Wave Of Legislation Coming To Provide More Accountability
The Territory’s leader has announced the fast-tracking of a slew of legislation to enable good governance, transparency and accountability, a promise he made on the campaign trail one year ago.
In a statement issued this week, Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that it is clear that over the last 11 months, the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government has taken many strides in the journey of bolstering good governance framework – far more than ‘our predecessors made in the eight years they were in office'.
To this end, he said that immediately, they will be moving to put in place, the Code of Ethics for Ministers, all elected officials, Public Officers and all Statutory Bodies.
“The new procurement legislation and asset seizure legislation will also to be brought into force and this will cultivate a new era of transparency which, might I add, would include spouses and extended family members of public officials,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that they have also made significant strides in addressing the issue of outstanding financial statements.
“When we took office, we found that the audited financial statements were not up-to-date. Not having audited financial statements in place is a violation of the Virgin Islands Constitution. The last time an audited financial statement was done in 2016,” he stated.
Premier Fahie added, “I am pleased to say that the 2017 audited financial statement is in the process of being completed and the 2018 audited financial statement will follow thereafter.”
The Premier said his government did not have to be prompted into prioritizing measures that would strengthen governance in the Territory. He reminded that important good governance provisions were placed into the 2020 Legislative Agenda and the 2020 Budget Address by the Government.
He outlined that the commitment in the Speech from the Throne that legislation such as the Public Service Management Bill, Integrity in Public Life legislation and Whistleblower legislation are on the 2020 Legislative Agenda, is the commitment and initiative of Government.
“The commitment publicly expressed in the 2020 Budget Address which I delivered in the House of Assembly on 19 November, 2020, that public procurement will be strengthened by the introduction of the Contractor General legislation, is the initiative of your Government,” he explained.
He also mentioned that good governance is essential for having a level playing field for ‘our’ people and for providing confidence to investors that they are investing in the correct business environment.
“Your Government recognizes that local and foreign investment are welcome here and no one needs ever to worry about any unofficial prescription to anyone, be it Government officials, Civil Servants or Statutory Bodies.”
He continued, “Their investment is for the betterment of the country and the people, and this we consider to be a solemn Partnership. This is our message to the world.”
His comments comes a week after Governor Gus Jaspert said that he is concerned that there is still more work needed to ensure good governance and transparency.
Quote of the Day
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