British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

Gov't looking into building detention centre for illegal immigrants - Hon Wheatley

Gov't looking into building detention centre for illegal immigrants - Hon Wheatley

Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) said the Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) will be exploring the possibilities of building a detention centre for illegal immigrants who enter the territory, given the issue of migration continues to be a serious problem.

The Minister's comments came during a press conference today, Friday, November 26, 2021, alongside Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) after it was revealed that 2 illegal Haitian immigrants who attempted to escape detention at the Hotel Castle Marina, are now hospitalized.

Pointing to a recent case of drowning off the coast of Europe, Hon Wheatley said, "just like between Europe and the UK the borders [BVI] are very porous. It is incredibly difficult to patrol our waters here between BVI from any outside country."

As such, Hon Wheatley said the territory will still try its best to minimize persons from entering illegally.

The Minister's comments came during a press conference today, Friday, November 26, 2021, alongside Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) after it was revealed that 2 illegal Haitian immigrants who attempted to Escape detention at the Hotel Castle Marina, are now hospitalized.


Gov't spending $$$ to send immigrants home - Hon Wheatley


"For this year so far, we've spent around half a million just repatriating these persons," he said while revealing that of the two who attempted to escape, some 15 additional persons were nabbed.

"One of the things we hope to do out of the budget is to build a detention center because once you have immigrants and there's no place to put them, we are forced to use hotels and private security," he said.

Hon Wheatley further added that it is incredibly expensive to house illegal immigrants, given the two escapees also sustained injuries and had to be hospitalized with broken limbs.

He said while a detention centre would be a part of the solution, the challenge of illegal immigrants continues to be an issue plaguing the world.

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