British Virgin Islands

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Residents cooperative, identified issues for COI to place focus

Residents cooperative, identified issues for COI to place focus

The Commissioner of Inquiry, Sir Gary Hickinbottom has deemed his first visit to the BVI “very productive”, adding that he received cooperative and constructive engagement from residents so far.

Both Sir Gary and the Secretary to the Commission, Steven Chandler have since departed the BVI following those series of one-and-one meetings with residents on sister islands on February 1.

A press statement from the Commission of Inquiry (COI) said the information it received so far has given the COI greater direction.

“This visit has been extremely useful in identifying the areas and issues on which the Commission will focus its initial attention. The Commissioner would like to thank all those he has met and heard from while he has been in the BVI. Although based in Tortola, he was pleased to be able to visit each of the three sister islands where he received an equally warm welcome,” the release said.

The press release said when in the UK, the Commissioner and the Secretary are expected to consult with the recently appointed counsel to the Commission to consider the initial wave of information the Commission has received.

Based on those consultations, the Commissioner will then decide how best, and from whom, to seek further information.

Expected return

According to the release, the COI team intends to return to the BVI before Easter. The proposed oral hearings will take place in the territory after Easter and will be concluded no later than the end of May.

“Timings are, of course, dependent on the impact of COVID travel restrictions. Through press statements and the website, the Commission will keep the people of the BVI updated as to progress and any change in timings that might be necessary,” the press statement read.

Possible Virtual meetings with residents

While the Commissioner is in the UK, persons wishing to submit additional information are being asked to contact the secretary who will be able to arrange a remote meeting via WhatsApp, for example.

In any event, the Commissioner encourages anyone who has information that might assist the Inquiry to share it along with and any written material via the official COI website.

The COI was announced on January 18, 2021, to look into whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious political impropriety may have taken place amongst the public, elected and statutory officials in recent years.


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