TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands , Mar. 19, CMC – Premier Dr Orlando Smith has vowed to leave no stone unturned as security officials in this British Overseas territory deal with an upsurge in crime.
In a recent press release, Smith said that if necessary, overseas help sought be sought and highly trained cops should be pulled from retirement.
“No stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice of all crimes, and particularly the heinous crimes that have been committed in this territory. If this calls for bringing in assistance from abroad, let’s do so immediately.”
The Premier’s resolve follows a directive issued by Governor John Duncan late Friday in which he used his constitutional power to force the Government to add US$800,000 to the police budget for this financial year.
The government, in its budget had allocated US$161 million to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Duncan, told journalists that he was reluctant to resort to his constitutional power, but said the police force is currently under funded at a time when crime is a big concern.
The Governor’s announcement has been endorsed by the Premier.
“Yes, we must provide the police with financial resources. In addition, the Commissioner (of Police) and the Force must continue to be innovative and creative in carrying out their duties….” He said.
However, a member of the main opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP),Julian Fraser – said the order issued by Duncan has set the territory back in its constitutional advancement.
“I didn’t think the day would come when I would see a governor exercise a monarchical take-over of our Treasury. This is what I call a soft takeover of the democratically elected Smith government. The governor was wrong and he has to be stopped,” Fraser said in a post on his Facebook page.
According to Fraser, who the governor recently removed as opposition leader – the Governor should stay out of “our local politics”
“He has the Protocols for Effective Financial Management to hold the government accountable with. That is an administrative arrangement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of the Virgin Islands to keep the government frugal in its financial affairs,” Fraser noted.
Since the start of the year three persons have been murdered across the territory – with two being murdered in less tan 24 hours.
According to police statistics, last year, four people were murdered and 18 gun robberies were reported.