British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 29, 2022

No two-tiered justice! If police can stop me, they can search visitors

No two-tiered justice! If police can stop me, they can search visitors

Premier and leader of government’s business, Andrew Fahie, has contended that there will be no two-tiered system of justice under his watch.
The Premier’s remarks came in response to complaints by yacht operators that their vessels were being searched by law enforcement officials, even as there were guests aboard.

The Premier explained that even he has not been exempt from searches conducted by law enforcement authorities.

According to the Premier, he was heading home one evening last year while police were conducting a stop and search, and officers failed to recognise his vehicle, so he too was stopped.

“If they stopped me, what is a yacht in the harbour to stop?” Premier Fahie said.

”We have to be able to come to grips that we have a wide-open water around us with 60 islands and islets and while we want persons to come into the BVI and feel welcome, we also have to police the waters to make sure that they are safe,” he added.

Premier Fahie said while he understood the concerns of yacht operators, there has to be a balance because law enforcement agencies have a very difficult job to do.

“If [law enforcement officials] feel suspicious activity is happening on the sea, and they search a yacht, really and truly you will have to find out what were the conditions under it,” the Premier said.

“Yes they are visitors, but they are not exempted from the law. If [officers] are doing random spot checks, that has to be respected because they do random spot checks for the locals when they are at sea,” he added.

The Premier argued that it is not impossible for visitors to engage in criminal activities and that no one knows where drugs and firearms are likely to be discovered.

“You just cannot create a two-tiered system when it comes to the law. So, I’ve heard [those complaints] from a few persons with that part but what I’m asking them, what do you want us to do?“ Premier Fahie question.
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