Governor John Rankins has released a statement condemning the recent spike in crime in the British Virgin Islands and has pledged extra resources where necessary to effectively tackle the issue.
His February 22nd statement said “As Governor of the British Virgin Islands, I share the concern of all in the community regarding the recent murders that have taken place. I will aim to provide any extra resource necessary to the Police Commissioner to ensure effective investigations into the murders, so that those responsible will be held to account and brought before the courts. This must be the top priority of the RVIPF.”
INCREASED POLICE PRESENCE
The Governor said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force pragmatically increased police presence in the community and is confident that it will deter crime.
“At the same time I have agreed with the Police Commissioner that RVIP officers will be further deployed in tackling organized crime and drugs on these islands. The RVIPF has already initiated a high-profile operation increasing its presence on the streets day and night. This has already been met with a positive response from many members of the community and has increased information reaching the force.”
COMMUNITY MUST SPEAK OUT
Within his constitutional responsibility of security, the Governor said “No effort must be spared in strengthening our security, including our border security, preventing those responsible for such violence and loss of life from continuing their criminal activities. I encourage anyone in the community who has information on those involved in drugs trafficking, illegal firearms and organized crime to bring it to the attention of the authorities.”
“This will continue to be my top priority as Governor and I ask all in BVI to join me in a firm resolve to help ensure an end to the unacceptable events of recent days,” he later added.
Police Commissioner Michael Matthews recently called for the swift installation of CCTV cameras following the recent murders. The top cop strongly believes that the CCTV system will alleviate crime and said it is “disgraceful” that we are yet to install the systems.
Mr. Matthews said “there is no doubt that the long promised CCTV system would assist in the prevention and reduction of crimes in the territory and the detection of some of the recent murders. It is disgraceful in my view that we had an agreement and funding in 2018 for the new cameras and not a single one so far has appeared.”
“They were actually purchased well over a year ago and I am told the delays are contractual issues” and maintained that CCTV territory-wide installation should be treated as a top priority, especially in light of recent murders that rocked the territory,” the top cop added.
February 19th marked the fourth death recorded in the territory. The case is being treated as a homicide as the victim was discovered floating in the sea with both his hands and feet bound. Preceding that was a murder-suicide ordeal followed by the assassination of another prominent businessman.
The current record outweighs the territory’s toll for 2020 which amounted to three murders.
Officials and members of the community alike are publicly calling for an end to the violence.