After a recent spate of murders in the BVI, Commissioner Matthews reiterated the need for new legislation to nab persons with unexplained wealth as many of them are linked to the illicit drug trade which often leads to violent crimes in the community.
This statement generated much discussion in the community and some saw it as racist and an attack on Virgin Islanders who have worked hard to acquire real estate and other valuable assets over the years.
“I am not talking about the honest, hardworking BVIslanders who’ve built their homes from scratch and are enjoying the benefits of their hard work now. But that’s how it came out through somebody else’s eyes and ears and I have to accept that. Because if that’s what some black people thought this white guy was saying, I can only apologize. That’s not what was intended,” Commissioner Matthews said on a recent edition of the Honestly Speaking radio show.
Although he apologised, the Commissioner said he stands by his statement that there are unscrupulous persons amassing wealth and contributing to crime and violence in the community.
What I am talking about and it is a fact, and it’s not a pleasant fact that everyone wants to admit to because it includes some BVIslanders. But not just BVIslanders, it is across the place. There are some people living here in the BVI today who do have a significant amount of assets, and it is difficult to look at those people with the same lens and say, ‘oh yes you could see that their family built that empire up and their great-grandfather and their grandfather built that up’. It isn’t like that in certain cases,” the Commissioner explained.