On the heels of the largest cocaine bust in the history of the territory, Governor Augustus Jaspert has called on legislators to impose more anti-corruption measures such as an Unexplained Wealth Order.
The cocaine in question, which has an estimated $250 million street value, implicates a serving member of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), namely Darren Davis and his kin, Liston Davis. They were jointly charged this week with the drug and as well as firearm-related offences.
Governor Jaspert said this should serve as a wakeup call to the territory.
“Now is the time to send a clear message that there is no place for crime or corruption in BVI. To do so, we need robust legislative reforms to make our institutions more transparent and properly protect against individuals abusing their positions,” he said during a press conference held on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
He continued added, “We urgently need the proposed legislation - an Integrity Commission, modernised Police Act, an Unexplained Wealth Order and other anti-corruption measures. I am pleased that these were included in my recent Speech from the Throne and hope that the Premier and Members of the Government, in light of this weekend’s developments, can move swiftly on this agenda and progress important governance legislation, which is now long overdue.”
Governor Jaspert, who is on his final leg as the Governor of the territory, pledged to play his part in making the country safe.
“My greatest concern amongst all of this is the safety and security of the people of these islands. I will not allow BVI to become a place where serious organised crime plagues our communities or where crime and corruption plague our institutions. BVI remains a safe place to be and a caring and kind community. For that, we are the envy of many. But we should not take this for granted or allow ourselves to become complacent.”
Further, the Governor stated, “As Governor, I can offer my full assurances to the people of BVI that I will do all in my power to ensure that BVI remains a safe place and that we operate at the highest standards of integrity and governance.”
He described the incident as ‘disappointing news’ and a ‘concerning picture of the state of security in the BVI.’
“The fact that corruption has occurred is a sobering sign that our institutions can be manipulated. If we fail to tackle corruption now, there is a danger that it could spread throughout our institutions, businesses and society. This must be a wakeup call.”
He also mentioned that he is currently mulling other forms of training and support from the United Kingdom Government that will assist in the territory’s ability to conduct more effective border patrols and long-term capability building.
Jaspert said he was at the time unable to divulge any further details as it was still being discussed with the National Security Council, “but I will update as soon as appropriate.”
“I believe that we have not done enough over the years to ensure that no kind of corruption can take place within our institutions in the Territory,” he further stated.