British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 20, 2021

CoI is check mate on impunity in governance

CoI is check mate on impunity in governance

Three major benefits of the Virgin Islands COI are one, it is a warning to leaders and officials that they cannot get away with impunity.
Two: high officials will not be allowed to hide specific pecuniary matters in a vast maze of ambiguity and equivocation, and with no money or paper trail; and three, questionable activities will be brought to the attention of powerful independent investigators, and hence the tax-paying general public.

The CoI is an opportunity therefore for the country to reset and recalibrate its governance ensuring rules are followed, and that residents get value for money. It is that simple.

Every dollar wasted on poor governance and questionable priorities is cash that could have been spent on the physical and social infrastructure the country desperately needs: schools, water supply, food sufficiency, hospital and health, sewage and sanitation, and so on, and so forth.

Now the end result of the COI is the great guessing game at present. What will happen after the COI report with its recommendations is submitted to His Excellency the Governor? The Governor and Crown are the Overseers of governance in the Overseas territories allowing a for a very high degree of autonomy. That is the model we have, and it is an excellent model in this Writer's opinion.

Now, no one can answer that question at present. So the second-best thing is to carry on as normal. However, we all know that the COI is the 800LB Gorilla in the room.

Consequently, in a country that possesses a reactive culture- waiting until the worst happens before acting- not preparing for the worst is not an option.

This Old Boy does not want to see a temporary takeover- the TCI model. That will set the country's autonomy back decades.

However, if there are clear cases of criminal misconduct as proven by evidence, then these will not go unpunished. But that is the power of independent investigations. Persons will be prosecuted and even put in prison if found guilty of crimes.

Once upon a time, The Great Detective Sherlock-Holmes stated that data- connected or not - are the raw material that go into building the house. In other words, solving a complex case depends upon the systematic and systemic collection, and then collation, of vast amounts to data and information. Investigators use that data to solve their case.

And not until the windows, doors, flooring, plumbing, and roofing are installed and put in place, do we have a picture of what the house will look like.

Investigators - the COI in the present matter- join the dots and put the puzzle together, and the preceding then offers a narrative into the what, where, how, when, and where. Above all: the why.

It is at this final stage that repairing the system, so that we no longer have to go through the present ordeal again, is initiated.

Consequently, political parties must now look at their internal mechanisms. The party system will survive the COI and the aftermath. There will need to be reshuffles, and a reorganization of politics in the BVI.

Now is the time for party members and activists to wake up and take the bull by the horns. Look for a future generation of honest leaders untainted by scandal. Look for leaders who will put country first and not their selfish interests.

There is no point getting caught post the COI with no plans for drastic change, and parties and leaders running about like headless chickens.

A permanent Commission of public inquiry is what we need in any event, to ensure we never get back to this sad place: an agency that will place a go to jail card on the desk of any official who oversteps the mark of lawful conduct, wandering into unlawful behavior.

However, we are all innocent until found guilt by due process.
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