British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Commissioner opts out of saying if he’s bought property in BVI

Commissioner opts out of saying if he’s bought property in BVI

Outgoing Police Commissioner Michael Matthews has opted to decline saying whether he has purchased real estate here in the British Virgin Islands.
He chose to keep that bit of information private while addressing concerns surrounding his recent statements about the link between unexplained wealth and criminal activity in the BVI.

During Matthews’ last appearance on the Honestly Speaking radio programme recently, host Claude Skelton Cline explained to him that locals were offended by how a foreigner (Matthews) supposedly “came into the country, purchased a home in the best neighbourhood” yet ‘criticises’ locals and their houses.

In response, Matthews said: “I’m not going to confirm or deny whether I’ve purchased a home here. What I’ll simply say is this … To be able to purchase a home as an outsider, as a foreigner in the BVI, the government of the day — the Cabinet of that government — would have to agree that.”

“I’ve been a police officer for 39 years. So 34 years when I arrived in the BVI, I retired from UK policing at 30 years then I did four years in Cyprus. You don’t think I’ve got a home and some assets by then? Do you think then that if I were to buy a home here that I might be selling a home somewhere else?” Matthews reasoned while further responding to the concerns.

The outgoing commissioner has since apologised and clarified that his statements about unexplained wealth did not apply to honest, hardworking Virgin Islanders.

He further said he and his wife will be heading back to the UK but not straightaway. Matthews, however, stated that he has no intention of “desert[ing] the BVI”.

Matthews, who has served as the BVI’s Commissioner of Police for the last five years, has already commenced the handover process.

His successor Mark Collins will be sworn in on April 19.
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