Embattled former House of Assembly (HOA) Speaker, Julian Willock has suggested he was detained on trumped-up allegations when he was held yesterday, January 10 on suspicion of human trafficking.
In a statement sent to BVI News today, Willock confirmed his arrest, but claimed that he was questioned by six ‘caucasian United Kingdom (UK) officers’ and sent on his way without any charges.
“They claimed I was being investigated on suspicion of human trafficking, because of some visa waivers I had obtained over the years,” Willock disclosed.
According to Willock, most of the visa waivers he admitted to receiving were obtained before his tenure as Speaker in the HOA.
In his statement, the former Speaker said he obtained the waivers ‘in association’ with his company, Advance Marketing and Professional Services — the parent company of the Virgin Islands
News Online (VINO) website.
But Willock claimed these were all legally acquired through the Deputy Governor’s Office.
Willock did not offer any reasons for the visa waivers he continued to receive after he became Speaker.
“It is my understanding that all persons who came via a visa waiver have since left the territory and did so as per Immigration requirements,” Willock said.
Willock, while drawing on the memory of persecuted historical figures such as Nelson Mandela and others, touted his integrity and adherence to the rule of law, which he said he observed in both his private and public life.
“I know the people of the Virgin Islands
are fully awake and still have confidence in my integrity, for it was suggested if they could not get me via the Commission of Inquiry
they had to get me another way,” the beleaguered former Speaker stated.
Willock said together with his attorney, he intends to put the ‘unfounded allegations to arrest (sic)’.
Efforts to receive a comment from the Office of the Deputy Governor proved unsuccessful up to the time of publication of this story.