British Virgin Islands protesters condemn UK direct rule plan | News

Report commissioned by Queen’s consultant had known as for Caribbean territory to be successfully ruled by London.

Tons of of individuals have protested within the British Virgin Islands (BVI) towards a proposal to place the abroad British territory beneath the direct management of the UK.

The rally on Monday got here days after the BVI premier was arrested in the US city of Miami on drug-related fees.

A report released on Friday that was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth’s consultant to the territory stated the BVI ought to be successfully ruled from London to “restore the requirements of governance” that folks there “are entitled to”.

A day earlier, BVI Premier Andrew Fahie and the territory’s director of ports have been jailed following a sting operation by US authorities.

On Monday, activists gathered outdoors the workplace of Governor John Rankin within the capital, Highway City, on the island of Tortola, chanting slogans and holding indicators that stated “No UK rule”.

“Our message to the UK authorities and to the world: there will probably be no direct rule on this land,” stated demonstrator Luce Hodge-Smith.

The rally coincided with a go to by Amanda Milling, a British Minister of State for Asia and the Center East, to debate the findings of the report.

“Yesterday I arrived within the BVI following the publication of the Fee of Inquiry,” Milling wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“I sit up for partaking with a spread of individuals [including] BVI leaders, opposition, neighborhood teams and sector specialists to hearken to views on what’s in the very best pursuits of the individuals of BVI.”

The BVI, a self-governing Caribbean archipelago, is house to roughly 35,000 individuals and is an abroad territory of the UK, which supervises its defence and international coverage.

It’s also one of many world’s main offshore tax havens. Each the native authorities and London have been accused by anti-corruption campaigners of turning a blind eye to the illicit flows of international cash via the territory.

Final week’s report, led by British decide Sir Gary Hickinbottom, concluded that politicians spent thousands and thousands of {dollars} of state funds yearly with out correct course of. It additionally discovered “critical dishonesty” in relation to gross sales of public property and widespread abuse of appointments.

“Until probably the most pressing and drastic steps are taken, the present sad state of affairs – with elected officers intentionally ignoring the tenets of fine governance giving rise to an atmosphere by which the dangers of dishonesty in relation to public determination making and funding proceed unabated, and the implications of permitting such an atmosphere to flourish – will go on indefinitely,” it stated (PDF).

The doc was commissioned in early 2021, however its launch coincided with Fahie’s arrest.

US officers at Miami-Opa-locka Government Airport took Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard, director of the territory’s Ports Authority, into custody on Thursday after they allegedly agreed to just accept cash from undercover brokers posing as Mexican drug traffickers, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

The US Justice Department stated it charged Fahie, Maynard and his son with “cocaine trafficking and cash laundering conspiracies for agreeing to facilitate the protected passage via BVI ports of tons of Colombian cocaine headed to Miami”.

In a courtroom submitting on Monday, Fahie’s lawyer claimed that he enjoys immunity from prosecution within the US because the constitutional head of presidency of the British abroad territory.

The premier’s arrest follows the extradition of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to the US, the place he’s dealing with drug trafficking fees.

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