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Zero Police CCTV cameras working; Are we serious about fighting crime?

- There are reports also that the police tip hotline in Florida, USA, not operational
Police Commissioner Michael B. Matthews, left, has said the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) will be prioritising static cameras for Road Town ‘to assist where the hurricanes severely damaged our normal CCTV capability.’ Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, right, is already under pressure to address the issue of crime in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
From left: Deputy Premier Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) are members of the National Security Council, which has been criticised for being reactive. Photo: VINO/File
From left: Deputy Premier Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) are members of the National Security Council, which has been criticised for being reactive. Photo: VINO/File
Nearly six months after Hurricane Irma destroyed the Police Headquarters in the Virgin Islands, the building has not yet been restored. Photo: VINO/File
Nearly six months after Hurricane Irma destroyed the Police Headquarters in the Virgin Islands, the building has not yet been restored. Photo: VINO/File
Following the killer storms, Irma and Maria in September 2017, not one CCTV security camera has been reinstalled anywhere in the Territory, further placing crime solving in jeopardy. Photo: Internet Source
Following the killer storms, Irma and Maria in September 2017, not one CCTV security camera has been reinstalled anywhere in the Territory, further placing crime solving in jeopardy. Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- As gun crime continues to skyrocket over the past two years in the tiny British Overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands (VI) with less than 30 thousand people, some hard questions are being asked.

While many residents have claimed that they have given up on the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration and the National Security Council to keep the country safe and keep crime on a low, it appears that there is more political rhetoric, spin and talk about fighting and reducing crime than real serious solutions and the use of the best modern crime fighting practices.

Things that are outdated & have failed

There has been some regressive and old fashion thinking, such as curfew for scooters, or banning them all together, returning a national curfew, which many progressive residents and legal scholars deem as a threat to residents’ rights and freedoms guaranteed in the constitution, or bringing more UK police officers, most often retired, as they allegedly have the expertise and investigative skills that are lacking in the local force.

Others have called for putting a gun in the hands of every police officer, as they argued that the criminals are armed and dangerous.

We are in this together

It has been established that the police alone cannot fight and reduce crime as the efforts need ‘all hands on deck’- the police, the private sector, the political leaders, the churches, community and youth organisations and ordinary citizens.  

However, the people of the Virgin Islands (VI) have entrusted the political leaders, meaning the government of the day, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and the Governor to take the lead in crime reduction and prevention.

Residents are expected to pay taxes that go to fund the police operations which include, tools, facilities, training, salaries and manpower.

The NDP stewardship on law & order, according John S. Duncan

However, critics of the ruling NDP Administration that came to power in 2011 said they have refused to adequately fund the police or make law enforcement a priority under Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), who is also the Minister of Finance. 

Police funding has been on the back burner for years under the current government and operations had gotten so bad for the Police and their ability to fight and reduce crime that former governor, John S. Duncan OBE made history.

He imposed direct rule on March 16, 2017 via his constitutional powers under sec 103 (b) and took over $1.88M out of the Consolidated Fund and demanded and directed that it goes for police funding and the courts. In doing so Mr Duncan, in a public statement, said the lack of funding by the Smith Administration had “impacted the RVIPF’s capabilities and the consequently a reduction in the forces’ ability to tackle criminality in the Territory.”

The former Governor also said on June 26, 2017 in an exclusive interview with our newsroom that part of the crime problem the VI now faces is because of “4 years of underspending of police,” pointing the finger at the current government.   

This was the first time since the country had been responsible for its own finances, some 40 plus years ago, that such a decision by a governor had been taken.

Dr Smith has egg on his face

Premier Smith, so embarrassed and marginalised by this action, hit the airways claiming that his administration had funded the police and that most of the cheques needed for items they requested were ready for collection and sitting at the Treasury.

This turned out to be a lie and the former Financial Secretary Neil N. Smith was removed from his post, partly over this embarrassing moment. Premier Smith has since apologised to the people for the deception and corrected the information in another statement.

Then came the hurricanes of September 2017 that destroyed much of the police infrastructure, including police stations, CCTV cameras, vehicles, boats and communications equipment.

Before the hurricanes there were reports carried by this news site that many of the law enforcement CCTV cameras were not working, therefore information could not be retrieved from them.

The Government again, just reacting a few days ago, announced another $5M to help fight crime and the United Kingdom Government had also poured in another 1.2 million pounds earlier this month.

What a shame! Not even a CCTV camera anywhere!

Now comes word that some five months later, following the killer storms, Irma and Maria, not one CCTV security camera has been reinstalled anywhere in the Territory, further placing crime solving in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, according to a Senior NDP Official who normally speaks to us on inside matters, Cabinet has agreed to release funds from the Reserve Fund to place new CCTV cameras in key locations around the islands; however, to date this has not happened or have the cameras been ordered.

Following some recent crimes, the Police relied on the use of private businesses’ CCTV surveillance cameras to help in their investigations.

CCTV cameras for RT a priority- CoP

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Michael B. Matthews told our newsroom that the access to “reserves” is a welcome boost to enhance security for all agencies following the impact of the hurricanes.

He said the RVIPF will be prioritising static cameras for Road Town “to assist where the hurricanes severely damaged our normal CCTV capability.”

He also said the RVIPF will be enhancing its marine capability in partnership with Her Majesty’s Customs and the introduction of “dedicated RVIPF dogs in support of both local policing requirements and our Ports and Airports authorities to support their security needs.”

No Crime Stoppers hotline since Irma  

In addition, many residents have confided in our newsroom that they tried calling the crime stoppers hot line located in Florida, USA for confidential tips, but they were told “the lines do not work” following the passage of the September 2017 hurricanes.

A call by our newsroom to the crime stoppers number 800 8477TIPS, moments ago Wednesday February 28, 2018 confirmed a recording saying, “the number is temporarily out of service...”

With many of the basic crime fighting tools not functional and not even a police station under repair, it begs the question, if the Governor, the government of the day, the Police Commissioner and the National Security Council are serious about fighting crime?

19 Responses to “Zero Police CCTV cameras working; Are we serious about fighting crime?”

  • Real Talk (28/02/2018, 19:46) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Well well if am fed up this place one more time .but guess what am from here so i have to deal with it .am not blaming ndp atall for the crime rate but why cant the police department fund people who wants to give info so more info can come come on man let go of the money and save lives .then please get some police that can be trusted not those rats you all have in uniform.one time a police call a friend of mines and told him boy your house is a bout get search police say you selling weed clean out now the warrant is already issued .i was like smile smile smile .
    • Outlaw (28/02/2018, 20:34) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      Real talk get serious wevarecso tired now of that old worn out story, why should money be offered to any one for information to solve senseless murders. Is this about money, or is it about saving these beautiful Virgin Islands. The force full of rats, then take your info to some reputable individuals with the hope the police will get it. If you are correct with what you are saying then why didn’t you file a report against that officer, that the force would have get rid of him, you stay silent and that rats is still in the force, you are just as bad. The question is, DO YOU really LOVE your COUNTRY?
  • wow (28/02/2018, 20:44) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Irma went wid de cameras, but tip line went since long B4 Irma, due to non-payment of fees for the use of the line in Florida. These ppl cannot be serious. LOL.
  • @ real talk (28/02/2018, 21:00) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh please the x governor say crime was the fault of the ndp lack of funding
  • When will we learn (28/02/2018, 21:05) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The double murder at West End in NOVEMBER happened just a few feet from the police station and THE CCTV camera that is positioned outside the station. Now it doesn't not take a genius to figure out had that camera been working,it would have captured footage of the killers on the scooters. Did the government scramble to get the cameras fixed or get new ones after that shooting? NO,they waited until things got worse. But remember my people God does not sleep and the innocent child's blood will be the downfall of all those responsible for her death
  • NezRez (28/02/2018, 21:50) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    The police MUST have guns NOW! Send them for training, this way they won’t have the fear they have now being unarmed and can’t protect themselves. Yes our homeland was a safe and peaceful through the years, but that isn’t the case anymore, and some drastic measures must be set in place. Tears for our young people killing each other, and yes their parents too. No one want to bury their child and not all parents are responsible for grown children who no longer live with them. We have to get our home back family, by any means necessary. The governor has to call a state of emergency like when the storms came and the serious UK police came with big guns that everyone respected. After our police are trained, then the UK police can return home. Too too too too much killings now and something must be done. We have no cameras, street lights are out in many areas. Please young people, stop the madness so you can live to see another day!
  • @@real talk (28/02/2018, 22:30) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    You say the station full of rats, wow that's terrible, then they all going die lepropisrosis rat piss seeing that so much of them is there. You know the Russian Probe all the rats are now emerging to save their own skin, the Special Counsel Guy is getting closer to his target. Do you know who that is? Asked Wiki Leaks Founder, he's trapped in a Conselet in London. You don't know who to trust. LOL.
  • Truth (28/02/2018, 22:54) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    None of the damm cameras were working before the hurricanes so some body telling more lies, the bad man them had already cut the wires
  • kkk (28/02/2018, 23:08) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply

    TWO W**** MAN INCHARGE OF CRIME YOU GO FIGURE

  • no no no (28/02/2018, 23:12) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    This should not be on the news because we don't want the crooks to know this...Make it worst, the outside world
    • @ no no mo (01/03/2018, 03:50) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Keep telling the truth VINO do not let them continue to fool the people. Without VINO the light of bvi democracy goes out
  • sam the man (01/03/2018, 03:55) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This article is deep I feel like I was reading the Washington post yall. Good job
  • enough (01/03/2018, 05:06) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cancel the festivals and invest that money in installing cameras on the light poles like in the UK

    Wuk up or safety & justice?!?
  • man (01/03/2018, 11:09) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Mathews better do something from just taking talking talking
  • Bohannon (01/03/2018, 11:19) Like (29) Dislike (1) Reply
    That Headline is disgusting. People should be in the dam streets right about now. How irresponsible can one be? THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR BEING IRRESPONSIBLE.
  • kkk (01/03/2018, 11:33) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    if the governor and police commissioner were black you all will have put much licks on them.

    These two white guys have failed on crime
  • ausar (02/03/2018, 11:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dang!

    So much for responsible government and the rule of law

    When will our government get it together?
  • Ex Expat cop (04/03/2018, 09:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Remember the big debate when traffic cameras were installed in town at the traffic lights about breach of human rights, right to privacy etc. Despite the legislation being approved the installation was fudged as the cameras were unable to read vehicle plates hence a useful criminal investigation tool was useless.
    More cameras would assist in solving serious crime, but only if there is a consensus that the slight loss of privacy is worth it. My expat view should you wish to hear it, is that if one is not doing anything illegal, then cameras, correctly managed, will not make any difference to one's daily life, but not all will agree.


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