BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HON. ANDREW A. FAHIE
ON THE SUBMISSION OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT
5TH APRIL 2022
Good day and God’s blessing to All.
On 4th April 2022, His Excellency the Governor John J. Rankin CMG kindly informed me of his receipt of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report from Sir Gary Hickinbottom. I thanked the Governor for his update.
I have not received a copy of the report, but in our meeting this morning, Governor Rankin assured me that I, and the relevant persons, would have an opportunity to review the report before having initial discussions with him on its content. Following my administration’s review, we will submit a comprehensive written response to the report.
I agree with Governor Rankin that a period of review is needed to review the lengthy and detailed document in order to properly consider its findings and recommendations before the report is released to the public.
At our meeting, I also reiterated that my Administration has never been against a COI. We have always advocated that it should be transparent, objective and yield a just outcome. That is why we fully cooperated with the COI.
I also emphasised to Governor Ranking that my Administration remains committed to Good Governance and stands ready to discuss the findings and recommendations of the report after review, so that together we can consider any further steps needed to further strengthen the systems of Government in the Virgin Islands in the best interest of the people of the Territory.
I also previously shared this position with the United Kingdom Minister for the Overseas Territories, The Right Honourable Amanda Milling, MP during her visit.
Good progress is already being made, and has been ongoing, as we implement several pieces of Good Governance legislation that my Administration promised to deliver in our 2019 election manifesto.
Prior to the announcement of the COI on 18 January 2021 and continuing thereafter, my Government, on our own initiative, has introduced and passed legislation in the House of Assembly to further strengthen Good Governance in the Virgin Islands. These legislations included the Contractor General Act, Integrity in Public Life Act, Ministerial Code of Conduct, Whistleblower Act, and the Public Procurement Act.
Other Good Governance measures have also been in the works, inclusive of setting up of the Human Rights Commission and introducing additional legislation including but not limited to the Freedom of Information Act and Amendments to the Registrar of Interests Act.
I am pleased that Governor Rankin and I are working closely in this regard.
I look forward to reviewing the COI report once received and having initial discussions with Governor Rankin on its contents. I very much appreciate the Governor’s openness to engagement.
Additionally, I look forward to travelling to the United Kingdom to have discussions with Minister Milling on the report, which I first proposed at the Joint Ministerial Council last year, and again during her recent visit to the Territory.
I thank the Minister for her openness to receiving me when I travel. It is also very appropriate for Governor Rankin to be present for those discussions.
As the review of the COI report commences, I would like to restate what I have previously said, my Administration remains committed to Good Governance and will continue to further strengthen the systems of Government, and we look forward to engaging the United Kingdom in this regard.
Restoring the modern partnership between the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom continues and I am confident that by continuing to work together we will achieve the balance needed to see the continued growth and development of the Territory.
I will make a follow-up statement at the appropriate time.