Premier Fahie made the comments in an emotional, but strong statement while as a witness at the VI Commission of Inquiry hearing day 14 on Friday, June 18, 2021, while addressing breaches of the Register of Interest Act, 2006.
“Let me say this in my current capacity… nobody knows what it’s like to lead a country and people until they are actually in that role. And you cannot know what it is like for example, Prime Minister Boris or President Biden of the UK and USA respectively,” Hon Fahie said.
“They cannot know at the same time how it is to lead in an OT, it’s like comparing apple to oranges. But at the same time too, we know for sure the complexities of the office, and we know for sure that there are so many things competing for importance and while this is one of them. That is why when we analyze this area, we have to improve it.”
Premier Fahie said while legislators have no excuse for the late submissions, the way forward is on how to improve the current system, which was already in the works even amidst the challenges of the past years.
“In this last few years, we cannot divorce ourselves from the challenges that all representatives were facing from Irma and Maria which we haven’t rebound from yet and we cannot divorce from the last 16-17 months of COVID.”
Hon Fahie continued, “Now one may say well what does that have to do with it, it has a lot to do with it. Because we spend over 90 meetings in Cabinet and a next set in the house, and there's lot of things competing for the importance of time and competing in important for deadlines.”
Regarding the late submissions, the Premier said it cannot be used as the measuring stick for the competence and the seriousness that all legislators, whether past or present has for this respect for legislation and the House of Assembly.
He told further told CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickenbottom that he without sin must cast the first stone.
“I used to teach commissioner, I don't know if you know that but one of the things when you're teaching and you have an item where all the children are getting it wrong, then you can’t say that the children are bad.”
Using the analogy, the Premier said the Government will analyze the situation, propose new ideas, and use recommendations to strengthen and review legislation for the better.
“The House has already dedicated itself to improve this system and the Government side is working feverishly to get to Cabinet the legislation that is going to hold us more accountable in a manner that we cannot even miss [it] without the Registrar giving us a prompt now and again."
Hon Fahie reminded the CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickenbottom, the territory has a strong government and opposition in addition to a strong democracy, that is capable of addressing shortfalls and strengthening laws.