Government Launches Website To Track COI Recommendations Implementation

The Government of the Virgin Islands is forging ahead with efforts to enhance the delivery of services to the people of the Virgin Islands, with the launch of a dedicated website to track the implementation of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommendations.

This is in line with the Virgin Islands Modern Governance Approach, “Government Business at its Best”, launched at the end of July last year, to further the implementation of the recommendations of the COI Report.

On January 19, 2021, the United Kingdom appointed a Commissioner to inquire into possible corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty by public officials in recent years. The inquiry considered the conditions which may have allowed such conduct to take place and whether they still existed. Commissioner, The Rt. Hon. Sir Gary Hickinbottom, made 50 recommendations to improve the standards of governance and the operations of law enforcement agencies in the Territory.

In presenting his latest report to the House of Assembly in September 2023, Premier of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Dr. Natatio D. Wheatley, announced that work had begun on all the recommendations. He reported that several reviews and audits have been completed, covering Social Assistance Grants, Education Grants, the Disposal of Crown Lands, the Policy for Granting Residence and Belonger Status, and the reappointment of Statutory Boards.

Regarding the Modern Governance Approach, the Premier said, “The purpose of this initiative is to inform and educate the public and stakeholders on Government’s continued reform initiatives going beyond the Framework recommendations. It is aimed at correcting inaccurate, misinformed, or misleading perceptions about the work that the Government and public officers do. This is also in line with the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Another significant initiative, as efforts continue to show how the reform work will effect change, is the launch of the COI Recommendations Implementation Tracker website on Wednesday January 3, 2024. The website will be introduced during the Government programme ‘Table Talk’, to be aired live at 11:00 a.m. on the Government’s Facebook Page, ZBVI Radio 780AM and CBN Radio.

Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe, said, “It is very important for the public to be informed about the new policies being implemented to transform the way we do business. This website will be a one stop shop for all COI related information and for the public to follow along as public officers’ work towards greater accountability and transparency.”

The website provides information on the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report and other Reforms; an overview of the recommendations; and will include all press releases, statements and other information about the process relating to this Modern Governance Approach.

Mrs. Stoutt-Igwe thanked all public officers for their dedication and commitment to providing ‘Government Business at its Best’. She encouraged the public to log on to the website once launched to browse the features, become more informed on the work of Government, and contact the COI Implementation Unit with any questions or comments.

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