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Re-opened WE Police Station to house Immigration & Customs

- as inter-agency collaboration is strengthened
The West End Police Station in the First District on Tortola was officially re-opened on August 15, 2019. Photo: VINO
From left: Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews share a light moment prior to the commencement of the re-opening ceremony for the West End Police Station on August 15, 2019. Photo: VINO
From left: Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews share a light moment prior to the commencement of the re-opening ceremony for the West End Police Station on August 15, 2019. Photo: VINO
Inside the newly re-opened West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
Inside the newly re-opened West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
Inside the newly re-opened West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
Inside the newly re-opened West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
The area where Immigration Officers will soon be occupying at the West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
The area where Immigration Officers will soon be occupying at the West End Police Station. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the re-opening ceremony of the West End Police Station on August 15, 2019. Photo: VINO
Some of the persons at the re-opening ceremony of the West End Police Station on August 15, 2019. Photo: VINO
WEST END, Tortola, VI- Nearly 2 years after the West End Police Station in the First District on Tortola was battered by hurricanes Irma and Maria, the facility was reopened, but with added functions.

The police station, which came back on line at around midnight last night, August 15, 2019 after undergoing repairs by local company Quality Construction Limited (QCL), will also house officers of the Immigration Department and Her Majesty’s Customs.

‘Not just a police station’

Speaking at the official re-opening ceremony yesterday, August 15, 2019, Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert said the added functions of the police station is due to the continued support of the national security council and the Premier to work towards improving the collaboration between the other security agencies, namely Her Majesty’s Prison, Immigration Department, Her Majesty’s Customs and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).

“This police station when it opens will not just be a police station but it will also provide a joint base for Immigration and Customs as well…All this is not just about keeping the district safe, and the area safe, but about improving the way the policing and security work in the territory,” Governor Jaspert stated.

The Governor said the reopening of the West End Police Station was also a physical manifestation of why a strong partnership matters, particularly in times of need but also in good times.

“It is a physical manifestation of a partnership with the United Kingdom. The police station has been repaired by the United Kingdom via a donation, a gift, from the UK tax payers to the BVI.”

Governor Jaspert further said the money is also being used to repair the building that houses the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Immigration and Her Majesty’s Customs in Jost van Dyke as well as the police barracks in Virgin Gorda and was already used to repair the Road Town Police Station.

“We should never forget that a building is a key part in the infrastructure but the key part that got us through the difficult times and continues to keep our communities safe are the dedicated, loyal and hardworking officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and other agencies,” Governor Jaspert added.

WE Police Station played critical role after the hurricanes- Premier

Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) also expressed gratitude to the officers of the RVIPF, particularly for their efforts following the hurricanes of 2017.

The Premier recalled how the damaged West End Police Station became a main distribution centre for food supplies and other aid following the hurricanes and where unity was fostered.

He also said it was during that time that he saw the dedication of some of the police officers who helped to form a community group in West End.

“And the police officers were more than accommodating. I remember they were sleeping in here at one time but when it rained water was getting so high that they even stayed there through the rain to guard the food without any roof for the building and even when we put on a temporary roof for the building it was still leaking.”

He said the people created a bond with the officers and this might have helped to deter crime.

Expressing thanks to the UK for providing the funding for the repair of the police station, Hon Fahie remarked that the Governor knows he has his full support for law enforcement. “He knows too that I wouldn’t mind any more grants that we could get so we don’t have to do any loans.”

Premier Fahie also encouraged the community to continue to work “hand in glove” with the law enforcement agencies “because the VI is ours.”

“The police are not the ones that keep the peace. The people are,” Hon Fahie said.

‘Joined at the hip’

Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews also took the opportunity to recall his officers having to tough it out day and night in rough conditions, "fighting to restore security and stability" even before soldiers and officers from the UK arrived.

He said the fact that some people could have said his officers were never seen in the aftermath of the storms could be because the officers had lost all their kits and uniform.

Commissioner Matthews also said he remembered when he first came to the West End Police Station after the hurricanes and noticed one of the police officers working without footwear because he had lost everything.

“But he hadn’t lost his ability to police and he hadn’t deserted his post,” Mr Matthew recounted, adding that such is what policing is about.

“And we continue to be one of the safest countries and territories in the Caribbean. We don’t want to be like some of the other countries. We don’t want to see the sort of crime that has been happening elsewhere in the Caribbean.”

Commenting on the plan to share the building with Her Majesty’s Customs and Immigration, Mr Matthews said the agencies are all “joined at the hip” as part of the criminal justice system.

“And this building now symbolises another stake in the ground in terms of the journey to ensure we have effective, efficient criminal justice working in the territory, working for the safety and security of people in this territory.”

CGB Police Station will remain open

Mr Matthews also noted that the Cane Garden Bay Police Station will continue to function. “We have learnt the lessons of the past and recognised that two stations are needed at this end of the territory.”

He added that the newly repaired West End Police Station represents a real investment for policing and security for the future of the Virgin Islands and that there are plans to equip the stations so that persons who are detained by officers could be questioned there properly, according to the law, and if necessary detained here as well “rather than shipping everybody back to Road Town Police Station with the obvious inconvenience and risks that brings with it.”

Among those at the opening were Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) and a number of retired police officers, including former Commissioner of Police Mr Reynell Frazer.

5 Responses to “Re-opened WE Police Station to house Immigration & Customs”

  • fish (16/08/2019, 13:08) Like (20) Dislike (23) Reply
    How the hell you could touch the vip it took them just 5 months after elections to do this
  • Charley Rose (17/08/2019, 04:55) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am very pleased that the West End police station is finally opened. Whether it has started under the previous administration or the present, the job is done by the government. I know that the supporters of the previous government would like to be associated with the success of the territory, however it is time to move on.

    The Premier begged like a child for help for his people of the First District, when he was in the opposition and they even removed him from being the leader of the opposition, but God and the people placed him in the position to lead tthe country like Moses and Aron and things are happening. Look at the speed at which the Premier got the Virgin Gorda airport reopened after the problem with the fire tender. That is my premier at work. The people of the BVI would have to catch up with him because he is moving fast.


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