MESSAGE BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
AT JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR
FEBRUARY 27, 2018
Thank you Governor.
The first responsibility of any Government is to protect its citizens, and provide a safe place for its children, families and residents to live, work and visit.
The British Virgin Islands has always been considered a safe place, and we have been able to develop our economy which is based on tourism and financial services– because our visitors believe that once they come to the BVI, they will be safe.
However, since hurricane Irma, there has been a dramatic and unprecedented change on something that was unlike what has happened previously in the BVI with regards to the looting that occurred shortly after the hurricane. Subsequent to that, there has been an increased level of activity which is not represented in the gain of what the BVI is all about.
Because of this, our National Security is even more important, as a major breakdown in our law and order could very well have a significant impact on our tourism sector, business investments and ultimately the economy of the Territory.
To this end, my Government is pleased to support the need for improved security and has given and made available up to $5M to aid in strengthening law enforcement agencies responsible for security in the Virgin Islands.
The key agencies that will benefit will include Immigration and Customs Departments, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), Ministry of Education and Culture (Her Majesty’s Prison) and BVI Ports Authority.
This support is very important as it ensures the integrity of the Territory’s borders; improves internal capacity of law enforcement agencies by reducing key criminal activities and criminal concerns; and develops and co-ordinates a cross-sector Crime Reduction Plan among all law enforcement agencies.
To this end, our law enforcement agencies have made a commitment to work together to solve immediate and long term law enforcement matters and in that regard, the money of up to $5M will be used to support equipment, such as firearms, boats, and CCTV cameras, which will assist both the RVIPF and the Customs and Immigration Departments with their work.
Before I conclude, I wish to take this time to thank our key security sectors, for the roles they have played following hurricanes Irma and Maria and the roles they continue to play to keep us safe during these times.
They put their lives on the line every day to ensure our safety. It is only right, that we take the necessary steps to make their work more effective.
That is why it is my government’s focus to support our law-enforcement agencies and intelligence services by doing everything possible to help them to keep our residents and visitors alike safe.
We will continue to support them in their efforts to become more efficient in crime prevention and detection. We will continue to ensure that they are always given the requisite resources to fight crime of any kind.
Finally, I would like to say that we all have a part to play, everyone in this Territory: the Governor, my Government, business and the entire community.
We all must take responsibility for our own security and prosperity, and recognise we are stronger when we are sharing the burden of collective leadership with trusted partners and friends.