The government’s border restrictions that have been in place for a year now has caused an irregular build-up of illicit drugs in the territory.
Police Commissioner Michael Matthews put forward that hypothesis during a joint press conference to discuss the state of crime in the BVI with Premier Andrew Fahie
and Governor John Rankin
Matthews said this positioned the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) to make major drug busts such as the 2,300 kilos of cocaine seized back in November 2020.
“I believe that it is possible that the effective COVID
travel restrictions that our government have placed on the territory in order to protect us all has created a stockpile and that’s the reason for such large quantities being found here,” the commissioner stated.
“Whilst we’ve recorded seizures over the years since I’ve been commissioner and before, I believe unique to this situation is the quantity and the short period of time during which these seizures are being made,” he added.
The top cop said the RVIPF has been tracking the drug trade and noted that illicit substances such as cocaine come from South America.
Columbia, for example, is reportedly producing more cocaine now than in its entire history.
“So we know that there is an increase in production in South America and we know that our geographic location makes us an attractive route through to the US and also to Europe,” the commissioner explained.
“We do a lot of work behind the scenes. But what we did realise over the last few months is, whilst we knew that the cocaine was still moving around, we weren’t seeing it moving around as much. We were seeing that it was just disappearing and stopping– not coming out the other end. So, that kind of guided us to say, ‘where is it stopping?’,” Matthews added.
“And the BVI — whilst we’ve had some headline seizures — won’t be the only location in the Caribbean or indeed the world where there may be stockpiles of illicit drugs at the moment,” he stated.