Premier's Office
Release Date:
Thursday, 23 January 2020 - 10:08pm

A pleasant Good Day and God’s Blessings to all Virgin Islanders and residents.

The Government of the Virgin Islands wishes to respond to the malicious, unprofessional and fabricated reporting on the Facebook media page, AUB Media House on Wednesday, 22 January, 2020, under the headline, “MARIJUANA PLOT EXPOSED; BVI BEWARE”.

The AUB article is an absolute falsehood as it tries, shamelessly and unsuccessfully, to link the BVI Government’s initiatives to establish a medicinal cannabis industry in the Territory with a totally unrelated report in a foreign news website. The objective of this fabrication was to create a sensational story to lure readers to the Facebook page, to create and incite unease among the BVI’s population with respect to the medicinal cannabis initiative, and to scandalize the sitting Government of the Virgin Islands.

Your Government is not afraid of scrutiny and we encourage the media to rigorously hold us to account – but this must be done according to professional standards, at the core of which is truth.

What are the facts?

The facts are that on 22 January, 2020, OffshoreAlert, an international website, published a report on an alleged scandal involving a company in Portugal - Symtomax Group - that is supposedly involved in that country’s cannabis industry. Principals of that Symtomax, according to OffshoreAlert, are connected to an offshore company that was registered in the BVI.

Nothing in the OffshoreAlert report even remotely suggests that Symtomax  or the BVI-registered company were connected to your Government in any way, nor that the companies, their principals or associates were involved in any way with the current efforts to establish a medicinal cannabis industry in the BVI.

Despite this, AUB Media House took it upon itself to deliberately manufacture a link by juxtaposing the company’s line of business, the principals’ involvement in the medicinal cannabis industry and their relationship to a BVI-registered company, and using that as justification to create an alarm that a “marijuana plot” has been exposed, of which the BVI must “beware”.

The private activities of individuals and companies in the Virgin Islands, and certainly elsewhere in the world, is independent to the Government of the Virgin Islands. To link the BVI Government’s policy direction, and trying to make it seem as if what the Territory is doing is in some way connected to the possible activities of private individuals scattered across a dozen countries and several continents, is gross dishonesty, professional misconduct and malicious, political mischief.

We will get to the bottom of this and when we do then those behind this malicious action will be exposed.

For the record:

  1. The Government of the Virgin Islands has not entered into any contract or agreement with the Symtomax Group or with any company, with respect to the BVI’s medicinal cannabis industry. Any such statement or inference is an absolute fabrication. And,
  2. Both the Speech from the Throne, which was read on 14 November, 2019, and the Budget Address, which was delivered in the House of Assembly on 19 December, 2019, confirm that the Government of the Virgin Islands is currently at the stage of preparing to draft the necessary legislation that would be presented to Cabinet, to stakeholders for consultation, and subsequently to the House of Assembly (HOA). This would also involve a period of public education.

The Government of the Virgin Islands will remain steadfast in purpose and diligent action, and we will not be daunted by such political mischief such as what AUB Media has been caught propagating.

I thank you and may God continue to bless our Virgin Islands.