by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Following his arrest in Miami, FL, Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Andrew Fahie has requested his immediate release from federal detention on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, according to a report published by Offshore Alert in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida on May 2.
The notice stated that the Premier was seeking the invocation of all rights to immunity under international and domestic law as the elected and sitting head of government of the British Virgin Islands, a British Overseas Territory, including immunity from arrest and detention and his immediate and unconditional release from detention by the United States.
According to reports, there is no indication that his request has been or will be granted.
Premier Fahie, the Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority, Mrs. Oleanvine Maynard and her son Kadeem Maynard, are charged with “conspiring to import more than five kilos of cocaine into the United States and conspiring to commit money laundering.”
A pre-trial detention hearing is set for Wednesday, May 4 and his arraignment for May 13.
In the BVI, the Acting Premier, the Honourable Dr Natalio Wheatley, is set to become the next Premier after the Congress of the Virgin Islands Party unanimously voted in his favour to lead the territory.
Dr. Wheatley says the VIP Administration will also be seeking the resignation of Premier Fahie.
“Notwithstanding all that has taken place, the business and interests of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands people who come first. In this regard, the elected members of the government have been engaged in various meetings to set our course for moving forward. We recognise that given the practical realities of the current Premier situation, it is incumbent that steps be taken to have a new premier substantively appointed to this critical constitutional post. The Virgin Islands has several pressing issues requiring urgent and devoted attention, not the least of which is the discussions with the United Kingdom on the Commission of Inquiry recommendation, and this requires leadership on the ground.”
After the Commission of Inquiry Report (COI) recommendations were announced by Governor His Excellency John Rankin, one of the main recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry Report (COI) was to temporarily suspend the British Virgin Islands’ Constitution for at least two years.
Wheatley said that direct rule of the territory by the United Kingdom Government is not an acceptable option.
“As I indicated on prior occasions, we will be communicating our position to the Honorable Minister that direct rule is not an acceptable option to us.”
People of the BVI took to the streets in protest of the proposed suspension and direct British involvement in governing the territory on Monday.
Youth activist Via Donovan-Hodge addressed the protesters and asked if they wanted to be re-colonized.
Minister for the Overseas Territories, the Rt. Hon. Amanda Milling is currently in the BVI and will meet with; Governor John Rankin CMG, Acting Premier Honourable Natalio Wheatley, leaders of the parties represented in the House of Assembly, and other key individuals and groups in the territory to discuss the range of recommendations contained in the COI Report.