British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Apr 17, 2021

Controversial VI CoI moves into stage two

Controversial VI CoI moves into stage two

The now controversial Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on unfounded allegations of corruption and discrimination in the VI public service under the Fahie administration have moved into stage two according to a February 26, 2021, press release from the CoI Press Secretary Steven Chandler.
CARICOM flags concerns


Chandler’s latest update comes as regional body, CARICOM has flagged concerns with the way the COI was established in a secretive manner without consultations with the Andrew A. Fahie (R1) duly elected government.

“Heads of Government are dismayed at the manner in which the CoI was established with no consultation, or prior communication, between the UK government and the duly-elected government of the British Virgin Islands,” CARICOM said in a statement yesterday, February 26, 2020.

The Commission of Inquiry (“the Commission”) was announced on January 18, 2021, by embattled ex-governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert to look into whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place amongst public, elected and statutory officials in recent years.

Chandler’s latest update comes as regional body, CARICOM has flagged concerns with the way the COI was established in a secretive manner without consultations with the Andrew A. Fahie duly elected government.


CoI will gather info from Gov’t offices


As the CoI moves into stage two under the sole CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, the new stage will involve obtaining further information and documentation predominantly from public officials, including elected and statutory officials.

Stage one of the CoI involved gathering evidence, where as part of the process, anyone on the open internet could have submitted information through the inquiry website.

For stage two, Chandler informed that “the Commissioner has the powers of a High Court Judge to require production of information and documents by way of summons. However, given that the BVI Government has indicated that it will fully and promptly cooperate with any requests for information/documents, the Commissioner is initially making requests for voluntary disclosure.”

Press secretary Steven Chandler said the Commission will continue to make requests over the coming weeks to enable it to fulfil its “Terms of Reference,” terms that the Premier Andrew A. Fahie has since described as extremely broad, with some calling it a fishing expedition.


Premier Fahie described Terms as too broad


He said the Commission will continue to make requests over the coming weeks to enable it to fulfil its “Terms of Reference,” terms that the Premier Fahie (R1) has since described as extremely broad, with some calling it a fishing expedition.

In the coming week, the Commissioner is also expected to release a statement on how he expects requests for information and documentation to be met. The statement will outline how the Commissioner intends to enforce the production of documents and information if requests for voluntary disclosure are not met.

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