By Michael L. Jarvis London UK
In the wake of the arrest in Miami of the Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the British government says it will push for the urgent publication of the report by a UK Commission of Inquiry into allegations of corruption in the territory.
BVI Premier Andrew Fahie was arrested in Miami on Thursday (April 28th) on charges including drug smuggling, cocaine possession and money laundering.
In a statement shortly after the arrest was announced, the UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, said: “I am appalled by these serious allegations. This arrest demonstrates the importance of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry...I have spoken to the Governor of the BVI and he will be holding an emergency meeting of the Territory’s Cabinet later today (Thursday). He will set out next steps tomorrow, including urgent publication of the Inquiry’s report.”
In a statement, current BVI Governor, John Rankin, said: “I realise this will be shocking news for people in the territory. And I would call for calm at this time.”
The BVI (British Virgin Islands) is a British Overseas Territory.
The UK-funded and initiated Commission of Inquiry was set up in 2021 at the behest of the former Governor, Gus Jaspert.
Its remit was “to establish whether there is evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty that has taken place in public office in recent years, and if so what conditions allowed this to happen.”
There are no direct links reported between the remit of the Inquiry and the Miami arrest of Premier Fahie and a senior official of the territory’s ports authority.
The arrest of Premier Fahie is being widely reported in the UK, US, Caribbean and international media.
According to a BBC news report and analysis of the shocking development: “Mr Fahie, the elected head of government of the British overseas territory, was arrested by US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials in Florida, alongside senior BVI port official Oleanvine Maynard.
A third person, Kadeem Maynard - Ms Maynard’s son - was also arrested on Thursday in connection with the undercover DEA case.
The arrests were made after DEA agents pretended to be cocaine traffickers from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel - said to be the largest supplier of illegal drugs to the US market and formerly run by now-imprisoned drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The trio have been charged with conspiracy to import more than 5kg (11lb) of cocaine into the US and conspiring to commit money laundering, authorities said.” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61266526
In its analysis, the BBC said: “There have long been questions about the way the British Virgin Islands have been run. Since January last year, Andrew Fahie has been the subject of an inquiry into allegations of misgovernment and corruption. But now the premier of the British Overseas Territory is in custody, facing charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.”
Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry last year, Mr Fahie denied that there was any corruption in the BVI. He said: “The key to any country is its reputation, but so far, and thank God for that, there is no evidence provided in the COI showing that the BVI is corrupt.”
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