While there has been calls for the strengthening of existing Integrity Legislation, some strides are being made to hold public officers accountable for ethical conduct.
Recently Cabinet reviewed and approved the draft Integrity in Public Life policy that aims to promote and enhance standards of ethical conduct for public officers, legislators and statutory agencies and state owned enterprises.
Further Cabinet announced that the Bill, entitled Integrity in Public Life, 2003 will be reviewed in line with the policy and incorporate a review of the Register of Interests and Complaints Commission Acts.
A week after that Cabinet announcement was made by Governor Augustus Jaspert on November 14 in the Speech from The Throne stated, “Legislation on the Integrity in Public Life will be brought forward to preserve and promote the integrity of public officials and public institutions.”
Prior to his Speech from the Throne announcement, the Governor disclosed that the government is keen on efforts to bring integrity legislation and other reform related matters.
Before that media sit down, the Governor during an interview with the Government Information Service in October disclosed that the Territory is making strides to have an Integrity Commission that would look into and possibly investigate certain public concerns.
The Governor noted, “With the support of the current and the former government taking forward new approaches to improve the transparency and accountability of good governance… Working on the Public Service Management Act including Whistle Blower protection. Looking at the Integrity Commission Act or Integrity Act to bring forward proposals…that’s something with the new government.”
The need for Integrity legislation was a cause that was championed by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie during his time as Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Fahie while speaking at the June 30, 2017 Territory Day told the gathering, “The implementation of such legislation will create a victorious BVI because it would promote transparency."