Commissioner of Police Michael Mathews said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is currently probing information relating to the double homicides that occurred last month, thanks to the help of the public.
He said during an interview with JTV on Thursday, October 8, 2020, that since the Coronavirus Disease pandemic, persons are assisting the RVIPF more than they did before.
“The good news is people are saying something, and I am not going to sit here on any media show or give any newspaper or online media names or information, that is fed to us, it is done in confidence. But, I think the important thing is in 2016 when I came here some of the messages that we were getting was they don’t trust the police, it’s too high risk, it’s too dangerous to tell the police what is going on here.”
He continued: “Well maybe COVID-19 has been a wakeup call, I don’t know, but certainly I have seen this year, I have seen a turn of the corner. We are getting information coming in, we have had information about these latest killings which we are following up on and the detectives are working flat out with these cases.”
More about the double homicide
Matthews said the two homicides which occurred on Tortola days apart does not appear to be linked.
“The first one that occurred on September 2 Mr. George Burrows was shot in his own home. An intruder came into his home, and during a struggle, he was shot, and the intruder made off. A few days later, on September 10, we got Mr. Matthew Daley gunned down in the street. It was an isolated location, but nonetheless, it was in public in broad daylight about 1.30 in the afternoon.”
He added: “That was extremely worrying for the force and worrying for me personally. I can’t say the two shootings as far as we can ascertain were not connected in any shape or form and I do find it quite odd that you get two short successions like that.”
The Commissioner of Police said because of the latest aforementioned murders; persons are once again scared.
“They have put fear back into the community, and because it is difficult to move around with all the restrictions, those killers are still here. They may be your neighbours, they may be your friends, they may be your children’s friends, and this is completely unacceptable in the 21st century for this territory to accept this kind of behaviour, killings in our streets, killings in our homes, it has to be stopped, and the only way it is going to be stopped is by a) cooperation with the police in terms of the investigations and b) help us to identify the guns that are out there and bring them guns in,” he pointed out.
The top cop said persons coming forward may be linked to them being home more than they were before.
He explained: “When people are in lockdown, you notice people who are moving about more. I have a WhatsApp group on my phone, and it is just for alerts, and you would be amazed the amount of time it goes off every evening where members of the public are saying ‘I am just seeing a boat moving between A and B and this is the description’ and sometimes they send photographs on the confidential line," he said.
The commissioner of police added, "and sometimes it is innocent, sometimes it’s a fisherman, someone who is legally allowed to be out there, a ferry movement, or a movement that the Ministry of Health has authorized and every now and again it’s not, and we have been catching people.”