On Friday, police recovered the body of Waleid Kachhour from the ocean next to the Sea Cows Bay Community Centre, making him the fourth victim in a string of violent deaths this month. Police, however, have been tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the incidents, releasing no more than 21 sentences in total about the four deaths and declining to provide more information.
“These investigations are very much alive,” Police Information Officer Diane Drayton said via WhatsApp yesterday in response to a question about the deaths. “However, no more information can be [released] to the public at this time.”
In two brief statements on Friday, police first announced that a body had been found near the community centre and later added that the body’s hands and feet were bound and the case was being treated as a suspected homicide.
On Saturday, police identified Mr. Kachhour, 40, a native of Brazil residing in Manuel Reef, but did not provide any more information about the death.
The discovery of Mr. Kacchour’s body came 10 days after Earl “Bob” Hodge, who has dodged multiple extradition attempts by the United States for drug trafficking charges, was shot and killed in his Hannahs Estate home on the night of Feb. 9, and two weeks after Rodney Simmonds Sr. and Andrew Skerritt were found dead in their respective Threadfall and Carrot Bay homes on Feb. 5.
Police have been similarly reticent about all three deaths.
Although there was widespread speculation linking Messrs. Simmonds’ and Skerritt’s deaths, Police Information Officer Diane Drayton did not answer questions about the veracity of the circulating rumours, and she declined to elaborate on two statements she issued on Feb. 5 containing a total of eight sentences.
In those statements, Ms. Drayton identified the pair and confirmed that they were found dead at their respective residences, but she did not say whether their deaths were linked, whether they had been shot, whether police had ruled the killings murders, or if any suspects had been identified.
“Detectives are continuing their investigations into the circumstances that led to their deaths. Therefore, the [police force] is unable to give any more details at this time,” Ms. Drayton stated. After news broke about the killing of Mr. Hodge, Ms. Drayton published a statement that included two sentences about the shooting and one asking the public to assist in police’s investigations.
And while police have said little about these deaths or about how much progress they have made in their investigations, they have nevertheless sought the public’s assistance, urging people with information to come forward.
“Police are asking persons who have information that can assist homicide detectives in their investigation to contact the [police] intelligence unit at 368-9339,” Ms. Drayton stated.
In light of the recent violence, Governor John Rankin on Monday stated that he will work with Police Commissioner Michael Matthews to increase the resources allocated to preventing violent crimes and solving the recent killings, though he did not specify what resources will be deployed and where they will go.
“While the British Virgin Islands remain one of the safest places in the region, the violence and deaths caused by such crime afflicts the whole community,” Mr. Rankin said. “No effort must be spared in strengthening our security, including our border security, preventing those responsible for such violence and loss of life from continuing their criminal activities.”