Topics: Assessment, Audit, Ports
Monday, 18 January 2021 – 6:13pm
The Commission of Inquiry Act (Cap. 237 Section 2) specifies that, “It shall be lawful for the Governor whenever he shall deem it advisable, to issue a commission appointing one or more commissioners, and authorizing such commissioners, or any quorum of them therein mentioned, to inquire into the conduct or management of any department of the public service in the Territory or of any public officer of the Territory, or of any parish or district, or into any matter in which an inquiry would, in the opinion of the Governor, be for the public welfare.
Each such commission shall specify the subject of inquiry.
Starting in March 2019, weeks after taking office, this Government Administration under the leadership of Premier Andrew A. Fahie made and continues to make inquiries of Governor Augustus Jaspert concerning the steps to be taken in an effort to clear the names of accused persons in relation to any of the three major investigations that were conducted by the Public Accounts Committee, the Auditor General, and/or the Police, namely:
a. The Pier Park Project
b. BVI Airways
c. The Elmore Stoutt High School Wall
The Act directs that any inquiry shall be specific. If there exists other specific concerns which have not been examined by the Public Accounts Committee, the Auditor General, or the Police, this should be clearly stated and due process allowed.
As stated on numerous occasions by the Governor, a Commission of Inquiry would only be conducted based on facts and not rumours and unfounded allegations.
Governor Jaspert further stated to Cabinet Members on numerous occasions that to ensure due process, all government institutions established to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance would be allowed to function and produce their reports.
It is only after these stages of the process are completed and investigations deemed inconclusive would the way be paved for a Commission of Inquiry. This has always been the process followed because it is the only process that allows for good governance to function in a manner that keeps the tenets of democracy sacred.
Until further details become available, the Government of the Virgin Islands will reserve all other comments.