British Virgin Islands

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Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020

Poor Governance, Lack Of Transparency Still A Problem

Poor Governance, Lack Of Transparency Still A Problem

Two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration and there are calls for more to be done to bring about good governance and transparency.
The former National Democratic Party (NDP) administration was heavily criticized for poor governance, poor financial practice and lack of transparency by many including former Governor Mr John Duncan.

Fast forward, and Governor Gus Jaspert said that he is concerned that not enough is being done to allow for more transparency and good governance.

In response to questions, he told reporters during a press conference on February 3 that the institutions which allow for good governance should receive more support in order to be strengthened.

The Governor mentioned the need for the Procurement Act, the tender process, and implementation of a Ministerial Code of Conduct.

“I think that the institutions of good governance of this Territory should be supported at the top level. It’s a small place that has a global impact, but that puts even more pressure on those institutions. So, how do we strengthen those institutions, how do we make those institutions more transparent like for example, under the previous government we made Cabinet decisions transparent, that’s just one small step,” he explained.

Cabinet decisions are now made public.

“How do we make sure that decisions on transparent contracts, how they are done in terms of relaxing tender waivers or maybe just explain,” the Governor added.

The Governor was speaking to the government’s one-year anniversary in office where he said that governance needs to be improved, but was quick to point out that its not for him to assess the government, rather the media and the people.

He said that the Territory must have an informed public.

“There are a host of things we can do to say we are actually raising the standards of governance and supporting the public to hold us to account collectively (is one aspect),” he stated.

In relation to the Territory’s recovery, the Governor said that there is need to speed up the pace and noted that there are opportunities which must be grabbed.

“2020 is a challenging year, but also a year full of opportunities...I think we need to make sure we seize those opportunities. We have a recovery and development I believe needs to increase pace…We have infrastructure that we need to improve, we have the opportunity to, we have governance that’s not where they should be for a Territory that has so much opportunities,” Governor Jaspert stressed.

Former Governor Duncan, prior to his departure in July 2017, had raised red flags over the issue of transparency and accountability on the part of the NDP administration. Along with the United Kingdom Government, Duncan had called for the many years of financial statements to be completed and laid before the House of Assembly.

Duncan, in his final interview as Governor, told BVI Platinum News that one of his disappointments is that the BVI has not been able to make progress with transparency.
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