This was revealed in the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting of April 13, 2022, chaired by Governor John J. Rankin, CMG and attended by all Cabinet members.
According to the minutes, Cabinet “Decided that the formal tender process be waived for the provision of integrated communications support to continue to rebuild and promote the brand and reputation of the Virgin Islands in the international market, in respect of the four (4) months extension granted to the Commission of Inquiry."
The CoI, which was called in January 2021, was scheduled for six months but exceeded that timeline and the Final Report was only handed over to Governor Rankin in early April 2022, after an extended deadline of December 2021, was missed.
Cabinet also decided that a new contract be entered into with Maitland Consultancy for a period of five (5) months with effect from 1st January to 31st May 2022 for an amount, not to exceed $750,000.00) for five (5) months.
In addition, Cabinet also decided that funding in the amount of $1,189,786.29 be approved via a Schedule of Additional Provision at the earliest Sitting of the House of Assembly to replenish the Marketing and Advertising Subhead and cover other expenses for the remainder of 2022, the minutes detailed.
Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had said the VI would need to rebuild its reputation after the damages of the CoI, noting that it takes years to build a reputation and one second to destroy it.
The VI was blindsided by the CoI called by controversial former governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert, who secretly worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to unleash the CoI without warning on the territory and then exited the VI for good mere days later.
Even the UK press and other international media outlets had knowledge of the CoI before the elected government of the VI, the local press, and ordinary residents.
The international press had published damaging reports about the VI, even though the CoI was called on unsubstantiated claims by a governor who was said to be antagonistic towards the democratically elected Government. The stories were also one-sided with no apparent efforts to get the government's side.
The VI's reputation is critical to the success of its financial services and tourism.
The VI was blindsided by the CoI called by controversial former governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert, who secretly worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to unleash the CoI without warning on the territory in January 2021.