Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, is appealing to the community to help keep the Virgin Islands safe by turning in illegal weapons during an amnesty instituted by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) in July.
It is anticipated that persons will use the opportunity, in light of increased prison terms, to turn over any prohibited weapons in their possession to the RVIPF, during the month long Firearm and Offensive Weapons Amnesty
Premier Smith said, “This act of compliance is especially important in promoting safety for our people and our visitors, particularly as we prepare for our Emancipation Festival season in a few weeks.”
The Premier noted that gun violence affects the BVI society at its core and destroys families, along with lifelong friendships, in addition to hindering the Territory’s journey on the road of progress. He also added that Government has delivered on its promise made in December 2014 to amend the Firearms and Air Guns Ordinance in the first quarter of 2015 to introduce mandatory penalties and gun control.
“We are resolved to keeping the BVI as safe and as crime free as possible, with zero tolerance for gun crimes. We understand that managing criminal activity is important to building and shaping our Territory into a modern society. Criminal activity threatens our existence; it affects our reputation as a safe tourism destination, it affects our reputation as a stable financial services jurisdiction, and it affects our ability to safeguard our families and continuing building our society,” Premier Smith stated.
The Premier expressed his support for the Firearm and Offensive Weapons Amnesty campaign spearheaded by the RVIPF, during the continuation for the Second Sitting of the First Session for the Third House of Assembly on July 14.
The community is urged to cooperate and help to rid the Territory of all illegal weapons. Persons are urged to surrender their unlicensed or prohibited firearms to any police station, at any time during this period, with no questions asked. The amnesty for firearms and prohibited weapons will run until July 30. For more information, telephone the RVIPF’s three digit access number, 311.