Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023

They suggested I was using power as Speaker to get special privilege

They suggested I was using power as Speaker to get special privilege

Embattled former Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock has suggested that criminal allegations levelled against him recently were because of suspicions he may have abused his former parliamentary post.
Willock gave that indication while appearing on the Zulu 360 show on Tola Radio last evening, January 18.

Willock recently confirmed that he was questioned by United Kingdom (UK) investigators on suspicion of human trafficking last week, but noted that he was released without any official charges being laid against him.

Warrants used to seize my devices and documents

According to Willock, six UK officers showed up at his house in Sea Cows Bay with a search warrant and detained him as they searched his premises.

“They took my computers, they took my cellphones, they took my travel documents… they took a whole set of documents [that] me and my lawyer concluded [were] unrelated to the allegation,” Willock claimed.

However, the former House Speaker maintains that his electronic devices – all of which were seized during the search – have still not been returned to him more than a week later.

“I was released without charges, so I suppose their so-called investigation continues,” Willock stated.

One or two persons unaccounted for

In the meantime, Willock said he was also questioned by the investigators about visa waivers he had obtained through the Deputy Governor’s Office for persons over the years.

“They’re claiming that over the years, I have brought in people via visa waivers and that one or two of the persons cannot be accounted for,” Willock explained.

The former Speaker said he was in the process of compiling a list of all the persons for which he obtained visa waivers, and noted that he had been receiving these waivers for nearly a decade.

“It was way back since 2014 that we were receiving visa waivers under the policy — whether it is was for friends of mine in transit in the BVI, whether it was for people coming in for short-term associated with my company, whether it was friends of mine coming in to spend some time, whatever it was — we have been receiving visa waivers from 2014 up until 2022,” Willock explained.

He further expressed that there is a clearly outlined policy on how persons can obtain visa waivers for entering the territory and insisted that it was not a “willy-nilly” process in place for doing so.

“It had nothing to do with me being Speaker. [There was] no abuse of power because I was getting visa waivers even before I was the Speaker,” Willock insisted. He proceeded to argue: “So to even suggest that I was using my power as Speaker to get some special privilege …”

He did not complete that thought.

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