The government of the Virgin Islands has signed a contract valuing more than $400,000 with a local telecoms company to have the closed-circuit television surveillance infrastructure restored in the territory.

This is according to a media release from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force dated Friday September 10.

The release said that Premier Andrew Fahie signed the contract on Thursday with Cable and Wireless BVI Ltd. to rebuild the backbone surveillance infrastructure destroyed during the hurricanes of 2017.

The contract’s total value is $411,000 and will include the installation of a fiber network throughout the territory of which work is set to commence soon.

Speaking during the ceremony, Premier Fahie noted that while the project is very important to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force’s crime detection efforts, it will also assist with detecting and deterring indiscriminate dumping of waste in and around the territory.

He said, “This project in terms of improving the infrastructure CCTV cameras is very important. Some would look at it from just with helping with crime when they get up. But for me it’s a little extended beyond crime. We have seen some other benefits in the past of having the cameras up and having them more in diverse areas and having more of them is going to be a plus for us in many aspects, especially when we can have them to help to deter unwanted dumping of waste.”

“I have seen that this continues to be a growing trend and even in the constituency in the first district, where I’m the representative, I’ve seen that we have clean up areas where there’s huge garbage bins there for persons to dispose of but yet they put a stove, fridge and continue to do it no matter how many times we clean up,” he added.

Will help to benefit neighbourhood watch groups

Premier Fahie said the CCTV initiative will also be a tremendous benefit for neighbourhood watch groups which will help to keep crime at a minimum in the territory.

“It’s very important also, because you see a lot of neighborhood watch programs, but these cameras will help to enhance a person’s ability to help create an extra layer of protection on watch for the community. Thereby reducing crime and reducing any other unwarranted behavior. So this initiative is going to help along those lines. We also could see the leverage of these systems for any other public benefits that government may deem necessary for the public good because we know that we don’t want abuse of the systems at the same time. So we want to make sure that whatever is within the Public good within the laws that these cameras will help,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Mark Collins during a recent interview with 284 Media, said the cameras will be strategically placed in a number of criminal hotspots across the territory.

He said that 5 auxiliary members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force have already been trained to operate and manage these CCTV cameras once they are installed and fully operational.