The security system of the Virgin Islands came in for criticism from Independent At Large candidate Mr Lesmore Smith, as he lashed out at the system’s failure to quickly identify the body of a man fatally shot in the heart of Road Town on February 12, 2023.
“Just recently, we had someone shot and killed in our street, it took us roughly one month to identify who that person was,” Mr Smith lamented during his campaign meeting in North Sound, Virgin Gorda on April 3, 2024.
The body of Jahkeem Christopher, 23, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadians who was visiting the [British] Virgin Islands (VI), was positively identified by family members residing on Tortola, police announced only on February 27, 2023, just over two weeks after the killing.
“Are you saying a country with thirty thousand people, we cannot detect one person lying in our street, it took us one month, thirty days, thirty thousand people to find out exactly who that person is?”
The body of Jahkeem Christopher, 23, a
native of St. Vincent and the Grenadians who was visiting the [British]
Virgin Islands (VI), was positively identified by family members
residing on Tortola some two weeks after the murder on February 12,
‘Hurting families with no answers’
Stating that he has what it takes to fix this shortcoming, Mr Smith said, “I am recommending with our law enforcement department, with our Immigration and Customs, which is our border and our frontline security, we can put in the right infrastructure to ensure every person visiting our country legally or coming into our country illegally, we can be able to detect them through means of electronic mechanisms and ensure that our borders and our people are safe and secure.”
Mr Smith said he has been exposed to the fields of law enforcement and security and he would use that experience to improve the security of the territory.
“I am saying to you over the past couple of years in our streets we had so many different murders in broad daylight. Up to now, there are some hurting parents, hurting families with no answers. I am saying to you, if we design the proper security structure in our country, we can detect and determine what’s happening in and around us,” Mr Smith, who was initially running with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) but was taken off the party’s slate for another candidate, said.