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Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has strongly condemned recent acts of violence in the Territory, urging persons to turn away from criminality and imploring citizens to discourage loved ones from engaging in wrongdoing.
Premier Wheatley made the appeal in a statement during the 7th Sitting of the 4th House of Assembly (HOA) at the Save the Seed Centre in Duff’s Bottom on October 25 in which he also re-emphasised the Government of National Unity’s commitment to its responsibilities in supporting law enforcement in the fight against crime.
Describing a recent incident involving gun violence at Fat Hog’s Bay as “senseless, reckless and outright despicable,” the Premier condemned violence in all its forms, “especially where it is done with reckless disregard for the sanctity of life and safety of persons.”
Premier Wheatley said that the Government is committed to their Constitutional role in ensuring the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has the necessary resources to deter, detect and prosecute crimes, “as the present and past administrations have been doing.”
He added that the Police Act would soon be brought before the House of Assembly to strengthen the legal framework for the RVIPF to perform its functions.
The Premier said the Government will continue developing and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives to help citizens lead upstanding and productive lives as law-abiding citizens.
He noted, however, that it is up to the individual’s choice of doing right over doing wrong.
“I want to take this opportunity, Madam Speaker, to urge our people, especially our young men and women, to reject a life of crime and violence. Such a life has not a future. Such a life will only be filled with regret. Such a life will only bring pain and grief to you and the people who care about you when you end up in jail or, worse, dead. There are better, more productive and positive things to do with your time, your energy and your intellect,” Honourable Wheatley said.
He urged citizens that if they see or know something about criminal activity they must act positively in the interests of their loved ones and the community.
“There are anonymous channels for you to pass information to the authorities. Passing on information can save a loved one’s life – whether from them becoming a victim of crime, or by them being an intended perpetrator. If you know a family member, a friend, or a boyfriend or girlfriend is engaging in wrongdoing, plead with them to stop, the Premier said.
He added, “Let them know you disapprove of their wrongdoing. Let them know you will not accept anything they bring you that was not legitimately obtained or which was not bought with clean money. Because when they court danger, they put you in danger; they put your family in danger; they put your children in danger; and they put all of us in danger. Tell them to stop it. Encourage them to get help and counselling.”
The Premier said the Virgin Islands has always been regarded as a safe place where people live in harmony, but for the unfortunate behaviour by a small minority.
“It is damaging and hurting the peace of our community, tarnishing our reputation and jeopardising the vision that our ancestors held for us when they embarked on the journey to achieving self-determination over 70 years ago,” he stated.
Premier Wheatley said the situation is not beyond hope and, by working together, the Virgin Islands community can conquer the challenges of crime.
The Premier’s full statement to the House of Assembly can be accessed via the following link: https://youtu.be/WVvSS7Cq8DQ?t=1686 and via bvi.gov.vg at https://bvi.gov.vg/media-centre/premier-wheatley-hoa-statement-government-remains-committed-combatting-crime