Shortly before the premier of the British Virgin Islands appeared before a US judge on charges of cocaine smuggling and money laundering, a commission of inquiry in London hurriedly published a report urging the UK to take direct control of the Caribbean territory, citing systemic corruption.
BVI Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie made a Zoom appearance on Friday before a US federal judge. He was arrested in Miami, Florida on Thursday, along with BVI Ports Authority director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard. They face drug trafficking and money laundering charges in a scheme the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claims involved Mexican cartels and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Just hours before Fahie was due in court, the commission of inquiry led by Judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom published its final report, recommending that London should dissolve the islands’ elected government, suspend their constitution, and impose direct rule.
Successive governments had “deliberately sought to avoid good governance by not putting processes in place and where such processes are in place by passing them or ignoring them as and when they wish – which is regrettably often,” Hickinbottom said in the report.