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Final Report on CoI negotiations out! Governor in charge of territory

Final Report on CoI negotiations out! Governor in charge of territory

Despite Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) trying to put the best spin ever on the framework for implementation on the recommendations coming out of the one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report, what remains clear is the Governor will run the Virgin Islands for two years, even without the suspension of the local constitution.

In what many regard as another revenge move, according to the proposal agreed by the Wheatley-led Unity Government and the UK, the Governor will order an investigation into corruption within HM Customs by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).

Double standards?

To date, there have been no allegations of corruption within HM Customs, but the Customs Department has been holding the police force accountable for misuse of government boats and alleged human trafficking. Ironically; however, the scandal-riddled police force, which is under Governor John J. Rankin, is to lead the investigation, according to the reform proposal.

Further, according to the final document released to the public on June 8, 2022, the Governor is to appoint an independent investigator to examine whether any appointments to statutory boards made since 2019 should be revoked.

Statutory Boards are governed by their own acts, which do not include oversight by an unelected Governor.

Additionally, the Governor will oversee the Department of Human Resources’ coordination of expenditure on the training of public officers.

This is something currently under his portfolio; however, he was given a pass by Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom.

No need for PSC?

In an increase of the Governor’s power, he is to appoint an independent agency to conduct full vetting of all HM Customs and Immigration Department Officers, and if necessary, officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the Prison Service.

The man now in charge of the country, the Governor, will conduct quarterly reviews over the course of the reform process. This will include consideration of: (i) implementation of the CoI Report recommendations; (ii) the written quarterly reports from all individuals leading reviews, investigations and audits arising from the CoI recommendations; (iii) other reforms enacted; and (vi) the political culture exhibited in the day-to-day running of the government.

The Governor, who has come out with all the powers, is expected to publish his quarterly reviews, according to the final framework recommendations agreed to by Premier Wheatley even without consulting the people of the Virgin Islands and published only yesterday, June 8, 2022.

The scandal-riddled Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has been identified to lead investigations into Her Majesty's Customs, which has recently been holding the RVIPF accountable.

There have been no allegations of corruption within HM Customs; however, the Governor has been given the power to instruct the distrusted and scandal-riddled Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) to investigate possible corruption with HM Customs.


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