London plans to resume direct rule in the British Virgin Islands after the arrest of their prime minister

LONDON | After Thursday’s arrest in the United States, for drug trafficking and money laundering, by 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 of London.

• Also read: The Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands was arrested in Florida for drug trafficking

The archipelago’s prime minister, Andrew Fahie, appeared in a U.S. court on Friday after he was arrested at an airport north of Miami on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, following an undercover operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA. ).

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

Andrew Fahie

Photo taken from the Virgin Islands Government website

Andrew Fahie

“Yesterday’s arrest of the Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering is extremely disturbing and underscores the need for immediate 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 to Mr Rankin and key stakeholders, Ms Truss said. “Then we announce a clear path forward.”

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

The document states that the investigation showed “clearly that major 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 on the islands after the ‘shocking news’ of Mr Fahie’s arrest.

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

The director of Virgin Islands port services, 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 the importation of dangerous drugs into the United States is liable, 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 fact DEA undercover agents, who would give them $ 700,000 cash in exchange for their help in smuggling 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 via video link where 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 state governance in the British Virgin Islands, as well as the potential vulnerability of the Islands to serious organized crime”.

The British Virgin Islands, with a population of approximately 35,000, are located east of Puerto Rico and are known as one of the major tax havens on the planet.

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

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