Less than 24 hours after a daring March 20, 2020 daylight robbery- where an undisclosed sum of cash was carted of by bandits at the Virgin Gorda branch of Banco Popular- the bank announced its decision to close the location "until further notice."
While Banco Popular did not say the closure was as a direct result of the robbery, the announcement came soon after with the bank posting new operating hours; which they say is as a result of preventative and response measures to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Closed for COVID-19?
"We are taking additional preventive measures to ensure the well-being of our customers and employees and to continue providing essential financial services while ensuring the safety of our customers, employees and community in the Virgin Islands," the bank said.
For the branch on Tortola, the operating hours will be Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 1:00pm and 1:00pm - 3:00 pm, for the Drive-Thru and Walk-up Teller Service.
The Virgin Gorda branch will remain closed indefinitely and the Tortola branch will offer only Drive-Thru and Walk-up Teller Service from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
VG back to no banking on Island
With the announcement to close the VG location, it means the sister island is now returning to a state of having no local banking services yet again.
Banking services were finally returned to VG on November 6, 2019–after several months without.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had remarked at the opening that the people deserved better and his government worked hard to deliver on the promise of returning banking to the island.
At the launch, Premier Fahie said, “Over the past months, you the people of Virgin Gorda shared some of the inconveniences being experienced such as having to pay close to $100 in transportation fees via boat from Virgin Gorda to Tortola and on land upon arriving to Tortola as well as other unavoidable expenses that were occurred such as food among other expenses just to change a $150 cheque.”
Arrests already made
With regards to the robbery, “Arrests have been made and these persons are assisting with the investigation,” the RVIPF said in a press release on Friday, March 21, 2020.
The RVIPF is asking that anyone with pertinent information about this incident, to make contact with the force at its three-digit access number 311 or the Intelligence Unit at 368-9339