“We, a group of concerned citizens of the Virgin Islands (British) wish to publicly express our displeasure and profound dissatisfaction with the statement of 4th of April, 2022 made by His Excellency the Governor John Rankin, as he announced the arrival of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report, regarding the review and distribution of the report,” the undated circular details.
The circular seen by Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) reminded that the COI was called on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, and therefore, “It is unacceptable that the Governor would state in his Press Release that he would consider and decide whether or not the Commissioner’s Report would be released to the public.”
The Governor on April 4, 2022, stated that the Commission’s Report has almost 1,000 pages and over 40 recommendations, and that he would review it, while sharing a copy with the UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, Rt Hon Amanda A. Milling.
The circular says that the people of the VI and their elected representatives should have been afforded the opportunity to review the report as well.
“As we are all aware, Governor Rankin was a witness in the COI. It is indeed troubling that as a witness in the COI hearings, the Governor, an appointed representative to the Territory by the UK Government, is the sole person in this Territory allowed to review the contents of the COI report which was conducted on the premise of being an independent inquiry.”
The Independence of the Inquiry has now been brought into question, “If this COI was in fact independent, all bodies of governance would be allowed the opportunity to review the report simultaneously and then discussions would be held to include the public.”
Several social commentators in the VI, have already questioned the way the CoI was carried including Caricom Heads slamming how the inquiry was established without consultation with the elected Government.
“Why are the UK Officials the only persons afforded the opportunity to review the report before our elected officials and us the public? If any aspect of the report is changed or amended, who would know? Does the Governor get to amend the interpretation of his testimony so that he is satisfied with how it is recorded in the report?” the circular details.
Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a press conference yesterday, April 22, 2021, said the entire CoI could have been dealt with in a much more respectable manner, “I would say that this one here is one that… I’m just mystified and it is regrettable how some of this has been handled,” he added.
Premier Andrew A. Fahie in a press conference yesterday, April 22, 2021, said the entire CoI could have been dealt with in a much more respectable manner, 'I would say that this one here is one that… I’m just mystified and it is regrettable how some of this has been handled,' he added.