British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Dec 05, 2021

Not giving notice about COI placed BVI economy, families at risk

Not giving notice about COI placed BVI economy, families at risk

The presumed ‘economical damage’ local businesses are facing because of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) could have been avoided had the former governor, Augustus Jaspert, alerted the BVI government of his intentions.

Premier Andrew Fahie gave that indication in a recent press statement.

He said: “Local businesses and the welfare of families and individuals were placed at risk by the decision to not provide notice of a planned announcement beforehand.”

His sentiments were shared by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which recently weighed in on the UK-sanction inquiry. CARICOM said it was “dismayed” at how the COI was established with “no consultation, or prior communication between the UK government and the duly-elected government of the British Virgin Islands”.

CARICOM’s interest in COI is good

Premier Andrew Fahie has described the regional bloc’s interest in the inquiry as “positive; especially their understanding of how damaging the approach taken to the COI’s announcement was for the image and economy of the territory that is based on tourism and financial services”.

On January 21, days before departing office, Governor Jaspert ordered the COI to investigate whether corruption, abuse of office, or other serious dishonesty may have taken place amongst the public, elected, and statutory officials in recent years.

The inquiry’s commissioner, Sir Gary Hickinbottom and his team have now entered the “second stage” of the COI. This stage entails collating further information and documentation predominantly from public officials, including elected and statutory officials.


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