There are many Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) lovers in the Territory and over the years these persons have been known to travel to the US Virgin Islands just to buy that particular fast food item. The closure of the border from March created a craving and a few enterprising seafarers decided to offer a service providing KFC. However, this chicken trade is being flagged as a breach of the Territory’s effort to keep the BVI COVID 19 free.
The concern was shared by Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews during his interview with JTV news on 25 August. In chiding the KFC entrepreneurs Matthews said, “When you see adverts by our ferry companies, for example, saying hey, we’ll get you Kentucky Fried Chicken whilst we are in St Thomas, what does that tell you about social responsibility. Why would you be offering to add a service that might risk somebody going on to land and collecting an additional item, that really isn’t an essential here?”
The Top Cop described these ventures as daring not because they venture freely into an area with known COVID cases, but because their entrepreneurs boldly advertise their service on social media. In condemning this alleged boldness the Commissioner said, “these people are blatant, they put it out on social media with numbers saying call us and we’ll go shopping for you in St Thomas … when it is not authorised to do that, and frankly, some of those people are going to find themselves facing the magistrate as a result of those actions,” he said.
The Commissioner has been frequently addressing the public about COVID 19 matters. Previously he made a plea in the form of a public service announcement that was released on 21 August. That announcement became timely and by Monday it was announced that the Territory had gone into a situation where there were actual COVID 19 clusters.
Noting that the borders and the alleged smuggling is a threat to the BVI’s efforts to stem the corona virus the Police Commissioner declared: “It has become obvious, that a very small minority of people are still intent on trying to smuggle goods or persons backwards or forward into the Territory from locations outside, particularly the US Virgin Islands.”
“This must stop, this is placing our communities at risk, it is placing my officers at risk,” Matthews further declared in the short announcement. He also stated that there is no reason and no excuse persons can use as to why they decided to breach the BVI’s borders.
“Our borders remain closed, please do not attempt and breach the borders, whether it be for shopping, for meeting someone or just generally going out for a sail, you are putting us at risk. I ask your co-operation in keeping the Territory safe,” the Commissioner said.
The Top Cop further called on the public to join in the policing of the situation by reporting such smuggling activities. “If you see something, please say something” the Commissioner declared as he pointed out that reports can be made by dialing 311.
“Please do not take risks and allow others to take risks with your lives and the lives of my officers, let’s all work together to keep our community safe,” he said.