British Virgin Islands: who is premier Andrew Fahie BVI appointed by Queen - and why is he detained in the US?

The Premier of the British Virgin Islands who was appointed by the Queen is held in Miami after being busted for an alleged drug plot

Amanda Milling, the Minister for Overseas Territories, has travelled the British Virgin Islands for talks after its prime minister appeared in a US court on drug trafficking allegations.

Andrew Fahie, the premier of the British Virgin Islands, is currently being held in the US after being apprehended in Miami on 28 April over an alleged drug plot.

Fahie was appointed to his role of premier by the Queen in 2019 and has been in charge of running the Caribbean island ever since.

According to US officials, he has been accused of conspiring to import a controlled substance and money laundering.

Here’s everything you need to know about the alleged plot.

Who is Andrew Fahie?

Andrew Fahie the Premier of the Virgin Islands has been detained in the US for alleged drug trafficking.

Andrew Fahie is the premier of the British Virgin Islands, after winning the election in 2019.

He has had a political career since 1999, when he was elected as the 1st District representative, a post which he has held ever since and has been the chairman of the Virgin Islands Party since 2016.

Fahie is married to Sheila Fahie and the pair have three children.

Why has he been detained in the US?

According to US officials, the 51-year old has been accused of being part of a drug trafficking plot and money laundering.

The Miami Herald reported that Fahie was caught up in a sting operation which saw DEA agents posing as cocaine traffickers from the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.

Fahie allegedly agreed to let the cartel use the British Virgin Island’s port to transport their drugs for a payment of £560,000.

In a statement British Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “This afternoon, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Andrew Fahie, was arrested in the United States on charges related to drugs trafficking and money laundering.

“I am appalled by these serious allegations.”

This is not the first time the government of the British Virgin Islands has made headlines for alleged corruption.

Last year it turned out Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox had made hundreds of thousands of pounds after acting as a lawyer for Fahie during a British government inquiry into corruption in the island.

Fahie has denied all allegations that he is involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

The British Virgin Islands are a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean

What does a Premier do in the Virgin Islands?

Fahie was appointed the premier of the British Virgin Islands in February 2019 after winning the island’s election.

This role is similar to the prime minister role in Britain, with Fahie in charge of overseeing the Virgin Islands public service and government ministries.

Are the British Virgin Islands part of the UK?

The British Virgin Islands are a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean.

This means they do fall under the sovereignty of the UK, but are not a part of it.

There are 14 British overseas territories including the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Bermuda.

The Queen remains the head of state of countries that are overseas territories, with many of them self-governing.

A 2007 constitution gives the string of islands east of Puerto Rico, home to 35,000 inhabitants, limited self-governance under a Governor who is the ultimate executive power as the Queen's representative.

Those who are citizens of an overseas territory are classed as British nationals, however if they want to live and work in the UK, will still have to apply for a visa.

British citizens who live in the UK do not have the right to permanent residence in an overseas territory and if you want to relocate to one, you will also need to apply for a visa.

The people of the British Virgin Islands have been "badly served" by their government, according to an investigation undertaken by retired judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom into wrongdoing in the territory.

In the report, published on 4 April, Sir Gary recommended the Governor take direct rule of the territory for two years, stating: “Almost everywhere, the principles of good governance, such as openness, transparency and even the rule of law, are ignored.”

In a statement, the acting premier Natalio Wheatley said he was “very concerned” about the recommendation.

Wheatley said: “What this would mean in real terms is that there would be no more elected representatives who represent the people of the districts and the territory in the House of Assembly where laws are made for our society.

“There also would be no government ministers to advance the public’s priorities or a cabinet to approve policy. All of this authority would be vested in the Governor.”