Officers at the Virgin Gorda Police Station came in for sharp criticism last month when Police Commissioner Mark Collins appeared before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee, according to a report on the body’s closed-door deliberations on Dec. 1-7.

Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture and Fisheries Shereen Flax-Charles expressed dissatisfaction with the police presence on VG, and she called for various issue to be rectified in light of burglaries and other complaints, the report stated.

For instance, she “spoke about the ongoing issues when making calls to the Virgin Gorda police station and stated that reasoning of understaffing is unacceptable,” according to the report.

In response, Mr. Collins reportedly told the FSC that 16 officers are deployed on VG, but there are staff vacancies there as well. He also “noted that it is unprofessional and unacceptable for the officers on Virgin Gorda to state that they are busy and understaffed, and the matter will be rectified,” according to the report.

Other stations

Also during the SFC deliberations, Junior Minister for Tourism Alvera Maduro-Caines expressed dissatisfaction with the operational hours of the territory’s “outer police stations,” the report stated.

While noting that the territory is faced with increased crime, she made a plea for the stations to be operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the report stated. Mr. Collins agreed that the crime pattern is changing in the VI, but he maintained that the territory’s overall crime rate remains low, the report stated.

Regarding the operational hours of stations, Mr. Collins noted Ms. Maduro-Caines concerns, but said police patrols are a priority. He also suggested that stations could be staffed with auxiliary or surveillance staff, the report added.

Tourist season

Deputy Premier Kye Rymer requested greater police presence in the territory for the tourist season for “greater comfort and support for the tourists,” according to the report. Mr. Collins told the body that he is aware of the ferry and cruise schedules, and he added that officers usually patrol the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park whenever cruise ships dock. He agreed, however, that a greater presence is needed, the report stated.