“The BVI is by far one of the safest places to live, work and do business in the Caribbean and in the world.” This is according to Commissioner of Police of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) Michael Matthews, who was speaking at the BVI Finance’s Lunch and Learn series on Wednesday, where he provided a security update on financial services.
Commissioner Matthews last presented to BVI Finance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma during a time of heightened insecurity. Two years later, he says he feels confident in assuring the community that today “you, your families and your businesses are safe in the BVI.” He said that crime in the territory had declined, while detection had increased.
Among the lessons learned from the 2017 hurricanes, the RVIPF will implement the early deployment of police officers around the territory and have security personnel from the UK on standby when storms are imminent.
Commissioner Matthews also compared the BVI’s crime statistics with those of neighboring countries, which are ranked among the countries with the highest crime and homicide rates in the world. Matthews said that he and his team are working hard to keep the BVI’s crime rate low and to prevent crime spillover from neighboring countries.
The BVI’s crime-solving rate is among the best in the world, according to Matthews. The United Kingdom, for example, solves only 11 percent of crimes, while the BVI solves about 54 percent.
The Commissioner also praised Premier the Hon. Andrew Fahie, who he said had committed the necessary resources to getting the BVI outfitted with CCTV (closed circuit television), which will help in further deterring and solving crimes.
Noting that the get witnesses of crimes in the community to come forward was a challenge, Matthews encouraged persons to report crimes, while noting that there is a witness protection program. He also said that legislation is being considered to allow witnesses to appear before the courts without revealing their identities.
While praising the safeness of the BVI, Matthews, still encouraged vigilance in securing property -- locking cars, homes and offices.
Commenting on Matthews’ presentation, CEO of BVI Finance Elise Donovan said, “We welcome the news that the BVI is one of the safest places to do business in the world. This is important at a time when we want to attract different businesses that might be interested in bringing more substance to the jurisdiction.”
In the coming weeks, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force will present again at BVI Finance – this time on the practical applications on making businesses more secure.