Senior minister distances himself from accusations facing Premier Fahie

May 06, 2022 in Regional

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (CMC) — Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye M Rymer has sought to distance himself from the allegations facing Premier Andrew Fahie, who was released Wednesday on a US$500,000 bond by a United States court pending his trial on cocaine trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy charges.

The 51-year-old premier of the British Overseas Territory was arrested last Thursday during a sting operation at the Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport, along with the managing director of the BVI Ports Authority, Oleanvine Maynard, and her son Kadeem.

“While I respect due process and the presumption of innocence that is the right of all persons accused of wrongdoing, I do not condone the alleged actions of the premier, Honourable Andrew A Fahie, that have led to his arrest in the United States, and I distance myself from those allegations,” Rymer said in a statement.”

Rymer said as a Virgin Islander (VI), he takes pride in the rich heritage and the legacy of VI foreparents, who have endured many struggles to “ensure that our birth right to these islands remains in our hands and that we continue to build our society into the home that everyone can be proud of”.

He said leadership and public office are held on trust on behalf of the people and anyone who knowingly and for selfish reasons violates this sacred duty, dishonours generations past, present and future.

Rymer said since taking office in 2019, he has dedicated his time to the single purpose of developing the Virgin Islands and lifting the quality of life of the VI people.

“I, therefore, share in the hurt and outrage that our people are feeling at this time,” he said, adding that the self-seeking personal actions of a few; however, do not and must not define the people of the Virgin Islands.

Fahie’s attorney, Theresa Van Vliet, in filing a pre-trial release request with the Miami federal court, said her client was not a flight risk as he had ties to the US where his two daughters live.

Fahie had requested his release, claiming he is immune from prosecution because he is the elected, constitutional head of government of the BVI.

However, the US Department of Justice said no such immunity exists because the BVI is not a sovereign nation.