British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

“Deliberate delays” by elected leaders also triggered Commission of Inquiry

“Deliberate delays” by elected leaders also triggered Commission of Inquiry

Outgoing governor Augustus Jaspert has signalled that the push for legislative reform has faced “deliberate delays” from elected leaders and this is one of the reasons he had to order a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the BVI government.
Another reason — according to Governor Jaspert — is because local institutions have not been able to access the information needed to carry out investigations into matters relating to lack of transparency and good governance in the territory.

“We have also pushed for legislative reform, which has faced what I can only conclude are deliberate delays. Furthermore, local institutions have sought to conduct their own inquiries, but have been prevented from accessing the information required to do so,” Governor Jaspert said.

He continued: “It has become increasingly clear that this is not enough. Our local institutions responsible for good governance feel hindered and unable to act without the laws and frameworks in place.”

Amid recent reports that his office has received a litany of complaints regarding lack of transparency in government, Governor Jaspert rocked the territory on Monday, when he announced his decision to issue a COI to investigate some actions made by BVI administrations in previous years.

The governor said he’ll be hosting a press conference later this week to set out more details about the COI. He will host the conference with the the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom — the judge appointed to lead the inquiry.

Following the Governor’s announcement, Premier Andrew Fahie issued a statement saying despite previous promises by Governor Jaspert, he has issued a COI without following due process.

“As stated on numerous occasions by the Governor, a Commission of Inquiry would only be conducted based on facts and not rumours and unfounded allegations,” Premier Fahie said in the statement.

He also said until further details become available, the Government of the Virgin Islands will reserve all other comments relating to this matter.

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