Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

CoI report did not touch Governor’s Court Portfolio- SFC

CoI report did not touch Governor’s Court Portfolio- SFC

Many residents, talk show hosts and commentators continue to ask why the one-man United Kingdom-sponsored Commission of Inquiry (CoI) did not touch any matters under the Governor's portfolio. Many have used this fact to claim that the CoI was biased and a witch hunt against those who spoke out against racism and colonialism, with an attempt to destabilise the nation and brand residents as corrupt.

Others have opined that it’s the old British game practice for centuries, as they engaged a retired Judge Gary R. Hickinbottom with a mandate to do the dirty hit job on residents and the Government of the day.

Courts left out

The fact that the courts or the judicial system under Governor John J. Rankin's portfolio were never part of the CoI was confirmed last month by Registrar of the Supreme Court Mrs Vareen C. Vanterpool-Nibbs while testifying before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee (SFC).

She noted that “the CoI report did not cover recommendations for the Supreme Court therefore, no provision is made in the budget in relation to that matter”.

However, she did mention one item that came up aside was the Jury Act.

The Police Force, another of the Governor's portfolio, was not touched.

After confirming that the CoI did not touch the courts, Mrs Vanterpool-Nibbs gave legislators a laundry list of some other needs of both the Supreme and Commercial Courts.


From left: Governor John J. Rankin, CMG and CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom. Many residents, talk show hosts and commentators continue to ask why the one-man United Kingdom-sponsored Commission of Inquiry (CoI) did not touch any matters under the Governor's portfolio.


request from the Courts

The Court Registrar stated the needs are:

1. Another computerised scoping contract (scoping relates to preparation of transcripts);

2. Continuation of the contract for the Consultant hired last year;

3. Hiring another SAO for the court reporting unit to increase the output from the unit. Additionally, the Commercial Court budget has a shortfall in Rent. This could create a financial hardship because there is a commitment to hiring two Judges; and

4. Replacement of the old vehicle.

While the Territorial and Opposition Member, Hon Carvin Malone stated that “the administration of justice is critical to the survival of the territory,” it is unclear what was approved of the requests made by the Court Registrar.
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