This comes as the same UK Government on January 18, 2021, had secretly prepared and launched a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into allegations of corruption in the Virgin Islands (VI) Governemnt, even as the Johnson administration was resisting calls for inquiries into UK corruption since mid-2020.
In an article published in the Cambridge University Varsity Newspaper on Friday, March 5, 2021, one student echoed calls for a public inquiry, as shared by many doctors and bereaved families into the management of the UK crisis.
While underscoring that a CoI into Johnson’s pandemic response is of utmost importance and needed 'now', the article cited “blatant corruption" manifested in COVID contracts given to Conservative party donors which presented strong grounds for an inquiry.
“One investigation recently found that contracts worth £881 million have been awarded to individuals who have given a total sum of £8.2 million to the Conservatives. Though no direct exchanges have been identified, these contracts deserve closer scrutiny.”
Richard Horton, the Editor of the Lancet, one of the UK’s leading medical journals, has described the UK government’s pandemic response as ‘the greatest science policy failure for a generation’.
He called the government’s delay in ordering the first lockdown a ‘national scandal’.
Other respected Government advisers like Sir Patrick J.T. Vallance spoke publicly of the government’s strategies as one that was “characterised by sluggishness and incompetence,”
Despite these adjectives, Johnson and his government continues to resist calls for an inquiry but instead, had to moral fortitude to execute and fund a CoI on the VI, even as the territory successfully navigates the COVID-19 pandemic
A possible delay tactic, the Cambridge Varsity article suggests, “It seems probable that Mr Johnson does not want an inquiry’s work to start in earnest any time soon. The claim that an independent inquiry would simply take up too much government time isn’t plausible given the fact that an inquiry might take months to prepare itself administratively before actually starting to collect evidence from the government.”
“Mr Johnson should have no problem announcing an inquiry right now. He has said that his government ‘did everything we could’ to limit the pandemic’s impact. One would then expect that the Prime Minister, totally confident in his government’s excellent pandemic response, would have no trouble setting up an inquiry immediately. But Mr Johnson’s resistance to starting an inquiry at once means that at some level he knows this pandemic response has been horribly botched,” the article says.
In essence, while the UK Government had time to administratively prepare itself and fund the VI CoI, it does not have the time to submit to an independent inquiry on its own affairs even as strong allegations of corruption and incompetence in the Johnson administration linger.
Unlike the Johnson administration, the Fahie government has since announced that it welcomes the UK CoI based on unfounded claims of corruption, because the government “has nothing to hide.”
Local Political pundits and a former Turks and Caicos Premier, Micheal E. Misick however, have described the inquiry as a conclusion already written, where the UK is seeking to take over the territory’s affairs, as the democratically elected government make moves towards a new round of constitutional review, and a more self-determined future.
A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.