STATEMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE REGISTER OF INTERESTS ACT, 2006 TO WELCOME A TRANSPARENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
2nd March, 2021
On January 19, 2021 the former Governor, His Excellency Augustus J. U. Jaspert, appointed Sir Gary Hickinbottom, to hold a Commission of Inquiry (COI), to inquire into whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty in relation to officials, whether statutory, elected or public, “… may have taken place in recent years.”
As a Government, we have promised the people of the Virgin Islands that we welcome a transparent and accountable COI that will allow for a just outcome.
In line with our promise to the people of the Virgin Islands, the Government of the Virgin Islands during the upcoming Sitting of the House of Assembly will seek to amend Section 9 of the Register of Interests Act to remove any barriers that could prevent Members from sharing information held by the Registrar of Interests. This course of action will assist the COI to ascertain such information without any legal impediments.
We will be seeking to amend the Register of Interests Act by inserting an additional circumstance in which the Register of Interests may be open for inspection, namely at the written request of a Commissioner of Inquiry.
The amendment would further permit the Registrar of Interests to provide the Commissioner of the COI with a copy of pages from the Register of Interests.
It is important to note that amending the Register of Interests Act is something your Government sees as essential because we believe in the spirit of cooperation and transparency at all levels. As a responsible Government, we see the need for this amendment to the Register of Interests Act.
The Government of the Virgin Islands believes that it is important to cooperate and engage the Commission consistent with its stated policy of transparency.
The Government will continue to do its part to foster a transparent Commission of Inquiry to allow for a just outcome.