A number of Commission of Inquiry (CoI) related review reports have been laid in the recalled House of Assembly (HoA), which convened today April 17, 2023.
United Kingdom (UK) appointed Governor John J. Rankin, CMG had threatened to make these reports public ahead of the April 24, 2023 elections if the Unity Government did not.
The documents were laid in the HoA by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7).
Documents now public
The documents laid in the HoA by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) were Internal Audit Department - The Clear Path To Regularisation: Residency And Belonger Status Programme (Fast Track Programme) Audit Report; Internal Audit Department - The Clear Path To Regularisation: Residency And Belonger Status Programme (Fast Track Programme) Audit Report Addendum; Government of the Virgin Islands
Protocol for the Appointment and Removal of Statutory Board Members; 2022 Statutory Boards Review by Jamal S. Smith; Report on Investigation into Statutory Boards COI
Recommendation B29 by Sheila N. Brathwaite; Report on the Discretionary Powers held by Elected Officials by Anthea Smith; Virgin Islands Crown Lands Distribution Policy Review Report by David Abednego.
Having been laid in the HoA, the documents are now public.
Governor John J. Rankin had threatened to make the documents public before the elections, if the government did not.
Governor makes threats
Speaking during an update on Ministerial Response to Quarterly Review on CoI
Recommendations Implementation on April 6, 2023, Governor Rankin had expressed dissatisfaction that neither the Statutory Boards Review carried out by Jamal S. Smith, which was received on December 31, 2022, nor the Review on Crown Land by David Abednego which was received on January 13, 2023, had been made public, allowing people to read for themselves the direction that it is proposed the reforms will take.
Similarly, Governor Rankin had indicated that the Review on Social Assistance conducted by the Social Policy Research Institute in support of UNICEF had not been published despite having been received on January 18, 2023.
While it is unclear why the reviews were not published earlier, Governor Rankin had noted that given the sensitivity of the issues arising from the Assistance Grants Audit, he had expected that members of the public will be interested to see what solutions the experts recommend.
“So I believe the reviews need to start being made public now, and unless they are otherwise published shortly, I will take steps to do so. Moreover, the reviews are only the start of a process on which further action is required. It is imperative that the Government considers the recommendations in the reviews, consults on them as necessary, and then gets on with delivering the necessary changes”, Governor Rankin had stated.