Businessman Julian Willock has lamented the rate at which white-collar crime has been going unpunished in the British Virgin Islands, adding that this category of crime appears to also be on the rise locally.
White-collar crime is a non-violent offence usually committed for financial reasons by politicians and other persons of high social status and respectability.
“The white collar crime – and I probably don’t have all the statistics to say that, but from my observation and from hearing and seeing – seems to be on the rise,” Willock said, adding that such category of crime is not the easiest to detect.
The fact that no audited financial report has been tabled in the territory’s parliament for some 10 consecutive years, the businessman further reasoned, is among the troubling observations as far as possible white-collar crime is concerned.
“We don’t have any audited financial report for a number of years. That again in itself is illegal – it’s not right; the Financial Management Act speaks to this. Who is holding our leaders accountable? And I am talking about both sides [of the political divide]. Where is the Public Accounts Committee demanding these reports?” added Willock, who also is a member of the Opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP).
Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie recently wrote to Governor John Duncan, asking him to use his constitutional powers to have the current government furnish the territory with all outstanding audited financial reports, covering both the VIP and National Democratic Party’s terms in government.
Willock, in the meantime, last evening called for law enforcers to treat all categories of crime equally.
According to him, offences committed by persons of lower social status are more aggressively targeted.
“One of the things that I am hearing that is of concern to people too is that the white-collar crime; it seems there is almost discrimination in terms of crime, that the guy on the corner block or the girl with the dime bag are quickly sent away [to prison], but white-collar crime seems to be totally ignored in our society,” Willock said during an appearance on the EMG Radio Show hosted by Edmund Maduro.
He continued: “You want to create a society where there is an equilibrium that, if a politician raids the Treasury and does illegal stuff, he is held accountable too just like the young man who would sit on the corner and sell a dime bag of weed and get into trouble.”
“We have to bring some equilibrium to the society where everybody feels that there is a justice system that applies to everybody, not the white-collar guy getting away with murder and the poor little guy has to spend three, four years in prison,” Willock further said.
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