Premier of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie
During the Seventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly
20th April, 2021
Standing United in the Face of Crime
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me the opportunity to address this Honourable House.
To all Honourable Members I say good day and God's Blessings. And to the wider national community who are following these proceedings virtually, I greet you in BVILOVE.
Mr Speaker, yesterday evening, the people of this Virgin Islands community, were greeted with the tragic news that one of our sisters was snatched from us by the selfish, foolish and senseless actions of someone who lives among us.
I am referring here, Mr. Speaker, to the victim of an armed robbery incident, which occurred last Sunday night, 18th April, 2021, in the Paraquita Bay area. The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has not officially released the name, but, since we started I noticed that the name has been release, which is Mrs. Pickering, so I wouldn’t go any further in that because I respect their protocol.
What we do know is that the victim’s daughter was exiting her vehicle when the daughter was accosted by an armed bandit who demanded her valuables. The victim, meanwhile, was emerging from her home when the bandit turned and fired his gun, hitting the victim. The victim succumbed to her injuries yesterday afternoon, as I am advised.
Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for this Government and this entire Honourable House when I say on behalf of the Government and people of the Virgin Islands, and on my own behalf and that of my family, and all of us from Districts 1 to 9, I offer condolences to the bereaved family and loved ones. We are a small, close-knit community in the Virgin Islands, and when things like this happen, we all feel it. So, we are all in pain and we are all in grief.
This incident is the latest in a trend that has been slowly developing once again in our community.
But, Mr. Speaker - and I want the wider community to hear me, there is no excuse for engaging in criminal behavior. There is no justification for taking up arms to prey on fellow members of the community. There is no justification for hurting any other human being or, worse yet, taking their life.
If you need food for your family, there are a number of non-governmental organisations and churches that help the needy. All you have to do is ask. Ours is a society of BVILOVE, and members of our society frequently donate food stuff and other necessities to these organisations. In the BVI, we help one another when persons are in need.
Mr. Speaker, a society is a construct in which people live and work together in an agreed structure, with agreed rules and based on respect for one another. In the BVI, we have prided ourselves in having a society of peace and goodwill towards our fellow men and women.
Persons who willfully and maliciously breach the rules, values and principles of our society; persons who willfully and maliciously endanger the welfare and safety of the wider community; and persons who would live among us and prey on us like wolves in sheep clothing; breach this covenant.
They are not deserving of our trust and our protection, and they are a danger to us all and a danger to all that we hold dear.
Mr. Speaker, your Government condemns in the strongest way possible the lazy, cowardly and despicable actions of the handful of persons among us who refuse to live in BVILOVE and who do not care about the hurt they cause to people or the injury they cause to our Territory’s good name, as they betray every good thing that we the Virgin Islands people stand for in their selfish pursuit of materialism.
We condemn it.
And I urge all our people in all our communities, regardless of political persuasion, regardless of where you are from – once you call the BVI home, let us unite in BVILOVE to fight this evil that is creeping into our society.
We need, as parents, teachers, churches, civic organisations, as leaders to reinforce it in all our people’s minds especially our young people’s minds that this is not the way, this is not the BVI.
We need to stand up and protect our society and our peaceful way of life. Proverbs 13:24 states, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”
If you see something, if you know something – say something.
Let each one, teach one and reach one. So we can secure the protection and safety of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Today, because of a senseless act, a family is now without a mother, a family is now without a grandmother, a family is now without a wife, a community has lost a good friend.
Mr. Speaker I urge the people of this Territory, if you have any information on this criminal activity or any criminal activity call the police hotline and give your information confidentially.
We cannot allow these few persons have the whole BVI paint with the same brush.
Enough is enough by speaking up you can be saving a life.
As a people, we must send a message that we reject criminal behavior, and that criminal behavior has no welcomed place in the Virgin Islands.
This act leaves a hollow in most of us, if not all.
This is not the Virgin Islands we inherited from our forefathers and it is not the Virgin Islands we are seeking to build.
Mr. Speaker I urge everyone to pray, but also teach our children values of our forefathers, pray to the God of our forefathers. And, very soon Mr. Speaker, not only for crime but for our economy on a whole Territory although it will receive criticism in some area this Government will be calling a ‘Fast and prayer’ for the entire Territory, because we recognize that the enemy is trying to take over our Territory Mr. Speaker. But this Territory Mr. Speaker has been one that has been given to forefathers and now this Generation and for future Generations by God Abba our Father.
And Mr. Speaker may I add that evil only wins when good goes to sleep, and good has no intention to good to sleep anytime soon.
Let us all step forward and let us move forward together in one rhythm to put an end to these senseless crimes.
Mr. Speaker, I again on behalf of our Government, this House of Assembly and us all we express our deepest condolences to the Pickering family and all others who have lost love ones to these senseless crimes and even to those who have experienced robbery and all those crimes because this is not the BVI way and it will not be allowed to stand.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.