British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Correspondence show that residents fear giving info to COI

Correspondence show that residents fear giving info to COI

The correspondence received by the Commission Of Inquiry (COI) so far shows that some residents are afraid of giving information to aid the investigation.
That is the word from Secretary to the COI Steven Chandler, who BVI News asked to state whether public servants have expressed their fears about giving information.

Chandler did not identify fear specifically among public servants but revealed that there was fear within the general population.

“The Inquiry team continues to receive information from across the community of those who live and work in the British Virgin Islands. However, we know from a range of correspondence we have received that some people feel afraid about coming forward to let us know about their concerns,” Chandler told BVI News.

Yesterday, BVI News published a report from the COI which reassured public servants that information they gave would be kept confidential by authorities.

The report also explained that public servants are free to submit information directly to the COI and may bypass submission avenues set up by the local government if they wish.

Our news centre asked Chandler whether the COI has received information from public servants to date.

He said: The Inquiry team can’t comment on who has provided information to the Commissioner.”

However, the Secretary said residents who have fears “have the right to be heard which is why the Commission has set up a rigorous system for honouring and ensuring confidentiality and why the Commissioner continues to reassure anyone who wants to contact him and the Inquiry team, including public officers, that they can do so directly via the various safe and secure methods detailed on the Commission’s website.”

When past Governor Augustus Jaspert first announced the COI, he revealed that his office was overrun by a litany of complaints including reports that the Fahie administration was intimidating some public servants.

Despite the alleged reports, some sections of the public have expressed doubts about the confidentiality of COI, saying they fear their identity will be revealed.

In the meantime, the local government has expressed that it is in full support of the COI and will do all it can to aid the investigations.

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