British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021

Commissioner of inquiry guarantees confidentiality but how will he determine the legitimacy of complaints filed?

Commissioner of inquiry guarantees confidentiality but how will he determine the legitimacy of complaints filed?

The Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom is imploring the public to submit any pertinent information that will be helpful in the Commission of Inquiry launched into possible corruption in Government and public service within recent years.
A press release from Secretary to the Commission, Steven Chandler stated “The Commissioner welcomes and encourages public input into the Inquiry and therefore places great importance on the Inquiry website. Anyone with information to share is encouraged to safely and securely contact the Inquiry team using the website.”

Since the launch of the inquiry a prime concern of sources’ privacy has taken the forefront. However, the Comissioner’s office has reiterated their commitment to confidentiality.

“There are extremely robust security and privacy measures in place to protect information submitted to the Inquiry team via the website, or any other means, including both the information submitted and the privacy of the individual submitting it. The website has undergone substantial penetration testing and safeguarding to ensure its security. Any data shared through the website will be stored in the UK, protected by UK GDPR laws,” the press release stated.

But how does the Commissioner determine which complaints are legitimate?

This question was posed by our newsroom to which the office responded “The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference do not require the Commissioner to determine whether an allegation is true or false: they require him to establish whether there is information that serious dishonesty involving officials may have taken place. He will undertake that task by considering all of the information before him, in whatever form and giving particular information the weight he considers appropriate.”

“The risk that some of the information may be false or simply incorrect is, of course, a factor that he will have to assess and take into account, particularly where it is not supported by information from elsewhere,” the office continued.

To support this, yesterday’s press release also stated “there are also robust safeguards in place to ensure only authenticated users can access the website. Security testing takes place on a regular basis to ensure the safety of the website and users, and ensure full compliance with international standards.”

Further reassurance was given in the Commissioner’s office press release.

“The Inquiry team would like to reassure those who wish to make contact, or submit information, via the website that they can do so in the knowledge that their personal information will be treated in absolute confidence and held securely by the Inquiry team. Neither the information nor its source, nor anything that might indicate its source, will be made public without an individual’s express agreement.”

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