The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is collaborating with international authorities to rein in local murder suspects who fled to other countries after these murders were committed.
“As we sit here today, there are people living in other countries that we are working tirelessly with the jurisdictions of those countries to not only track their movements but also, if possible, to get them back to the BVI because we believe that we have sufficient evidence to charge in some of our homicides,” Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said while speaking on public radio this week.
He said one of the frustrations for local police is that persons who are involved with some of these homicides flee the island within hours of committing the crime.
And despite having the ability to trace these suspects back to their place of origin, the commissioner said the difficulty always lies in getting those individuals back in the BVI for questioning.
Roughly half the murders since 2000 unsolved
During a guest appearance on the Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton Cline radio programme, Commissioner Matthews said just fewer than 50 percent of the territory’s homicides in the last two decades are still unsolved.
Matthews said a total of 68 homicides have been recorded in the BVI between January 2000 to May 2019.
“We have actually arrested and charged in 35 of those cases which, if you round that up, is around a 52 percent detection rate at the moment,” he said.
Detection rate to increase with new Immigration system
However, the police commissioner said he believes more suspects will be caught and investigated when government’s border management system is fully implemented across all local ports of entry come June 2020.
“That will automate a lot of the processes that our Immigration colleagues have been operating on paper with for far too long. What that will do though is that will provide opportunities for other law enforcement agencies to access the system and to share intelligence and information,” the Commissioner said.
He added: “Certainly, one of the things that we are committed to delivering as well, not only in support of that new technology but this is something that we noticed as being needed in the territory at the time which is the Joint Intelligence Capability, so we want to join up Customs, Immigration, Prison, Police Service, get officers all in one room all talking to each other, all on the same technology and they are the ways that we are successfully going to track people.”
Appeal to assist with unsolved murders
The top cop also appealed to persons who may be able to assist in some of the unsolved cases to come forward in whatever way they can as investigations are still ongoing in those cases.
“We don’t forget the victims of these crimes so I don’t forget the 48 percent of victims whose killer has not been brought to justice yet and I put out a plea today for the family of Trinity Moses in particular — young and innocent — but, of course, all the victims of homicides in this territory,” Matthews said.
He continued: “If you know something, it doesn’t matter how small, it doesn’t matter how significant you think it is, get a message to us. You don’t have to give us your name, you don’t have to come in personally. Get the information through a third party to us, go and speak to a priest, a bishop, a pastor, go and speak to a parliamentarian, I don’t mind how I get the information but one little piece to the jigsaw may end up making all the difference.”