Third District Representative and Opposition Member, Hon. Julian Fraser lamented practices of theft which he says have increased since the passage of killer hurricane Irma.
During the questions and answers segment of the 13 November sitting of the House of Assembly the Opposition Member canvassed the effect lootings have had on the community and noted that looters have moved on to theft.
Hon. Fraser questioned Government’s decision to move the curfew to a later time, citing that sections of the Territory remain without electricity and noting that many businesses suffered damages from the recent hurricanes and are therefore not secured.
In response Premier Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith explained that the safety of residents is a concern for Government. However, he pointed out that the curfew was extended as a means to assist businesses: “Madame Speaker we are very cognizant of the safety of our people which is one of the priorities in maintaining law and order. The curfew was moved back to allow business operations and to assist local businesses…the curfew hours enable later opening hours for local businesses thereby providing much needed income and greater recreation opportunity for the communities.”
Premier Smith said that shortening the curfew was not an arbitrary decision, but rather one that was taken in conjunction with Cabinet and the police to gradually return things to normal. The Premier said that the decision was also based on the fact that there is no more looting.
Hon Smith also noted that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the assisting overseas police have a security plan in place for safety and security.
Hon. Fraser on the other hand was not convinced by the Premier’ answer and questioned if the extended curfew was worth the security risks: “Has an assessment been done with the business opportunity versus the risks to citizens having the curfew lifted because of the security and which was more important?”
“Of course there is no more looting — what happened now is that there is theft. There not gonna loot, they are stealing our property now. People who have gone into reconstruction they have to store their material off site in order to conduct their construction business because of theft,” the Opposition Member added.