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Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

No COI recommendation should be implemented without public input

No COI recommendation should be implemented without public input

Premier Andrew Fahie says he believes no recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report should be implemented until a discussion is had with the people of the territory to get their input and have their voices heard.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Fahie said he sees the situation unfolding where the people of the territory will get a copy of the report, and everyone will have their say on its content.

“Neither side of stakeholders should attempt to implement any recommendations without speaking to the people of the Virgin Islands, getting their input and making sure that it is the best for the people of the Virgin Islands – the present and future generation of Virgin Islanders,” Fahie added.

The Premier also acknowledged that he understands residents are concerned about certain aspects of the impending issuance of the report to the public, but said he cannot lead based on emotion.

“Emotions will get you in trouble if you are to lead with true emotions. There is a constitution, and it clearly states what the role of the Governor is and what authority the Governor has in terms of the post with the Commission of Inquiry. And, granted, it must be one of the Acts amended because it was some forty years removed from the abolition of slavery so that is how long that act was in place. That must be updated to reflect modern practices because persons do have certain democratic rights that should be allowed under the law in the 21st century,” he added.

Respect confidentiality requirement by Governor

Fahie reiterated that in terms of recommendations, he cannot make specific comments until he has gained access to the report. However, he said whatever discussions must be had with the people will be done at an appropriate time. The Premier added that the respective stakeholders must acknowledge the confidentiality requirement issued by Governor John Rankin until the report is released to the public.

“I intend for myself and the government members who will have access to the report to respect the confidentiality and even I would ask members of the Opposition to respect the confidentiality and I would expect anybody who would have access to the report during that period to respect the confidentiality. You would not be able to comment on the recommendations until you see them. Also, be mindful they are just recommendations, and it would call for some quick readings,” Fahie added.

Providing a response

The Premier said once he has reviewed the report, his administration will provide a response. He added that as the elected leader of the territory, he will also prepare to engage the United Kingdom Overseas Territory Minister Amanda Milling and others in London on the findings of the COI report.

“As your government, we recognise the concerns many have raised about the COI and its report which has not been released to the public yet. Although I have not received a copy of the report yet, I want to report to the people of the Virgin Islands that discussions with the governor have been ongoing,” Fahie said.

“As Premier, I wish to reiterate that I am willing to put all perceived political differences aside to ensure that we work as one Virgin Islands people so we can further strengthen our systems, our legislations, constitution and any other areas solely in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands without compromise and without experience any retrograde steps to the historical aspirations of the people of the Virgin Islands as outlined in the constitution and without experiencing any retrograde step in regards to our political, financial and constitutional advancement,” he added.


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