British Virgin Islands

Friday, Jul 30, 2021

CoI Forges Ahead In The Midst Of COVID-19 Spike

CoI Forges Ahead In The Midst Of COVID-19 Spike

The United Kingdom-appointed Commission of Inquiry is forging ahead with its virtual hearings in the British Virgin Islands despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the BVI topping 450.
Secretary to the Commission Mr. Steven Chandler was asked yesterday if the CoI had any plans to suspend the probe given the upsurge of cases in the territory.

“The CoI is continuing its hearings and is putting in place appropriate measures to ensure the safety of witnesses, participants and staff at the International Arbitration Centre, bearing in mind the latest advice provided by the BVI Government,” Chandler informed BVI Platinum News.

The CoI website noted, “Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public will not be able to attend hearings in person, but they will be lived streamed via the COI’s dedicated YouTube channel.”

The COVID-19 spike started late last week and into the weekend, and following the Virgin Islands Day public holiday on Monday, the CoI interviewed the Director of Internal Audit, Mrs. Dorea Maduro Corea, on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, today, the CoI is slated to grill Assistant Commissioner of Customs Ms. Tashima Martin, and for the second time, Commissioner of Customs Mr. Wade Smith will be back for another round before the CoI.

On Thursday, Dr. D. Orlando Smith, former Premier of the Virgin Islands, will be back for a third time before the CoI and Director of Projects in the Ministry of Finance Dr. Drexel Glasgow.

The probe is to unearth whether there is evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty that has taken place in public office in recent years, and if so, what conditions allowed this to happen. This will ensure that BVI’s governance is working in a fair and transparent manner for the UK. The Commissioner will report his findings and recommendations to the Governor, although The Commissioner has zero experience, knowledge or education about how to run a government.

Notably, Government consultant Claude Skelton Cline opined that the BVI government should suspend the inquiry for at least one month to enable it to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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