British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2021

Gov's comments on ‘systematic corruption’ in VI was offensive

Former talk show host, Julio S. Henry aka ‘Sam’ says he was offended by comments coming out of a press conference hosted by Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert and Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews that in the Virgin Islands (VI) there are pockets of corruption facilitating crime.

The Governor made the statements during a Tuesday, November 10, 2020, joint press conference with the Commissioner, following VI's historic $250M 2,353 kilos cocaine bust on Friday, November 6, 2020, and according to Henry, the comments has possible implications on VI's investment future.

ToP CoP & Governor gloated over drug bust – Julio Henry

Accusing both the Commissioner and Governor of gloating over the drug bust, Henry on the November 17, 2020, edition of JTV’s The Big Story said the Governor remains in charge of the RVIPF and Security, therefore, he cannot call it corrupt and disassociate himself from those comments.

“The Governor is responsible. So is he saying that the system that he's in charge of and the Police [is] in charge of, has systematic corruption? That makes him corrupt,” Henry told The Big Story host Ms Cathy O. Richards.

“The makes the institution that he represents corrupt, because the Governor is in charge of security, the Governor is in charge of our policing, he is in charge of border security… at the end of the day, he's ultimately responsible, he and the Police Chief,” he said.

“So... you call a press conference to try to distance yourself from a statement that you made? How is that possible?” Henry questioned.

Premier calls out comments as irresponsible

Premier Andrew A. Fahie in his 2021 Budget Speech of November 12, 2020, has since called the Governor’s statement irresponsible asking for a retraction, which to date, has not happened.

“This latest bust does not show that our system is corrupt, but rather it shows that our system and our officers stand up for what is right,” the Premier said.

He said the statement was a well-calculated attempt to stain the good name of the many hardworking law-abiding citizens, the local law enforcement agencies and the VI economy, “The irresponsible statement made will not deter your Government from investing in the advancement of our people in all aspects of local law enforcement.”

Comments deter future Investments – Henry

Meanwhile, Mr Henry hypothesized that as an outsider looking into the VI and reading about systematic corruption in the UK press has the potential to deter future investors.

“When you sit in front that camera and you sitting there telling the world about this systematic corruption in the BVI, you're telling the international investment community… people who do business in the financial realms, people who come in here to invest in hotels, people who come in here to invest in our tourism product, that we have a corrupt system. That's what I get as an outsider looking in,” Mr Henry said.


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