TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Monday March 20, 2017 – Amid a rapid escalation in crime, British Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier Dr D Orlando Smith says that overseas help should be sought and highly trained police officers returned to active service from retirement if such actions are needed to help arrest the situation.
Since the start of this year, three persons have been murdered in separate incidents. Two of them were found murdered within 24 hours of each other just over a week ago.
This compares to a total of four murders and 18 gun robberies for the whole of 2016 in the British Virgin Islands, according to information provided by Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews.
Faced with the sudden upsurge, Premier Smith was adamant that the situation must be brought under control.
“No stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice of all crimes, and particularly the heinous crimes that have been committed in this territory. If this calls for bringing in assistance from abroad, let’s do so immediately,” he said in a press release.
“We must provide the police with financial resources. In addition, the Commissioner [of Police] and the Force must continue to be innovative and creative in carrying out their duties. Several suggestions have been made in this regard, including bringing back recently retired and highly trained officers to help with policing in these challenging times. I trust that such measures will be heeded,” the premier added.
He made the recommendations after Governor John Duncan told journalists that he was using his constitutional power to force government to add $800,000 to the police budget for this financial year.
In the budget for this year, the government had allocated $16.1 million dollars to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, BVI News reported.
Governor Duncan noted that he was reluctant to resort to the use of such constitutional power, but he noted that the police force is under-funded at a time when crime is a big concern.