British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Oct 23, 2021

Mischievous CoI? Premier says selectively releasing info is skewing public opinion

Mischievous CoI? Premier says selectively releasing info is skewing public opinion

Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has called for a more transparent Commission of Inquiry (CoI), where more information is to be made available to the public and the media so that a full picture of the Inquiry can be presented to the public and the world.

Premier Fahie, in an update this afternoon, Thursday, May 20, 2021, said that while transcripts are being made available on the CoI website, it is not enough.

Only part of the picture is being released - Premier Fahie


“I do continue to believe that in the interest of fairness, transparency and public information, that it is a disservice to the Virgin Islands People to have part of the picture available to the public and part of the picture concealed from the public,” he said.

Hon Fahie continued, “And then to expect the public to form a vision of the complete picture even though it is a fact that they have been deprived of the totality of the information.”

He said the public deserves the benefit of the complete truth and the benefit to analyse information and form their own conclusions, through the availability of all transcripts of all public witnesses and not to be 'fed snippets' as is the CoI's current strategy.

Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom, left, and Press Secretary Mr Steven Chandler, right.


Online & radio broadcasts needed - Premeir


The Premier called for the broadcast of the proceeding on the internet and radio in the least, and also called for the CoI to make the transmission of the proceeding available for easy public consumption.

“Broadcast of the proceeding makes it easier for the public to access and digest the proceeding, it is important to note that the media can only do so much,” he said noting that persons would not have to time to comb transcripts and the media's reporting is subject to editorial decisions.

While many media house on the VI has been locked out of the CoI except for what little information is released by its Press Secretary, Mr Steven Chandler, Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) has understood that a local online media house is reportedly working with the Inquiry to support its alleged propaganda-driven public relations.

The Premier called for the broadcast of the proceeding on the internet and radio in the least, and also called for CoI to make the transmission of the proceeding available for easy public consumption.


Dangers in 'sensational headlines' - Premier Fahie


The Premier hinted that the CoI public relations strategy appears to be fuelling public misinformation in the territory.

“The dangers to the public interest is that when members of the public become attached to snippets and catchy, sensational headlines and feel that those represent all that a witness said or everything that happed in the sitting, then the result is not public information, but public misinformation,” Hon Fahie said.

According to the Leader of Government Business, the result is that people with bits and pieces of incomplete information are 'trying the inquiry' in the public domain, and this he says cannot be an objective of the CoI, its sponsors, and is not an objective of the VI Government.

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