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Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

Cabinet expected to fully cooperate with post-COI audits, probes

Cabinet expected to fully cooperate with post-COI audits, probes

Cabinet is expected to ensure full cooperation with all audits, investigations and reviews stemming from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report’s recommendations.
This is according to a proposal submitted by the government to UK Overseas Territories Minister Amanda Milling.

The proposal stated that Cabinet is also responsible for taking immediate appropriate action in response to any findings of wrongdoing or misgovernance which might emerge from those audits and investigations conducted as a result of the report’s recommendations.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, who made the proposal to Minister Milling, said the Cabinet will also be responsible for agreeing and passing policies necessary to implement necessary reforms.

“The Cabinet recognises that implementation of the reforms will require prioritisation and allocation of resources, as well as legislative changes, and fully commits to using its powers to achieve this,” the proposal stated.

In addition to all of this, the proposal said Cabinet will ensure that tender waivers in future are only agreed in exceptional, unavoidable cases, and must be explained publicly.

Members of the Cabinet, the proposal noted, are also dissuaded from using ministerial discretion to override or circumvent agreed policies or laws.

They are also expected to ensure support for the broadest possible participation from across the BVI in the constitutional review process.

The proposal further noted that Cabinet members are expected to commit to using their full term of the current House of Assembly (HOA) to work on the implementation of the report’s recommendations without proposing early elections.

In the COI report, it was concluded that Cabinet has acted over the years with unfettered discretion to the detriment of residents of the territory.

“One of the root causes of the difficulties I have identified,” Sir Gary Hickinbottom said in the COI report, “is the fact that many government decisions are made not openly and transparently on the basis of objective criteria, but using an open-ended power involving unfettered and unmonitored discretion.“

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