The fact that there are now three new unsolved murders in the Territory is not sitting well with Junior Minister for Tourism and At Large Representative, Hon. Archibald Christian who on Tuesday made an appeal for information on the progress of investigations.
While speaking in the private members business section of the 21 March continuation of the House of Assembly Hon. Christian recalled the Friday 10 March 24-hours spaced death of Ashburn Dawson and Alston Penn. On that Friday evening Dawson, 30, died after a shooting incident near the Sunday Morning Well, while the body of Penn, 39, was found on Windy Hill Road that morning.
In first addressing the death of Penn, Hon. Christian said: “Madame Speaker Alston Penn is a person that is known to every single elected member in this House. He has been for many years, and Madame Speaker despite what you may think, say or feel about the young man – he was a human being.”
“I am not going to pretend this afternoon that I am not upset about his death because when a person has physical limitations what can cause someone to take his life in the manner in which it was taken. What could he have done that warranted the manner in which he was killed, and left along the public road like a piece of meat,” the At Large Representative asked.
He further said: “Madame Speaker all of us are human beings and none of us were created perfect…I have my imperfections and I apologise to anybody…but Alston couldn’t apologise to anyone he was just who he was.”
In making a call for information on the murders, Hon. Christian announced: “I am launching my own personal appeal this afternoon to anyone who may know information that can lead to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Alston’s untimely death to please cooperate with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.”
The Junior Minister for Tourism stated that he is just as saddened by the manner in which Dawson was killed: “Friday evening young Ashburn Dawson was gunned down right here in a place where the Proclamation of Emancipation was read over 150 years ago. A place where people are supposed to be free to congregate to have discussions, to socialise, to do whatever they want in a legal manner – his life was taken down there Friday evening; less than 24 hours after young Penn’s body was found along the roadside…”
He also remembered that businessman Frankie Fahie was also shot recently: “Months earlier Frankie Fahie was killed in Vanterpool so to date in this lovely Territory of the Virgin Islands we have three unsolved murders and they haven’t been solved yet.”
In stressing that persons should say what they know about the three deaths Hon. Christian said: “Someone saw, someone heard, someone knows something. If we really love our country those who saw heard or know something should cooperate with the authorities — that is my plead…For the public to please bring some peace back to our society, to our community. This is a beautiful place it’s a peaceful place: the events of the last two weeks are not what is normal about the BVI.”
He added: “The police, I know, they are working desperately, and urgently to bring a rest to those three cases; but we have to ask ourselves as a society how much longer are we prepared to stay silent, and pretend that these things are not happening.”