This is one of the perks the Virgin Islands Whistleblower Act 2021 will provide.
The bill, a campaign promise by the Virgin Islands Party Government of Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), was brought to the House of Assembly on March 4, 2021, when it received its Introduction and First Reading.
Excerpts from the proposed legislation that is presently making the rounds for public discourse states: “For the purposes of this section “family” means spouse, father, mother, child, grandchild, brother and sister.”
In the meantime, the soon-to-be law makes provision for a Whistleblower Reward Fund.
The document said the funds shall consist of voluntary contributions and other monies that may be allocated by the House of Assembly to the Fund.
“The object of the Fund is to provide funds for payment of monetary rewards to whistleblowers,” however, the information from the Whistleblower’s disclosure must lead to the arrest and conviction of the accused person.
The document stated likewise: “A whistleblower whose disclosure results in the recovery of an amount of money shall be rewarded from the Fund with (a) ten per cent of the amount of money recovered, or (b) the amount of money that the Governor after consultation with Cabinet shall determine.”
Monies for the Fund shall, on the directions of Cabinet, be paid into a bank account opened for the purpose by the Accountant General with the approval of the Financial Secretary, and for the purposes of this Act, the Minister may with the approval of Cabinet give instructions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, for the management of the Fund, the Bill explained.
Additionally, the Bill said, “the disbursement of Funds shall be determined by the Minister with the approval of Cabinet and the Accountant General shall within thirty days on receipt of the submission of a claim for payment out of the Fund, approve (a) payment of a reward from the Fund; (b) the reimbursement of expenses incurred by a whistleblower whose disclosure resulted in an investigation for which that person incurred those expenses; and (c) the payment of other relevant expenses as may be determined by the Accountant General.”
Premier Fahie, speaking during the Sixth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at the Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola on March 4, 2021, said the Whistleblower legislation is good for the territory.
“It is time these kinds of good governance reach to us, and we have done this on our own, we have not been asked to do so, we have not been forced to do so, we have not been instructed to do so, we have not been coerced to do so. This government is doing so because of the promises it made during the campaign and since in office,” he said.