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London plans to resume direct governance of the British Virgin Islands after the arrest of their Prime Minister in the USA

London plans to resume direct governance of the British Virgin Islands after the arrest of their Prime Minister in the USA

London, United Kingdom | AFP | Friday 29/04/2022 – After the arrest on Thursday in the United States, for drug trafficking and money laundering, of the Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands, a British investigation report published on Friday recommends suspending their autonomy and returning to a regime of direct government by London.

The Prime Minister of the archipelago, Andrew Fahie, appeared in US court on Friday after his arrest at an airport in northern Miami (Florida, southeast), for drug trafficking and money laundering, after an operation undercover investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The British report recommends that Governor John Rankin, appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of the government in London, take direct control of the overseas territory for two years.

“The arrest yesterday of the Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering is extremely worrying and underlines the need for urgent action,” British Foreign Secretary Liz said on Friday. Truss, in a statement.

Overseas Territories Minister Amanda Milling will travel “immediately” to the territory to speak with Mr Rankin and key stakeholders, Ms Truss said. “We will then announce a clear path forward.”

The report on the investigation into allegations of corruption and abuse of power under the Fahie government, which was already underway before the arrest, was released “as a matter of urgency” on Friday.

The document says the investigation has shown “clearly that substantial legislative and constitutional changes are needed to restore the standards of governance to which the people of the British Virgin Islands are entitled”.

cocaine for dollars

Mr Rankin called for calm in the islands after the ‘shocking news’ of Mr Fahie’s arrest.

“The Overseas Territories are an integral part of the British family. The Government is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the people of the British Virgin Islands,” said Ms Milling.

The director of the port services of the Virgin Islands, Oleanvine Maynard, and her son Kadeem Maynard were also arrested for the same facts, indicated in a press release sent to AFP the head of the American anti-drug agency (DEA), Anne Milgram.

“Anyone involved in importing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held responsible, regardless of their position,” Milgram said.

The three defendants were arrested at a North Miami airport when they had an appointment with Mexican drug traffickers, in reality DEA undercover agents, who were to give them $700,000 in cash in exchange for their helping to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York, according to court documents cited by the American press.

Mr. Fahie and Ms. Maynard appeared with four other detainees in a small courtroom on Friday for a hearing by video link during which the charges against them were read.

Judge Jonathan Goodman of the Court for the Southern District of Florida said they were charged with conspiracy to import five pounds or more of cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.

In January last year, the British government had already expressed “significant concerns about the deterioration of the state of governance in the British Virgin Islands, as well as the potential vulnerability of the Islands to serious organized crime”.

The British Virgin Islands, which has about 35,000 inhabitants, is located east of Puerto Rico and is known to be one of the main tax havens on the planet.

The Caribbean archipelago has self-government, but a governor is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II.

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