Steps forward, Steps backwards for BVI

Published on May 4th, 2022

Since the destruction in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been trying to get whole again.

That included Bitter End Yacht Club, located in the North Sound, and home of the renowned Pro Am Regatta which enjoyed its 30th edition in 2016, and the venue for the amateur-only Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship.

The resort had been wiped from its footings on Virgin Gorda, but has recently reopened (above) after a complete rebuild to rave reviews. With its marina, market, watersports, accommodations, and dine and drink options, the resort is back to welcoming visitors to its beaches.

However, it has not gone as smoothly elsewhere for this British overseas territory.

During the pandemic in 2020, the BVI border was good for business as Customs agents heavily fined any boater that mistakenly crossed the line.

In January 2021, BVI government corruption claims involved the misuse of taxpayers’ money, concerns about government procurement, political interference in public appointments, and a climate of fear in public service.

In March 2022, BVI Customs officials detained 184 boats from three charter yacht companies for violating maritime regulations, issuing massive fines during the peak season for Caribbean cruising and racing.

And now in April 2022, Miami federal prosecutors have charged BVI Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie, Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Oleanvine Pickering Maynard (O. Maynard), and the Port Director’s son, Kadeem Stephan Maynard (K. Maynard), with cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracies.

The three defendants allegedly agreed to facilitate the safe passage through BVI ports of tons of Colombian cocaine headed to Miami. In exchange, they would make millions, which would be funneled through different businesses and bank accounts to hide the money’s source.

According to the allegations of the criminal complaint affidavit, during March and April, Fahie, O. Maynard, and K. Maynard participated in a series of meetings with the purported drug trafficker to broker the deal.

Fahie and O. Maynard would secure required licenses, shield the cocaine-filled boats while in BVI’s ports, and grease the palm of a potentially problematic government official, says the affidavit.

They discussed bringing 3,000 kilograms of cocaine through a BVI port as a test run, followed by 3,000 kilograms once or twice a month for four months. Fahie and O. Maynard would get a percentage of the cocaine’s sales – millions of dollars, it is alleged.

Fahie and O. Maynard were arrested in Miami while K. Maynard was arrested in St. Thomas, USVI.

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