British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert is calling for legislation that will enable the authorities to investigate individuals who possess “unexplained wealth” locally.
Speaking during a recent media briefing, the governor said the legislation is needed as several residents have raised concerns about the high number of drug, gun and cash seizures, which have recently taken place in the territory.
“These make it very clear that the territory is vulnerable to drug trafficking, serious organised crime and all that comes with it. Criminal investigations are underway, so I will not comment on specific investigations, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is a problem here.”
“Drugs and smugglers are able to enter the territory’s closed borders and our people are getting killed. The risks for the territory are significant and we must not let this crime continue to infiltrate our society, our businesses and our way of life and we must not let the profits of crime risk corrupting our institutions,” said Jaspert who added that he hopes the Cabinet and the House of Assembly will support the legislation.
Meanwhile, in Premier Andrew Fahie in response to the governor’s statement said plans are being made to enact laws to boost accountability in the territory.
“Your government has expressed our commitment to strengthening these laws in the Speech from the Throne which was delivered by none other than Governor Jaspert on 5 November 2020.”
“Your government’s legislative agenda for the upcoming year includes bringing forward the Integrity in Public Life Bill, Witness Anonymity legislation, the amending the Criminal Conduct Act to make provisions for unexplained wealth which derives from corruption and criminal activity, and several pieces of legislation to strengthen our justice system,” Fahie said.