As the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) continues its investigations into HM Customs on the direction of the United Kingdom (UK) retired judge Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, another person has been arrested but again had to be released with charges.
According to the RVIPF in a press today, March 22, 2023, police yesterday arrested another male on suspicion of fraud as inquiries into irregularities within HM Customs continue.
The male was released pending further investigations, the press release stated.
As the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force
(RVIPF) continues its investigations into HM Customs on the direction of
the United Kingdom (UK) retired judge Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, another
person has been arrested but again had to be released with charges.
8 warrants executed; No charges laid!
According to the RVIPF, this latest arrest brings the total to three persons detained in relation to alleged irregularities within His Majesty's Customs.
“To date, eight warrants have been executed with three of the warrants on vehicles. So far, no charges have been laid,” Police stated.
According to the press release, as this remains an ongoing investigation, no further information can be released at this time.
Many see the recent arrests and harassment of locals by UK officers as a witch-hunt under the pretext of the Commission of Inquiry
Many residents have lambasted the one-man commission's report as biased and its credibility is under attack, since all of the areas that have issues under the Governor’s portfolio (civil service, courts, police force) have not been touched in the report.
It was on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, that UK police officers arrested and released without charges Commissioner of Customs Wade N. Smith on “suspicion of breach of trust”.
In the CoI
report, the one-man Commissioner Gary R Hickinbottom
found no corruption in the Customs Department under Mr Smith’s leadership.
It was on Tuesday, February 14, 2023,
that UK Police Officers arrested and released Commissioner of Customs
Wade N. Smith on 'suspicion of breach of trust'.
Therefore, many residents see Mr Smith’s continued harassment as revenge. It was Mr Smith who debunked the UK Police Officers' claim last year when they went on a 'joy ride’ and 'bar hop' with a Government boat but claimed they were on a special operation.
Mr Smith had noted that whenever there is a special sea operation, both his department and the police are involved jointly. No UK police officers were disciplined for the abuse of power and breach of trust.
In addition, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) was involved in Human Trafficking last year, when they took a potential employee, who came to the Virgin Islands
(VI) on a vacation, to St Thomas, USVI on a police boat so he could change his immigration status. Nothing was done on this matter but today the officer is in the police force, as he was hired in October of last year.
It was Mr Smith as Comptroller of Customs, along with the Chief Immigration Officer, who made representation and provided evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter; however, it was swept under the rug and nothing was done.