While the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has been stained with allegations of corruption within its ranks from time to time, Police Commissioner Michael Matthews has implored residents of the British Virgin Islands to speak up on unsolved murders like the shooting death of 11-year-old Trinity Moses.
He made the passionate plea while addressing the issue of crime in the territory on the My BVI Radio Show on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
Moses, along with Franklyn Penn, succumbed to gunshot wounds on November 22, 2017, along the West End road. Ramona Moses, the mother of the 11-year-old who was also inside the vehicle when it came under attack by scooter riders, was wounded.
Matthews said this double homicide was “one moment in my policing career here in the BVI that is still sitting with me like it was yesterday.”
“I never forget that we haven’t captured that killer and whilst we captured many other people since and charged them with the most serious of offences and got them locked up awaiting trials and so forth… every now and again there is a shocking moment in history. And, when I look at that moment back in time in 2017, and that little girl was lying asleep in the back of the car when an automatic weapon was fired into that vehicle by somebody on a scooter, and I don’t understand how our community has stayed so quiet about that,” Matthews stated.
The Top Cop said he is beseeching residents to assist the police in their crime-fighting journey.
“I suppose the message that I am putting back here is to say that the police can’t do it alone. If you are really being truthful to yourselves, we gotta do it together. We can’t continue on this road of people saying I am not prepared to come forward; I am not prepared to say anything because there are ways that information can be given to the force without identifying who’s giving it to them and not every officer in the force is corrupt despite what the media will make of recent events here.”
He added, “So my message will remain very, very clear, we cannot do it alone, this has to be in partnership with the community. It is time for the community to stand up and say this is not good enough. It is time for the community to say we don’t want guns on the streets, we don’t want guns in the homes, and it is time for the community to declare outrage."
He also shared that he understands the fear, but 'let's get angry about this too'.
"When I think back to that night when that little girl died, I didn’t see large groups of the community protesting at the Road Town Police Station about the death of an 11-year-old schoolgirl here. Nothing happened. Nobody came forward, and we still haven’t detected that crime, and that is one example of what I am talking about, so if we are going to be serious about this, let’s get serious, and let's do this together,” Matthews stated.