And Justice for all: Governor Encourages Anonymous Reporting Of Political Victimisation, Intimidation
Governor Jaspert said his office as well as the Office of the Deputy Governor would be accepting anonymous tips on the issue of intimidation and victimization in the Virgin Islands.
Governor Jaspert was at the time responding to questions from the media during a press conference last week Thursday. During that time, he said, several members of the community claim to be intimidated and victimized. There were also claims of a lack of transparency and good governance with respect to public funds and projects.
“I want to be in listening mode; I want to know more about these concerns, I want to understand the scale of them, I want to understand what is happening more so that I can assess what I can do with others and our institutions. For me, this is one of the most concerning areas, because everybody should be able to live their lives completely free of fear and be able to hold on to what’s right without any fear of intimidation or victimization,” he remarked.
He added, “I have had a number of people who pass allegations, and it would be remiss of me not to look into those, but I also want to say that this is unacceptable if that is happening. I want people of the community to be confident that this territory is built on success, and the people feel confident and comfortable in the community, that the people feel safe, the people feel like they can talk about an issue, that whatever their status in the territory is they have equal rights and to be respected for what they are doing or maybe saying.”
The Governor further said, persons who confide in him should feel confident, and he also extended the same to the Office of the Deputy Governor, adding that “There is a process to do this if people wish to submit anything anonymously then we will have a process to be able to do that.”
He, however, did not divulge the way this anonymous process would work.
In the meantime, Premier and Minister for Finance Andrew Fahie via a statement also issued on December 3, said, Jaspert’s statement warrants a response as it has implications on the local, regional and international reputation of the territory.
He said the Governor withholding the details of his allegations makes it impossible for any of the persons he has tainted to defend themselves and their reputations in the public domain and this conduct is “contrary to natural justice.”
He insisted that there were ‘checks and balances’ to the process to ensure accountability and the same goes for the many projects being funded through the loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
As it relates to legislation for accountability and good governance, the Premier said, his administration has already expressed its commitment to strengthening these laws which were delivered by Jaspert in his November 5 Speech from the Throne.
“Until Governor Jaspert provides these details, there is insufficient information to provide you with a more comprehensive response. However, once the allegations are made clear, your Government will be happy to provide a comprehensive reply. I hope His Excellency will provide the necessary clarity before his earlier-than-expected departure from the Territory in January 2021. Until such time, your Government will remain steadfast in purpose and diligent in actions in the execution of our duties on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands,” he added.