12 May 2022
FROM GOVERNOR TO THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
MR JOHN RANKIN CMG
As I stated when I published the Commission of Inquiry report on 29 April, I believe it is a vital and hugely valuable contribution towards the achievement of better governance for the people of the BVI.
There is now an urgent need to decisively move forward and in line with my responsibilities under the Constitution I have today instructed the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Commissioner of Police to undertake a number of criminal investigations as recommended in the Report.
The investigations will be as follows:
- A criminal investigation into the conduct of the Premier’s Office (under the previous Premier) in obstructing the Director of the Internal Audit Department in respect of her audit of the COVID-19 Assistance Programmes (COI Recommendation B14);
- A criminal investigation and/or investigations into the recovery of the public money expended on the Sea Cow Bay Harbour Development project and the Virgin Islands Neighbourhood Partnership project (COI Recommendation B20);
- A criminal investigation and/or investigations into the recovery of the public money expended in the disposal of Parcel 310 of Block 2938B, Road Town Registration Section (COI Recommendation B32);
- An investigation into possible corruption within HM Customs (COI Recommendation B40).
With regard to Recommendation B21, criminal investigations are already underway in relation to the Elmore Stoutt High School Perimeter Wall project and the BVI Airways project.
Given the need to respect the integrity of the investigative process, I will not be making media comments on the content of the investigations as they take place. But I am determined that investigations should be held in line with the Commission of Inquiry Report and that any public official who has engaged in criminal wrong-doing should be brought to justice and held accountable under the law. I am also determined that where possible, public funds that may have been misused in relation to the projects under investigation should be recovered and used instead for programmes that benefit all members of our community.
The full Commission of Inquiry report can be viewed here.