(CMR) A report from the Governor of the British Virgin Islands has called for the suspension of the overseas territory's government coinciding with Premier Andrew Fahie's court appearance on drug trafficking charges in Miami on Friday.
Fahie (51), who is accused of money laundering and conspiring to import cocaine, was arrested at a Miami airport along with the managing director of the territory's Ports Authority, Oleanvine Maynard.
Friday's hearing coincided with the release of the report commissioned by Governor John Rankin, which concluded that the BVI's constitution and elected government should be suspended due to concerns about dishonest governance.
Governor Rankin had ordered an inquiry in 2021 to investigate “the corruption, abuse of office, and other serious dishonesty” in the territory's governance.
Its report found that millions of dollars of state funds were spent each year by politicians and ministries without proper process, along with serious dishonesty concerning sales of public property and widespread abuse of appointments, according to Reuters.
Fahie and Maynard were reportedly dressed in what appeared to be prison uniforms for their hearing via Zoom in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Judge Jonathan Goodman scheduled the pre-trial detention hearing for Wednesday, 4 May and a preliminary hearing for May 13.
Fahie and Maynard were arrested after they met with undercover DEA agents who were pretending to be cocaine traffickers checking out an alleged shipment of $700,000 in cash on an airplane headed for the British Virgin Islands.
“Surely following the arrest of its Premier, the (UK Foreign Office) should now take direct control of the British Virgin Islands pending a further investigation into corruption and money laundering?” Chris Bryant, an opposition Labour member of the British parliament, tweeted on Friday.