British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

Some who were laid off because of COVID now committing crimes

Some who were laid off because of COVID now committing crimes

Some of the crimes in the territory over the last year were committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens who’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic and are now desperate to support themselves.

Outgoing Police Commissioner Michael Matthews gave that indication while advocating for residents to get vaccinated.

He said the territory could see a reduction in crime if the local economy gets a kickstart out of the adverse effects of the pandemic, if more persons get inoculated.

“Actually, some of the routes of crime is around people who are struggling and who have lost their jobs. They’ve got no incomes and so forth. And we’re seeing people, perhaps who’ve never been in trouble with the law before, suddenly getting into trouble now,” the top cop said during an appearance of the Honestly Speaking radio talk show on Tuesday, April 6.

“We’ve got to kickstart the economy again. That’s going to help reduce crime in the territory. How do we kickstart the economy? We’ve got to get vaccinated,” Matthews added.

COVID restrictions

About a year ago, the BVI began implementing curfews and it further closed its borders to help prevent/manage the spread of COVID-19 locally. This lead to a virtual shutdown of one of the territory’s main revenue earners — tourism.

The BVI reopened its main airport to international traffic months later under strict restrictions that placed a further strain on tourism locally.

However, these measures are also credited for the BVI having one of the lowest COVID transmission rates in the region and the wider world.

The territory is now scheduled to reopen one of its seaports to international traffic on April 15 and the government has promised to further relax some of its internal restrictions as more of the population vaccinates.


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