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Controversial outgoing Governor uses press conference to gloat over cocaine find

- HM Customs officials absent from press engagement
In the wake of international press converge surrounding a historic $250M cocaine bust in the [British] Virgin Islands, the outgoing Governor, H.E. Augustus J.U. Jasper called a press conference, gloating over the major find. Photo: GIS/Facebook
The $250M stash is equivalent to 75% of the VI's National Budget Governor Augustus J.U Jaspert said. Photo: RVIPF
The $250M stash is equivalent to 75% of the VI's National Budget Governor Augustus J.U Jaspert said. Photo: RVIPF
The Commissioner Mr Micheal B. Matthews had confirmed that Mr Liston Davis, 40, a resident on Tortola and Mr Darren Davis, 41, also a resident on Tortola and a serving RVIPF officer are currently in police custody.
The Commissioner Mr Micheal B. Matthews had confirmed that Mr Liston Davis, 40, a resident on Tortola and Mr Darren Davis, 41, also a resident on Tortola and a serving RVIPF officer are currently in police custody.
While HM Customs Department played a role in the boat and cash find on November 8, 2020, quite interestingly, the local Comptroller of Customs, Mr Wade N. Smith was absent from the press conference hosted by just the Governor and the Commissioner of Police on November 10, 2020. Photo: VINO/File
While HM Customs Department played a role in the boat and cash find on November 8, 2020, quite interestingly, the local Comptroller of Customs, Mr Wade N. Smith was absent from the press conference hosted by just the Governor and the Commissioner of Police on November 10, 2020. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In the wake of intense international press coverage surrounding a historic $250M cocaine bust in the [British] Virgin Islands, the outgoing Governor, Mr Augustus J.U. Jaspert called a press conference, gloating over the major find.

Sitting alongside Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews, this afternoon Tuesday, November 10, 2020, Mr Jaspert engaged the media at Government House, regurgitating most of what was already in the public domain and said by the Commissioner.

Many have said the Governor has been trying to get back into the good grace of the Territory's citizens after he had angered many over his insensitive comments about the United Kingdom not being prepared to pay reparations for the evil acts of slavery and calling for the preservation of names of landmarks in the Virgin Islands in honour of slave owners, slave traders and pirates.

The cocaine find seemed to be the perfect opportunity for the Governor to get some positive spotlight.

Largest bust in VI History 

“The quantity of cocaine seized is the largest in the British Virgin Islands history, 2,353 kilos as you heard with an estimated street value of around $250,” Governor Jaspert said.

“To put it into context, the value of the seizure equates to around 75% of our entire national budget in the BVI. It is also one of the largest seizures in the history of any British Overseas Territory or even the United Kingdom,” the Governor noted.

The Commissioner had confirmed that the bust was the largest and that Mr Liston Davis, 40, a resident on Tortola and Mr Darren Davis, 41, also a resident of Tortola and a serving RVIPF officer are currently in police custody.

Media spotlight on VI

Since the find, international media has shone the spotlight on the territory known for its financial industry, sandy white beaches and pristine waters, which seemed to present another opportunity for Governor Jaspert to capitalise on the publicity.

“I share these figures as an illustration of just how large this seizure is, the police conducted exceptional and high-risk work to enable such a significant seizure. The size of this seizure indicates the risks that such scale can have in the debilitating and potentially deteriorating our territory and good governance and safe communities we expect and deserve,” he said.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the territory has imposed a nighttime curfew with a restriction on private boats, and the drug bust comes at a time of heightened border controls, making illegal water activity easier to spot.

Strong evidence of organised crime - Governor 

The Governor said in his view and that of law enforcement, the seizure is not the work of a few criminals, rather, it shows strong evidence of serious and organised crime in the VI.

“The investigation is at an early stage but regrettably as you heard the involvement of a police officer indicates that there may be pockets of corruption facilitating this kind of illicit activity. It is important that we act fast to eliminate and prevent this corruption from growing further,” he said.

Where was Comptroller of Customs?

Governor Jaspert also told the media that two persons are in custody after a boat capsized off the Tortola coast on Friday, November 6, 2020.

He said, on Sunday, November 8, 2020, a boat that was reportedly stolen by a known criminal capsized off the coast of the VI and that $99,000 in cash was found on the boat.

The two individuals that were rescued are now in police custody.

While HM Customs Department played a role in the find of the boat and large quantity of cash, quite interestingly, the local Comptroller of Customs, Mr Wade N. Smith was absent from the press conference hosted by just the Governor and the Commissioner of Police.

Efforts to reach Mr Smith to find out if he was even invited to the press conference were futile up to the time of publication.

37 Responses to “Controversial outgoing Governor uses press conference to gloat over cocaine find”

  • Heckler (10/11/2020, 19:56) Like (44) Dislike (3) Reply
    We need Mathews and Gus to catch some big fish before they go. Not just guppies and small fry.
  • if (10/11/2020, 20:15) Like (6) Dislike (9) Reply
    If 1,300 kilos is 35million, how is 2,300 kilos 250 million. They reporting this is one third of the territory's budget. They reporting it as the biggest bust. They saying 250 million but that not adding up. I know there is a hunger to tarnish the bvi but pls at least use a flipping calculator....struupes

    https://www.southcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/Article/2286223/coast-guard-offloads-385-million-in-cocaine-in-san-juan-puerto-rico/
    • No. (10/11/2020, 22:40) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Wholesale versus retail (street value). Street value is always higher and overall greater profit margins.
      • Oh No (11/11/2020, 07:13) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
        Oh, so they use street value which is higher to make it look worst. Seriously, who is shifting that amount on the streets. It looks more like a wholesale operation to me.
    • Values (10/11/2020, 23:19) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
      Puerto Rico used wholesale value..... BVI used street value.
      Perhaps you should read then "use a flipping calculator"!
    • Success Story (11/11/2020, 06:19) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
      Every Boss enjoys a success story, and rejoice over it and want the world to know of his success. The governor is the Police boss.... Let the man be,. Let him enjoy his success...He is been a good representative of the Police...
  • back off (10/11/2020, 20:23) Like (43) Dislike (5) Reply
    The Governor was not gloating. Customs were not involved. Give it a rest
  • mary j (10/11/2020, 20:57) Like (11) Dislike (59) Reply
    this governor should not been seen in the bvi ever again he is bad bad bad news and very insensitive
  • guns (10/11/2020, 21:04) Like (5) Dislike (34) Reply
    People my people don't fall for it many people believe this governor is a racist and has no respect for the elected government
  • Rubber Duck (10/11/2020, 21:08) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    Interesting that Mr Smith was not there. Will we be seeing further arrests even further up the law enforcement tree.?
  • asking for a friend (10/11/2020, 21:10) Like (5) Dislike (32) Reply
    You all bvi people soft you still have jespert in the bvi?
  • Blindman (10/11/2020, 21:26) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    From lookkng at the picture of the drug in the truck that was from a plane drop load.
  • trouble (10/11/2020, 21:54) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    There are many more people involved, I hope this is investigated.
  • que (10/11/2020, 22:26) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    check the spanish officer's....
    • oh yes (11/11/2020, 09:37) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yup, the one who is always with him at the "suspected" street corner in the middle of Road Town.
  • ki (10/11/2020, 22:55) Like (35) Dislike (2) Reply
    All the rats take refuge in their hole. Lock them up. Gus hit them harder.
  • 911 (10/11/2020, 23:11) Like (7) Dislike (32) Reply
    We really dont care about this gus man
  • Good going Gov. (10/11/2020, 23:33) Like (38) Dislike (3) Reply
    They just vex cos they get caught. All them secret not working millionaire. More should get caught. Keep up the good work commissioner and governor. You're not there for these idiots to like you.
    • Happy for the Gov (11/11/2020, 06:23) Like (14) Dislike (4) Reply
      Enjoy your success Mr. Gov. U took a lot of beaten defending the police and you stand your ground. Now the police have made you proud.... REJOICE..
  • Leave already (11/11/2020, 04:13) Like (5) Dislike (26) Reply

    Nothing can absolve you Gus. You’re a rac**t big** and need to leave ASAP. Don’t ever come back!

  • Borders (11/11/2020, 05:23) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    so stop patting yourselves on the back here......yes its a massive bust...yes credit where credit is due but our " increased border security" obviously has massive leeks if they can get 2 1/2 TONS of coke in through these borders.......this hasnt just fallen in through the cracks.....!!!
  • 4 years (11/11/2020, 06:48) Like (8) Dislike (11) Reply
    Why has it taken your whole tenure here to find this?? Seems very suspect to me the timing....right before both of you are being terminated from your contracts which aren’t being renewed. Why now only? That means so much has been let in for all this time under your watch.
  • DON Q (11/11/2020, 08:14) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    He was not gloating when the people ask this governor to apologize
  • Holmes (11/11/2020, 11:01) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Gus had a background in security before he came here. We thought he had been sent to sort out the corruption. More arrests to come.
  • Me Too (11/11/2020, 12:46) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    We must get this cocaine off the Island before the gangsters try to take it back. This is too much for our small island.
  • Hstg (11/11/2020, 18:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There need to touch him the two of them for the recird
  • ... (11/11/2020, 20:54) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    not good with that press conference they are up to NO GOOD NONE THE FASTER THE GOVERNOR LEAVES THE BETTER FOR OUR PEOPLE
  • Where was customs? (11/11/2020, 21:24) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Customs is not responsible for internal security of the bvi.the governor and the cop are the only 2 authorities responsible for internal security.why should customs be there.customs is to collect import tax,customs is there to fight crime and to prevent crime..
  • confused (11/11/2020, 21:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    What did the Governor say, about this bust, that was not true? Where did he "gloat"?
  • reese (12/11/2020, 14:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    He has plenty reason to gloat, considering the brazen efforts by those aiders and abettors who took him to the whipping post because he wanted to thwart their illicit activities at the BVI borders.


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