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Why did police kill Santo Y. Hernandez? Public needs to know!

- Governor Jaspert announced more delays in public release of report
Mr Santo Y. Hernandez was one of many that broke out of Her Majesty’s Prison on September 6, 2017 after the roof and compound was demolished by Hurricane Irma. He died on December 7, 2017 in a local public hospital from gunshots fired by police. Photo: Facebook
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’, right, said he has received the report of the initial investigation into the fatal shooting of Santo Y. Hernandez but could not make it public as yet. Police Commissioner Michael B. Matthews, left, has declined to comment on the findings of the report. Photo: VINO/File
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’, right, said he has received the report of the initial investigation into the fatal shooting of Santo Y. Hernandez but could not make it public as yet. Police Commissioner Michael B. Matthews, left, has declined to comment on the findings of the report. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Civil Society, the media and the family of the late Santo Yamarco Hernandez are starting to question the circumstances surrounding the Government shooting and killing of the escaped prisoner in the hills of Butu Mountain on Tortola.

The deceased was allegedly in a confrontation with members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) on the morning of December 6, 2017 after he was found hiding in an abandoned house where he was said to have had a knife. Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews had described him as “aggressive” and suggested the killing may have been justified because “armed officers were confronted with a violent escaped prisoner.”  

The deceased was charged with the murder of Alston E. Penn and Mr Hernandez was also one of many that broke out of Her Majesty’s Prison on September 6, 2017 after the roof and compound were demolished by Hurricane Irma. He died on December 7, 2017 in a local public hospital from his gunshots.

Are they being transparent?

Mr Matthews stated that in the interest of transparency he had ordered a probe into the killing of Mr Hernandez and promised it would be independent of the RVIPF. He had asked the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force to carry out the investigations.   

The report that took three months to complete had some two promised due dates and, after months of delays and questions by the media, the report was submitted on March 8, 2018.

One month later, neither the public nor the family have access to the findings.

Last month our newsroom asked Mr Mathews when the report will be made public. He had said, “it was up to Governor Jaspert to decide once he received the Director of Public Prosecution’s advice about any form of publication.”

The royal run around?

Last week when asked again by our newsroom about making the report public, the Commissioner dodged the question, simply saying “there was a legal procedure within the Territory” and declined to comment further.

Yesterday, April 4, 2018 Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’ in a statement on the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force report said: “I have now received the initial investigation report into the events of the operation to recapture Mr Hernandez who regrettably died the following day due to injuries sustained.”

The Governor added: “As I am sure you will appreciate, there must now follow due procedural and legal processes to ensure that the findings of the investigation are correctly considered. This must take place before further information is publicly disclosed.”

However, he did not explain what the “due procedural and legal processes” were but claimed that “I can assure you that both the RVIPF Commissioner of Police and I are committed to openness and transparency in this matter,” while acknowledging in the same press statement issued by the Government Information Service (GIS) “a life was lost and Mr Hernandez family is left to mourn this loss.”

While still not giving a date as to when the report of the Crown killing of a civilian prisoner will be made public, the young Governor stated: “I will say that I believe that all actions of officers in service to the public should always be open for evaluation and independent review in order to maintain the confidence of the public, particularly for law enforcement officers. We must be prepared to review our actions and have others do the same.”

39 Responses to “Why did police kill Santo Y. Hernandez? Public needs to know!”

  • Suckteeth (05/04/2018, 19:29) Like (82) Dislike (1) Reply
    Who cares really..wasteman dat.
    • vincyman (06/04/2018, 14:35) Like (3) Dislike (11) Reply
      am wondering if police had kill ur fam, would u said wasteman ir like somebody to called them that?
  • mi (05/04/2018, 19:31) Like (75) Dislike (2) Reply
    You don't asked y he kill mr Penn???
    • Mi too (05/04/2018, 20:26) Like (49) Dislike (3) Reply
      • mingo (06/04/2018, 09:09) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
        do you live there??
        • que (06/04/2018, 15:55) Like (8) Dislike (8) Reply
          No dark skinned person is revelant recognized or treated as human in the DR. Daily they are killed ignored and forgotten. No criminal investigation warranted. The genocide of dark skinned individuals in the DR is no secret. It is well documented in the United Nations.
          Mr Penn,whose ancestors are generations of BVIslanders was darkskinned. His skull was shattered and his blood drenched the soil of his birth as the evildoer travelled on Mr Penn's passport and while the DR continues to empty it's human dregs in the VI.
          Why wasn't the murderer's skull crushed and left to bleed out in the bushes like he did his victim is the question.
  • Really (05/04/2018, 19:40) Like (55) Dislike (0) Reply
  • @ @ @ @ (05/04/2018, 19:47) Like (14) Dislike (67) Reply
    This seems like a Cover up. Thank Jesus for VINO let the light shine in
  • ... (05/04/2018, 19:49) Like (74) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am sick of hearing about this mudera
  • tola (05/04/2018, 20:12) Like (61) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don’ need to know....Next!
  • janet (05/04/2018, 20:22) Like (31) Dislike (2) Reply
    He had a knife he needed to be killed
  • Ja rules (05/04/2018, 20:31) Like (30) Dislike (0) Reply
    He got shot because he kill a next person
  • Thing to talk (05/04/2018, 20:35) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
    But I still don’t understand ain’t like the police shoot he to kill he way ever it was dem had find he caz he woulda dead there is in the hospital is way he fat ass dead obviously he was too weak for that shot or I guess it was just his time... if dem had want kill he um sure dem woulda go for he heart, head, neck or one of them areas
  • Outlaw (05/04/2018, 20:39) Like (40) Dislike (0) Reply
    As you mentioned in this same article, he violently and aggressively confronted armed police with a knife, should the police have waited for him to kill one of them before they act. The same aggression he allegedly used against Alston when he used a big rock and smashed his head. Although everyone has a right to life on this case, Hernandez got his just reward.
  • PENN (05/04/2018, 20:53) Like (33) Dislike (2) Reply
    Why did he kill mr.penn we need to know...
  • What public? (05/04/2018, 21:08) Like (26) Dislike (0) Reply
    A murderer got killed. What public want to know. God knows who else he was planning to kill. He got away and didn't leave the country. He stayed hiding here. God knows best.
  • wize up (05/04/2018, 22:11) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
    how can one put police to investigate a police issue however this person have an alligation of murder against them moreover he escaped lawful custody and somehow law enforcement must great this suspect with hugs and kisses but I am glad to see the topics is being discuss because this time the aligations of accountability is not targeted to the local leadership
  • question (05/04/2018, 23:02) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
  • bob marley (05/04/2018, 23:03) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    "What goes around comes around"
  • observant (06/04/2018, 03:13) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why did terrorists kill Mr Penn and young Trinity? Public needs to know! Should be the headline.

    He did his crime and escaped legal custody. What he allegedly did to the police I don't know but he's not news at all. Focus on better stories please
    • to observant (06/04/2018, 12:29) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
      I agree,there are many of us in the community that want to know why Franklin Penn and Trinity were killed while the police are wasting time on the death of a criminal. You don't even hear the police commish or governor mention the senseless murder of Franklin and an innocent child. Something is really wrong with our society
  • rattie (06/04/2018, 06:47) Like (6) Dislike (11) Reply
    We need the truth nothing but the truth
  • voiceofthevoiceless (06/04/2018, 06:53) Like (14) Dislike (23) Reply
    Surprised with the level of ignorance on this topic.

    Mr. Hernandez is an alleged murderer that means he is innocent until proven guilty but it appears that he is already guilty in the public eye. As bad as we may view him he still deserves due process.

    Mr. Hernandez is now a victim, just like any other victim we need to know how and why he was killed so we could try to prevent this from happening again by making an example of the perpetrators. Today for me, tomorrow for you. If the Police failed to carry out their duties properly then they too need to answer to their transgressions. He is a victim and he too has a family who deserves answers.

    Finally Mr. Hernandez would have been a treasure trove of information in hoping to get some answers to the murder of Penn. Did he act alone? What was the motive? He is now dead and of little use to the investigation.

    Again Commish Matthews you need to release this report and quit the dilly dallying. Justice delayed is justice denied!
    • wize up (06/04/2018, 07:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ voiceless: you are right but welcome to BVI!!
    • tola (06/04/2018, 10:54) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      He admitted guilt by escaping the prison and going on the run.If you are not guilty there in no need to hide.More importantly when confronted by the police he had a weapon.Too much time talking about this man.Don’t think he should have been granted entry to VI in the first place as all he contributed to the development of the islands was misery.Like they say “what goes around........”
    • Bull (06/04/2018, 10:57) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      If he was innocent, he would have gone back to the prison and await his 'due process' that you think he so justly deserves. No innocent would run and hide. He got what he deserved
  • Mark (06/04/2018, 09:07) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    This man brutally kill someone and we here worrying about why they killed him?
  • Ummm (06/04/2018, 09:37) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
  • Honestly (06/04/2018, 10:51) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Honestly truly, Idk why they're making this a big a$$ story like he was an innocent man killed by the police. Yall turn a blind eye to more serious matters but THIS is what making the news? Did they solve the murder of that girl that was kidnapped for months? Did they even solve Trinity's murder? Like FOH with this mess.
    • Caramel (06/04/2018, 12:50) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      @Honestly, I am in agreement with you 200%. Makes me think if this man was some type of paid police informant.
      • @Caramel (06/04/2018, 15:36) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        Paid Police informant? How did you get that in? Look like you have been smoking something.
  • The TRUTH (06/04/2018, 11:01) Like (30) Dislike (1) Reply
    We don't care.

    The Public
  • Local (06/04/2018, 20:09) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Well .. If u kill a LOCAL beware !! That is the message ..
  • Wow Wow Wow (07/04/2018, 04:43) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am not here to judge but if you take a poll based on the ignorant behavior of my people of the BVI by just reading these blogs you can see exactly why this country is the way it is right now and toy will wonder if these people are for real in the world of which we live today it's a real shame that people can be so ignorant and act so stupid in the year 2018 that's why the politicians can treat us the way that they want and use us as a cash cow and there is no accountability for what is being done to us a a people because we act like people without a brain so therefore we are treated like people without brains and it's the way it is because how can you tell me that a man is accused of a murder and is killed by anyone under the circumstances and gets level of behavior by the public in any where in the world outside of the BVI in a modern day like today ,and if you think that I am wrong ,after election it will show its head again when the NDP will win the election again by a bigger margin than before ,simply because we just don't know better and this is a shame in our country we are so iillitorate and we just have to live with it wow
    • Jacperlance (07/04/2018, 18:13) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ wow wow wow, you have just displayed that you are the most ignorant person to blog on this story. What you have just said is all your opinion and no one else, so as you are entitled to you opinion, so too is the rest of the bloggers on here so how can they be ignorant if they say things that does not go down well will you or in your favor. Go and have a back seat please.
  • @ to observant (07/04/2018, 04:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Commish and Governor need not talk more rhetoric. It is time for serious action. D Santo boy was a pest and I wonder who harboured him whilst he was hiding? Why are they not in custody for aiding and abetting? Hmm! I agree that in some sectors of society, some people's mindsets are twisted and love to celebrate evil over Goodness but soon God willing Justice for all will be served. For the terrorists who sell drugs, illegal guns in their possession, murder, rape, rob, steal taxpayers $ and do all other evils, the Wrath of God will be upon them like a maelstrom. Mark my words.
  • Charley Rose (07/04/2018, 09:13) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is very unconventional to conduct an inquiry into a shooting incident to inform the public who may have doubts and speculation as to what transpired on during the capture of Mr. Hernandez. First of all he is a human being and secondly he was charged for the murder of Mr Penn. A suspect is considered innocent until proven guilty by the courts.

    Let us await the final report of the commission of inquiry and then we will make an informed decision. As human
    beings we need to show tolerance for each other. Rightfully speaking Mr Hernandez should have heeded the call to return to the prison after the hurricane. He was considered to be dangerous and being armed with a knife the police did not take any chance with him. However, whether the use of deadly force was justified is another matter for consideration. It is about time we bring a closure to this matter because both the Penn and Hernandez families are grieving because of the loss of their loved ones.
    I know the sentiments of Be longers however, the right to life is fundamental and no one should not take another's life. 'This is a critical time and we need peace, love and happiness to prevail.
    • voiceofthevoiceless (07/04/2018, 14:24) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      Not only that Charley rose but tomorrow when one of their family members is killed by the police I am sure they would want answers too. If the Authorities allow this to be swept under the rug well the police will now feel they could get away with Murder and do it again...Accountability is essential to good democracy. Sorely lacking in the BVI where people are not held accountable for their actions or inactions.

      Some ask why a news story on this well I ask why not? The role of Journalists and the Media is clear. They must investigate and hold the authorities accountable. Good work VINO.

      Who vex loss.
  • who cares (15/04/2018, 10:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who gives af? Why he kill Mr.Penn? Karma a b*tch. May he continue to rot in hell.

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