British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 04, 2021

Top gov’t officials’ link to criminal gangs helped prompt COI - Jaspert

Top gov’t officials’ link to criminal gangs helped prompt COI - Jaspert

In a shocking revelation, former governor, Augustus Jaspert, said high-level government officials have allegedly been linked to drug dealers and criminal gangs in the BVI.

Governor Jaspert made the disclosure during a hearing before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) yesterday, October 20, noting that it helped to prompt his calls for the ongoing inquiry.

“Most concerning [was] also allegations of links to organised criminality and to those involved in the cocaine trafficking trade as well, including allegedly, amongst those in the highest holders of office,” the former Governor told the Commission.

Jaspert, who did not disclose any names, was at the time being asked the reasons that prompted him to call for the COI.

According to the former Governor, the COI’s origin came largely as a result of the cumulative concerns that were being presented to him about good governance, several of which were covered in some of the audit reports that were given as evidence before the Commission.

Jaspert said his concerns were not based on one single report such as the failed BVI Airways project or the controversial Elmore Stoutt High School wall.

One of the most difficult decisions


The notion of a Commission of Inquiry, he added, had also been put to his predecessor, Governor John Duncan.

“I should be very clear that, as governor, one of my most difficult decisions was to call the Commission of Inquiry. It is not a step that I would’ve ever wanted to have done or undertake, should there have been any other way to avoid doing so,“ Jaspert told the Commission.

Among the allegations he said were received from credible public officers and leaders of some of the territory’s institutions, were serious concerns of intimidation of public officers and concerns about decisions being directed outside of normal processes.

Jaspert related that some of these allegations also came from credible members of the public.

Outside of the rampant abuse of tender waivers that he said was being continued, the former governor said he also saw instances of the government employing consultants without competition, and appointing persons to statutory boards with little transparency or openness in the process.

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