Reuters News Agency reports that a United States Judge has ruled that embattled British Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier Andrew Fahie is not subject to pre-trial detention.
According to the news agency, Judge Alicia Otazo Reyes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that Fahie will not face pre-trial detention while awaiting proceedings on drug and money laundering charges.
Reuters reported that the judge’s ruling ran contrary to a U.S. prosecutor’s request and sided with Fahie’s attorney Theresa Van Vliet that he would not flee because of ties to the United States, where his two daughters live.
According to the Miami Herald, Fahie received a $500,000 bond that would allow him to be released from prison as he awaits trial.
The publication quoted Judge Alicia Otazo Reyes saying that the BVI Premier could remain in Miami.
But it would be on condition that he would be confined to the rented apartment of his two college-age daughters.
In addition, he and his family would have to surrender their passports, and he would have to wear an ankle bracelet monitor, plus pay the sizable corporate surety bond.
The Miami Herald reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederic Shadley said the government would appeal the decision, meaning it’s unclear when and if Fahie would be released.
The latest developments come amid a turbulent period for the BVI, where a Commission of Inquiry report’s proposal for direct rule by the U.K. brought street demonstrations on Monday.
Acting Premier Natalio Wheatley, whom the ruling Virgin Islands Party (VIP) wants to replace Fahie as Premier, is against the direct rule recommendation.
Minister for Overseas Territories Amanda Milling, who travelled to the BVI to meet with various groups, issued a statement Wednesday noting that the Commission of Inquiry Report has also raised ‘very serious’ concerns about the failures of governance and dishonesty by elected officials.
“Action is needed now to: strengthen the foundations of the Territory; deliver a better public service; maintain a strong and resilient economy; and create better opportunities for the people of the BVI. This is what I heard you want during my visit,” Milling declared.
“As I return to the U.K., I have a lot to consider. I will share the feedback from the range of individuals and groups I have met with the Foreign Secretary, and we will discuss what steps to take next,” she disclosed.