FLORIDA, United States – The United States Attorney’s Office has rejected British Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier Andrew Fahie’s claim of diplomatic immunity which he applied for in a “Notice of Invocation of Immunity”, in an attempt to get released from detention.
Fahie, who has been in US custody on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy since last Thursday, filed a notice to the court claiming he was protected by diplomatic immunity as the BVI’s political leader.
But in a response to Fahie’s notice, the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida indicated that the US does not recognize his claim to head-of-state immunity.
In the statement, the US Attorney’s Office said: “It appears that claim is based on a statement in the complaint affidavit that the defendant was, and is, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands.
“While it is true that the complaint affidavit correctly described the defendant’s current title, that description does not convey upon the defendant head-of-state immunity”.
The response further said the Executive Branch of the United States Government does not recognize the British Virgin Islands – a British Overseas Territory – as a sovereign state, or that Fahie is entitled to any immunity from prosecution.
“Accordingly, the defendant does not and cannot enjoy immunity as a head of state or government. Nor does the defendant’s ‘notice’ do anything to establish an entitlement to immunity for the defendant. In fact, that ‘notice has no legal effect at all,” the statement read.
The Attorney’s Office further said there was legal precedence (United States v. Noriega) to support its argument.
Fahie, along with Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Oleanvine Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard, are accused of agreeing to facilitate the safe passage through BVI ports of tons of Colombian cocaine headed to Miami.
In exchange, prosecutors say, the defendants would make millions of dollars which would be funneled through various businesses and bank accounts to hide the source of the money.
Fahie is expected to face a pre-trial detention hearing to determine bail on Wednesday before Judge Jonathan Goodman in a Florida court.