The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has been thrown into mourning following the passing of Sergeant Algon Smikle this morning, July 17 who was battling COVID-19.
Police Commissioner, Mark Collins, in a message to officers, said that it is difficult to put into words any emotions that adequately capture the shock we all feel right now. Suffice it to say, this loss hits way too close to home.
"I did not know Sergeant Smikle as well as many of you, but I feel the same sadness that one within the family is torn away so suddenly and tragically. To close friends and particularly his colleagues within the Armed Response Unit, I know this news must be even more difficult. I spoke with Algon's family to let them know we all share in their grief, and I will visit with his wife and the children at an appropriate time," Commissioner Collins stated.
He added, "I will simply say here that this is nature of COVID
-19. It is merciless and unapologetic and leaves behind a path of destruction when it is allowed to ravage any society. I hoped I would never see this play out in the BVI."
The Commissioner explained that the opportunity to vaccinate against this deadly disease continues today and tomorrow at the Festival Grounds all day.
"All I will say is please avail yourselves of that opportunity. More importantly, I implore all within the establishment to apply the public safety protocols at all times. It is paramount that we do not neglect to take the necessary precautions to maximise the safety for ourselves and that of others. There is no place for complacency," Collins stated.
He reiterate the need for officers to follow the RVIPF Updated Operational Protocol which gives specific instructions to reduce chances for transmission of the virus between shifts, officers and persons taken into custody.
According to Collins, the protocol further gives instructions on how officers, workstations and vehicles are to be treated at the end of and beginning each shift. Similarly, officers are instructed on how to continue to respond to needs of the public in a safe way. Please do all to ensure these instructions are carried out.
"Never assume that the person you encounter is safe and therefore drop your guard. There is no way of knowing the other person's status and there is no way of knowing where our colleague spent time while away from the station. I promise! We will get through this together if each takes personal responsibility. Please stay safe," the Commissioner stated.
Officially, the BVI has recorded 14 COVID
-19 related deaths.