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RVIPF vacancies: Local officers allege being sidelined for UK officers

- said qualifications advertised are deliberate attempts to eliminate them
According to reports reaching VINO, local officers are alleging there has been another attempt to sideline them for more UK officers in the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). Photo: VINO/File
Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews has said ‘it’s a fact of life’ that certain skills are not all available locally, hence his reason to recruit UK officers. Photo: VINO/File
Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews has said ‘it’s a fact of life’ that certain skills are not all available locally, hence his reason to recruit UK officers. Photo: VINO/File
The matter of allegedly discrimination in the RVIPF has allegedly been taken up by the Police Welfare Association (PWA), which has allegedly brought it to the attention of Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1). Photo: VINO/File
The matter of allegedly discrimination in the RVIPF has allegedly been taken up by the Police Welfare Association (PWA), which has allegedly brought it to the attention of Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1). Photo: VINO/File
In May 9, 2011, an article entitled ‘Who is in charge of the RVIPF? Is the Deputy too powerful?’ some officers speaking to this news site alleged that there might be subtle discrimination in the RVIPF, as in a few meetings, Deputy Commissioner David Morris had allegedly said that he needs the United Kingdom Officers as the local police officers do not 'have the skills and capabilities like his UK officers. Photo: VINO/File
In May 9, 2011, an article entitled ‘Who is in charge of the RVIPF? Is the Deputy too powerful?’ some officers speaking to this news site alleged that there might be subtle discrimination in the RVIPF, as in a few meetings, Deputy Commissioner David Morris had allegedly said that he needs the United Kingdom Officers as the local police officers do not 'have the skills and capabilities like his UK officers. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - It has long been known there is a strained relationship between local police officers, including Caribbean recruits, and officers from the United Kingdom (UK) in the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF); however, it has come to the forefront again, with local officers alleging there has been another attempt to sideline them for more UK officers.

Local officers being sidelined?

The RVIPF, under Commissioner and UK national Mr Michael B. Matthews, recently advertised vacancies for Detective Sergeant, Mentor/Office Manager; Detective Constable, Mentor and CCTV Manager; Detective Constable, Mentor and Exhibits Officer; Detective Constable, Mentor and Interview Advisor; Detective Constable, Surveillance Officer; and Detective Constable, Technical Officer.

Reports reaching Virgin Islands News Online (VINO); however, are that local officers believe that the qualifications set out, such as Professionalising the Investigation Process (PIP), are deliberate attempts to sideline local officers, knowing they would not be able to make those qualifications although, they are reportedly capable of carry out the jobs being advertised based on experienced and even training.

They have also argued PIP is a standard not a qualification.

Salaries a ‘burden’ on VI purse

Further, it is alleged that the salaries being offered for the advertised posts are huge and would be a burden on the public’s purse and that it would serve the treasury better, if a fraction of that money was spent on facilitating training for local officers to take up the advertised posts.

For the Detective Sergeant/Office Manager position, the salary range is $31,523.00 to $50,086.00 annually, plus allowances of US$ 13,800.00.

For the positions requiring Detective Constables, the salary range is $28,134.00 to $42,091.00 annually, plus allowances of US$13,200.00.

Local officers supervising UK officers?

The matter has allegedly been taken up by the Police Welfare Association (PWA), which has allegedly penned a letter to the Office of the Premier.

According to information reaching VINO, the PWA believes that “for too long our local sergeant and inspectors have to supervise and manage UK based constables who are earning substantively higher income than their line supervisor and managers. We are subjecting our line managers and supervisors to a state of inferiority."

“We strongly advocate for equality and we find the present practice is bordering on the perimeter of discrimination that must be addressed.”

Immediate training required/Save $$- PWA

The PWA has also called for immediate efforts to train and certify local officers to fill the existing specialist vacancies in the RVIPF. This it argues, will save the Government a huge amount of money.

Commissioner Matthews was asked why there was no training offered to the local officers to fill some of the specialist positions instead of having to spend on recruitment in these challenging times.

Skills ‘not all available locally’- CoP Matthews

“The decision to recruit for these specific specialists has been agreed with the National Security Council and the Minister of Finance himself - suggest you ask him about any ‘burden’ on the public purse,” Mr Matthews stated.

He also said the positions are open to local officers, local persons as well as external applicants, “If you want your police force to function effectively, then certain skill sets are required and it’s a fact of life they are not all available locally. Certainly the Ministry recognises this even if a handful of disgruntled officers do not!” Mr Matthews responded.

Meanwhile, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had not responded to our queries up to time of publication.

A repeat of history?

The issues being raised in the RVIPF bring back memories of a decade ago.

In May 9, 2011, an article entitled ‘Who is in charge of the RVIPF? Is the Deputy too powerful?’ say some officers alleging there was subtle discrimination in the RVIPF. In a few meetings, the then Deputy Commissioner and UK national, David Morris, had allegedly said he needed the United Kingdom officers as the local police officers did not “have the skills and capabilities like his UK officers”.

One officer had further told Virgin Islands News Online that Morris was allegedly always pushing a Nigel Nivens, a UK officer, a then Senior Investigative Officer, and telling the other local officers of Nivens’ alleged police skills, that no other local officers possess, in order to investigate crime.

However, another police officer had told this news site in the same article mentioned above, that when crime occurs at night ‘we never see Nigel but he is the SIO”.

Following the Virgin Islands News Online article, the then Deputy Commissioner made an attempt to censor this news site by shutting us out of all press conferences held by the RVIPF, removing our name from press release circulars including the reporters personal E-mail addresses and disallowing any senior officer from speaking to this news site on matters of public information.

Morris’ unprofessional, illegal and unconstitutional act was met with outrage from most in the legal and professional class; however, he subsequently lifted the ban without this news site having to seek remedy and intervention in the courts.

30 Responses to “RVIPF vacancies: Local officers allege being sidelined for UK officers”

  • son of the soil (12/10/2020, 10:34) Like (54) Dislike (16) Reply
    Some of them island man only want to be cops to avoid paying for work permits and becoming belongers after a few years in the service.....I agree with the police boss, bring in some men from the UK who could solve crimes instead of these incompetent islanders
    • VG (12/10/2020, 11:06) Like (25) Dislike (12) Reply
      The islanders better than the locals the locals know all who committing the crimes they shut their mouth
      • to vg (12/10/2020, 17:26) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        The people who are in charge of the hiring are NOT looking for locals, trust me on that ....I know locals who applied and never even got a call back in regards to their applications. Let them keep that practice and we'll see how far that will get them LOL and Vincent said they want locals hired for jobs here in the BVI HAHA
    • YOU British (13/10/2020, 14:36) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The head of any department should be training his staff in order to do the job
      Its not record science being a Detective
      AS we all do it when we suspect something and we follow it through
      The UK has training for detective and investigators. You should be asking why aren't these courses provided to locals
  • A VOTER IN #6 (12/10/2020, 10:50) Like (29) Dislike (5) Reply
    MR MATHEW ISN'T STUPID HE SEES AND KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE POLICE FORCE. THEY NEED ALOT OF TRAINING. CANT EVEN RIGHT OUT A GOOD REPORT.
  • 1 million house (12/10/2020, 10:57) Like (4) Dislike (12) Reply
    keep your eyes on Gus and Jaspert one in the same
  • vi (12/10/2020, 11:04) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    Stop your *&#@ bring them from the us the locals like to be in the rings

  • True (12/10/2020, 11:07) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Morris was a man of colour everybody forgot that when he was here.

    This COP is now leaving and hopefully all the positions are filled with people who can do there jobs, no matter who they are and where they are from.
  • Strupes (12/10/2020, 11:16) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
    Son of soil....poor you, only hatred in your heart
  • Hmm (12/10/2020, 11:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good .
  • WHAT!!!! (12/10/2020, 12:10) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    Shouldn’t be about where you from but about ability, experience and competence.
    • jake (13/10/2020, 09:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Sadly it’s not about experience and what the officer may bring to the force it’s due to the fact the BVI is such a small island. Local BVI officers in the past would have have phones removed bedore any forth coming raid to avoid the call being made to protect their own. Really pretty simple.

      Same goes for government contracts over the years going to family, friends who have no knowledge, tools, business sense to complete and then we wonder where all the government Funds have gone and unfinished contracts that are left.
  • Real Talk (12/10/2020, 13:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let them tek dat all of them believe them bright once they land up beef island daaàaaa
    • YOU British (13/10/2020, 14:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Trust me
      They are not ALL Bright
      But they are British regardless of colour and they will wine and dine the rich and upper class BVI females
  • Local (12/10/2020, 14:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is the cut off age?
  • Observer (12/10/2020, 17:30) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Every time a COP comes from the UK all you will hear is the that the BVI force dont have the skills. Instead of bringing the UK why not give the retired officers a contract. Some years ago a man was brought from the UK to teach the officers at marine base seamanship. Instead of him teaching the officers it end up that the BVI officers were teaching him. He spent 2 years. The late Holder said in a meeting that those officers out of England are.a waste.of time. They come to the BVI and the local officers has to teach them the job. Many of them are retirees who come on vacation in the Caribbean. My advice was always being for officers to go to England and get the training and return to teach the organization. Every Commissioner comes to BVI with same agenda to get their buddies to come and make some mmoney.How many unsolved murders we have. They would these guys are coming to solved murder and never get anything done.
  • @WHAT!!! (12/10/2020, 17:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You should tell that to the DCP.
  • insider (12/10/2020, 18:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The man mick is playing games they holding the premier hostage over overspending for the police
  • cop (12/10/2020, 20:58) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Not sure where you got this information from but David Morris came as COMMISSIONER and left as COMMISSIONER!!! He was never deputy!
  • Time for Positive Change Edited (12/10/2020, 22:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    If officers in the RVIPF are not operating according the lofty standards that are required in elite policing, then my question to the National Security hierarchy, Commissioner Michael Matthews and the DCP Alwin James is that why wasn't any systems put in place to effectively remedy that apparent discrepancy. If a child constantly gives trouble and gets reported and there is no sign of positive change, then the parents would be blamed. So part of the blame for the lack of certain skills that officers should have already attained is because the COP has failed in providing it for them. Also, the DCP is a terrible 2IC because he sat back in his chair, seemingly relaxed because of his position and never tried to be innovative and motivate the troops in the force. It's a dirty shame because you would expect patriotism from a fellow Caribbean national but obviously it is not his forte.

    There is specialist training that is only provided by the service for their personnel but for the academic aspect, officers need to educate themselves. Mr Matthews has lost the plot a long time now and I can't understand how he actually wasn't fired a long while ago. Imagine he said on news recently that the BVI has a "big drug problem". That's since before his tenure right? So he's now the COP but didn't eradicate the problem, who's to blame? Gun crimes occur in the BVI but yet most officers are unarmed. I pray that an unarmed officer never has to encounter a perp with an illegal firearm.

    In my opinion there is a clear and present bias towards non Caucasians in the force but that being said a lot of Afro locals and Caribbean nationals that comprise the RVIPF have contributed to their own sorry situation because of their poor work ethic and failure to enhance their skill sets. Nothing is entitled to anyone. Don't get the job and rest on your laurels, thinking that you have achieved something. Many times the RVIPF have been found wanting in the execution of their duties.
    For example:
    1. Two men were shot a stones throw away from RT police station and the officers there responded poorly. If it were a terrorist attack, they could've been all killed. It was like a wait till the shots ended then go investigate.
    2. Trinity and Mr Penn murdered since 2017. Nobody brought to justice for the murders.
    3. People going missing but life goes on as usual.
    4. Robberies, burglary, shootings occurring but no resolve.

    Don't blame the white man for your problems. A lot of officers have proven themselves as incompetent and lazy. That being said, there are officers who are very eager, educated, disciplined and highly motivated to serve God and country but are stymied in their efforts by the corrupt few. Time to stand up you lot and uplift the RVIPF to its proper place so that the public would regain their trust in them. Also, deal with the unruly civilians swiftly and justly, where they're from heh or not.

    We do not need UK officers because there is full of unsolved crimes there also. At the highest levels train the officers currently serving in the RVIPF and force multiply. Simple.

    By God I sincerely hope that new leaders are chosen to head the RVIPF and build towards a brighter future. May the new COP be a God fearing person, local or Caribbean who would lead by example.
  • Watchers (12/10/2020, 23:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I will say it again this police force needs a serious review. Why not bring a professional to interview the entire police force and investigate what is really happening. All the skills officers are been left behind while officers who has never even been in court are been place in specialist position. Until that is really looked into the rvipf will have serious problems. They need to do a survey of the force and keep the officer safe from being discriminated or treated unfair because of the truth they speak. Do an investigation and u will see how many in specialist position and where they are from.
  • Foreign Detective. How can I apply. (13/10/2020, 03:07) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I agree with the commissioner "All the skills are not available locally". Some skills cannot br trained or taught, its a born with, a natural ability...TO ADD ALSO, A detective Job is not an 8 to 5 job or, a schedule job, or a run home to wife and kids at the end of work schedule, or I dont drink alcohol job... Been a detective comes with a crime solving mentality,...Here a small training Clip.."A detective must always be in control, in control of themselves, always conscious of their attitude, their surroundings and their behavior, control of the situation, their investigation and their informants" .. How can I apply?
  • Dulce (13/10/2020, 09:35) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    A well trained force made up of mostly UK officers would be fine with me.
    They can better work objectively.
    "Indigenous" Vilanders for the most part are not the polic I ng type and have little interest in policing others.
    Policemen and men,in general, from other Caribbean Islands are saddled with adverse reputations of dishonesty, cruelty and poor manners.


  • YOU British (13/10/2020, 14:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is happening iin Cayman has been happening in Bermuda
    It all comes back to training. They don't train local Officers for specialist appointments
    I wonder how many foreigners are in charge of your Intelligence and Fraud Sections
    There should be ongoing training for all police officers
    The UK is in charge
    What is the current Commissioner of Police doing? Has he identified a replacement? Has he provided training to his senior management team? Has he provided specialized training to local officers?
    If he hasn't then he ?????
  • Salary (15/10/2020, 10:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why is this salary a burden on the government's purse. For this kind of work I feel they should be paid more.


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