West News Wire: Hundreds of people demonstrated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) against a plan to place the British overseas territory under direct British authority.

The gathering on Monday comes just days after the BVI premier was jailed on drug-related charges in Miami, Florida.

The BVI should be successfully administered from London, according to a report released on Friday by Queen Elizabeth’s ambassador to the territory, to “restore the standards of government” that the people there “are entitled to.”

A day earlier, BVI Premier Andrew Fahie and the territory’s director of ports were jailed following a sting operation by US authorities.

On Monday, activists gathered outside the office of Governor John Rankin in the capital, Road Town, on the island of Tortola, chanting slogans and holding signs that said “No UK rule”.

“Our message to the United Kingdom government and to the world: there will be no direct rule in this land,” said demonstrator Luce Hodge-Smith.

The rally coincided with a visit by Amanda Milling, a British Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East, to discuss the findings of the report.

“Yesterday I arrived in the BVI following the publication of the Commission of Inquiry,” Milling wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“I look forward to engaging with a range of people [including] BVI leaders, opposition, community groups and sector experts to listen to views on what is in the best interests of the people of BVI.”

The BVI, a self-governing Caribbean archipelago, is home to approximately 35,000 people and is an overseas territory of the UK, which supervises its defence and foreign policy.

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It is also one of the world’s leading offshore tax havens. Both the local government and London have been accused by anti-corruption campaigners of turning a blind eye to the illicit flows of foreign money through the territory.

Last week’s report, led by British judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom, concluded that politicians spent millions of dollars of state funds annually without proper process. It also found “serious dishonesty” in relation to sales of public property and widespread abuse of appointments.

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