Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Dec 09, 2022

CoI report & Fahie's arrest was the ‘perfect storm’ for UK– Hon Fraser

CoI report & Fahie's arrest was the ‘perfect storm’ for UK– Hon Fraser

As controversy continues over whether it was planned or coincidental that the arrest of ex-Premier Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) came a day before the release of the scathing Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report, Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) said the two could not have come at a better time for the United Kingdom (UK).

In a podcast produced by Tortoise Media, a UK media house entitled 'Paradise Bust: Scandal in the British Virgin Islands', and released on September 26, 2022, the Governor has since admitted that he authorises US DEA sting operations in the Virgin Islands (VI), yet for some reason he had no knowledge investigations were underway in the VI.

In a podcast produced by Tortoise Media, a UK media house entitled 'Paradise Bust: Scandal in the British Virgin Islands', and released on September 26, 2022, Governor John J. Rankin has since admitted that he authorized US DEA sting operations in the VI, yet for some reason had no knowledge that investigations involving the Ex-Premier were underway in the VI.


Fighting chance was reduced to nothing - Hon Fraser


“It is one of those situations where it's like the perfect storm, perfect for them [UK]. Immediately we move from a people being accused and suspected of, to a people being condemned of” Hon Fraser remarked on the podcast interview.

“Immediately, our fighting chances had moved from good to almost diminished to nothing,” he added in relation to the VI launching a defense against claims of systematic corruption in the territory.

Hon Fraser was also referencing the release of the CoI report on April 29, 2022, with its 45 sweeping recommendations that included suspension of the local constitution and the imposition of direct rule from London.

A day before, on April 28, 2022, Governor Rankin had revealed that Premier Fahie was arrested in Miami in a sting operation connected to money laundering and drugs.

“I mean there was absolutely nothing you can say in your defense, what can you say?” Hon Fraser further posited.

The Commission of Inquiry in the Virgin Islands was led by a lone Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom (right), who was handpicked by controversial former VI Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert, left. The CoI was criticised as a witch hunt and with an objective to harm the Virgin Islands' constitutional and democratic advancements.


UK Foreign secretary linked CoI to arrest


On the afternoon of Fahie’s arrest, then UK Foreign Secretary Liz M. Truss said the arrest of VI’s Premier showed the importance of the UK-sponsored Commission of Inquiry (CoI) in the territory.

Struss said she was appalled at the charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, which “demonstrates the importance of the CoI into governance on the Territory.”

Hours before, VI Governor John J, Rankin CMG had said the arrest was a US operation led by the DEA and was linked to the Commission of Inquiry report. Additionally, Mr Rankin said he was informed of the operation by the UK, only after Hon Fahie's arrest on US soil.

The Governor has since maintained those claims in his interview with Tortoise Media, even after ‘inadvertently’ admitting he authorises DEA sting operations in the VI.

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