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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

COI found no smoking gun so witch hunts should be avoided

COI found no smoking gun so witch hunts should be avoided

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has reasoned that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) found no incontrovertible incriminating evidence as it examined the state of governance in the BVI. However, he suggested the dynamics of the COI may have changed as the inquiry progressed.

Premier Wheatley was at the time speaking to attendees at an engagement hosted in the United Kingdom (UK) where he met with members of the BVI diaspora.

“I don’t think they found a smoking gun, so to speak, but I think they found a situation where the systems were not strong enough to be able to prevent something from happening,” Dr Wheatley said.

He continued: “So, it became an inquiry into the strength of our government, as opposed to an inquiry into corruption.“

The COI was established to determine whether there was evidence that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty took place in public office in recent years, and if so, what conditions allowed this to happen.

No witch hunts or victimisation

Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley said he was not suggesting that the audits and investigations — some of which he said are criminal in nature — that were set up after the inquiry’s findings, would not find wrongdoing.

“They very well might be able to point to something that was done that reflects a corrupt practice,” the Premier said.

He added that he felt it was good for the BVI to be able to examine itself and to be able to see areas where the territory needs to improve.

He further stated that wherever wrongdoing was found, persons should be held accountable.

“But certainly there should be no witch hunts and there should be no victimisation of persons. Persons should be given due process and I think in some instances, we’ll probably see certain things go to court and persons will have to defend their name,” the Premier added.


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