:

      The drones in west end, and other parts belong to ignorant INDIVIDUALS. All you want is talk made up criminal drama nonsense.

      We need controls on these drones, what do they do with the videos after invading persons privacy?

      When a drone hovers near your home you will want to do something about it as you know you are not a criminal.

      What is the penalty for jamming a drone signal? 2 years in jail?

      This aint right.

      Like 11
      Dislike 5
  3. Just remember says:

    The Premier and his family lives down West and they have keep an eye on the West area. The drone passed by my house, I am not doing anything wrong or have anything to hide. So drone on.

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
  4. hello says:

    it’s so easy to get rid of the drones …just shoot them down.\ and stop complaining. People here complain too much

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  5. Retired says:

    Most of the drones in the BVI are just toys, not weapons. Toy drones are easy to disable with water or kite string if they get too close. A shot of water from a high pressure water gun can disable a drone. Kite string tied to a dart and thrown over the drone can also disable a drone. For drones at a distance the best defense is a stunt kite with lots of dangling tails and ribbons. The small teaching kites used for kite boarding can disable a drone. Normal size kite boarding kites can destroy a drone. Disabled drones usually stop flying and plummet into the thick BVI bush where they are rarely recovered intact.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  6. hhmmm says:

    Yes, indeed all on your porch near your window in the middle of the night. Woke me up with the buzzing peeping on you when your sleeping that’s the only thing i can think of at that time of the night.

  7. What!!! says:

    Little Denmark used to sell catapults , drone comes near my house looking in it’s down.

  8. Drones says:

    Found on dead on my roof

  9. Nonsense says:

    Too intrusive, they need to be regulated.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  10. Jane says:

    Yeah I had one flying by my place middle of the day hovering and making multiple passes back and forth at window height. Very intrusive. Ppl need to mind their own business.

  11. Coppers says:

    But remember u planning on destroying a drone the owner already know who u are by seeing u on camera but u have no idea who is flying it u can get yourself hurt here

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