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‘US’ type gang culture present in VI – CoP Matthews

- links recent shootings to gang rivalry
Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has said there is a ‘US’ type gang culture now present in the [British] Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Noting that he has been encouraged to impose curfew, especially in the East End community where most of the shoots and gangs seem to be prevalent, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said it would be unfair to punish the masses for the deeds of a few. Photo: VINO/File
Noting that he has been encouraged to impose curfew, especially in the East End community where most of the shoots and gangs seem to be prevalent, Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews said it would be unfair to punish the masses for the deeds of a few. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The incidents of fatal shootings in the territory as of recent times are linked to gang rivalry, which Commissioner of Police, Michael Matthews, attributes to a ‘US’ type gang culture now present in the [British] Virgin Islands. He added that the rivalries are mainly linked to drugs and guns.

A few months ago, Commissioner of Police, Michael Matthews was a target of critics when he called out a number of groups as ‘Gangs’ especially Zone 6. Today, the Police top brass is still holding firm to his position.

Over the past weekend, the CoP, while appearing on the JTV CH 55 show, Big Story, with Peta-Gay Coombs and Cathy O. Richards, said, “…where some of our violence is being shown on some of our very own streets where some of the shooting have been connected to that has been a direct result of gang rivalry, where two gangs falling out on something or the other and they resort to the use of a firearm.”

While nothing that gangs are formed for many reasons, including loyalty and friendship where people wants a sense of belonging, “I got no objection to people forming gangs, groupings, associations and being belonging to a group there is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, there are very many positive examples of that.”

But in this instance, the trio was discussing ‘criminal gangs’. “These are groups of people who are collaborating together, to import drugs, to import firearms and where some of our violence is being shown on our very own with some of the shootings…”

USA gang culture in the VI

This Matthews said needs to be stamped out. “We do not want that US (United State of America) culture here. It does exist here. It’s not on the scale as some of the other parts of the Caribbean but if we are prepared to just sit back and accept that it happens and that’s life kind of thing, it will become on the scale as other Caribbean countries where it has gone out of control…”

Matthew said that parents, families and to an extent, communities are to take the blame for the involvement of youths in violent gangs. “I point the finger at, I start at families and parents and I say do you know what your kids are doing at evenings? Do you know who they are hanging around with? Do you know if your child is a member of a gang?”

“They are driving around and they have a sticker in the window and it’s got a badge on it, what does that mean?”

He said that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force does not find it difficult figuring out who are the gangs and its members are, “So how come the community doesn’t seem to know? How come the parents don’t seem to know that?” he asked, adding that he finds that very disturbing.

Curfew needed?

Noting that he has been encouraged to impose curfew, especially in the East End community, where most of the shoots and gangs seem to be prevalent, the top CoP said it would be unfair to punish the masses for the deeds of a few.

“We also need to recognise that it’s a very small percentage of offenders that are causing the problems for the majority of the people here,” he said, adding “But I do agree that in appropriate cases there may be other ways of tackling their behaviour, either through the courts or through support of the social services to make sure their behaviour is more controlled.” This he said can be done through a curfew also but this requires legislation.

Matthews clarified that not all of the shootings and armed robberies are linked to gangs. “…some of them are opportunists.”

22 Responses to “‘US’ type gang culture present in VI – CoP Matthews”

  • HAHA (03/07/2017, 15:33) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
    Headline: 'US' type money culture present in BVI
  • parent (03/07/2017, 15:47) Like (14) Dislike (21) Reply
    More excues for his falure to reduce crime
  • True (03/07/2017, 15:51) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    These young men here is stepping into very deep waters. They are trying to follow that gangbanger lifestyle and they don't understand or know what they are getting into.
    • Reply (03/07/2017, 23:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      All those murderers out there know they’ll be set free if caught so there’s nothing to fear . They may lose their freedom for awhile but they’ll be back in the street before long .
  • Strupes (03/07/2017, 16:42) Like (1) Dislike (12) Reply
    bull shiggidy
  • Re:Parents (03/07/2017, 17:32) Like (19) Dislike (5) Reply
    Parents know. They just don't care. They did not care enough to raise a decent human being so how are they to care now. Their relatives in other places are living the same life. A no brainer to guess the race of the thugs and their parents. Personally I hope these hoods eradicate each other's useless existence so that folks could live like human.
  • Honestly (03/07/2017, 17:35) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    we could all see that. they are following the rap culture too closely
  • Yep (03/07/2017, 17:44) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    The man is right. 90% of these killings are senseless nonsense with guys trying to prove a point with the tit for tat. A few heartless fools with guns ready to kill for a small change, so sad that it makes the entire Territory look so bad.
  • wize up (03/07/2017, 17:55) Like (9) Dislike (17) Reply
    The commissioner of police need to take a seat with his excuses: get the police to parol the territorial waters: commissioner you need to disrupt the flow of dope into our country: mr commissioner of police you to disrupt the flow of guns into our country and stop talking piss while hiding behind a microphone: stop bad talking our territory because you just reach: big blue and white police vessel always tied up; when last that police boat did a full day at sea because the dope and the guns come here via the sea water(what fu@!n& gang: it's the drope trade and the guns running that are being detriment to our country: from 6 AM -6PM police all over the place my goodness come night fall police gone off the(criminal dem out police gone)
  • ,?'n (03/07/2017, 19:05) Like (19) Dislike (3) Reply
    @Wize up, it is time for you to shut the ,'?k up. He can't do it all by himself. You claim you was a cop, so why don't you give your assistance to the Comissioner to help solve the problem since you know so damn much.
    • wize up (03/07/2017, 21:32) Like (5) Dislike (9) Reply
      @ ,?'n: that why we now have 7 killing in 6 months because people like you talk piss and refused to face the facts: had the commissioner been one of us, lots of you will have far more to say about the performance:::the stupid talk wont phase me and anything I blog on VINO I have more than enough balls to tell you and commissioner of police face to face and eye to eye: set off white @&& kissers..
      • ,?'n (04/07/2017, 00:30) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
        @Wize up, let me clap back at you for a moment. I kiss no ones A:;, the day I kiss Someone's A:; is the day I can bend over backwards and kiss my own A:;. Have you ever stop and think you might be part of the problem?
  • DON Q (03/07/2017, 20:15) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    Mack needs to leave with the governor
  • ????? (03/07/2017, 20:15) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    we should get US police then instead of these
  • Phantom (03/07/2017, 20:36) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    @Wize up, if you don't know or can see there is a gang problem here then you must be on another planet. Look at the way they dress, if you pay close attention, you will see them throwing up the finger signs when they great each other.
  • goat (03/07/2017, 23:09) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Is this some masterful strategy that only the COP understands?
  • cop (03/07/2017, 23:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe he could actually do something good for the country .
  • Political Observer (PO) (04/07/2017, 09:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Undoubtedly, gang culture is taking root in the BVI. The BVI youth ( millennial, Gen Z) and even some Boomers are emulating the US culture and lifestyle---the good, the bad and ugly. They try to live the lifestyle they see on TV and hear in music.........etc. They try to adopt the lifestyle but cannot afford the lifestyle. And to support the lifestyle, they resort to crime, using guns and peddling drugs. Drugs and guns go together. The guns and drugs problem is fueled primarily by social and economic issues.

    The BVI does not manufacture guns but everyone in the BVI seems to have a gun. How are guns getting into the BVI? Well, the BVI has an extensive porous coastline. No vessels should be exempted from closer examination. The majority of drugs flowing through the BVI is not home grown or produced. So where is the drugs coming from? Again, it is pouring in through the extensive and porous coastline? No vessels should be exempted from close scrunity, i.e., neither yachts nor dinghies.

    Moreover, the BVI has changed and is changing. It is living a fast food mentality; we want everything now. The BVI needs a cultural shift; the current cultural path is destructive. It needs a strategic and tactical plan to plot the way forward. In the interim, the RVIPF needs a greater presence in the community. The BVI is a little 2x4 locale so mobile patrolling should be a continuous thing through Road Town and the villages. Put some miles on those air conditioning vehicles. Based on patrolling mileage, vehicles should be replaced every 2-3 years. Nonetheless, the RVIPF cannot turn things around alone; it needs community engagement. True, when one is charge of something, one has ultimate responsibility for the successes and failures.
  • goat (04/07/2017, 19:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The only thing I have confidence in is that the wealthy will continue to keep everything for themselves.

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