The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration said it welcomes a transparent Commission of Inquiry (CoI), but said such a move must only take place after local agencies such as the Auditor General's office and Public Accounts Committee are allowed to complete their work.
The Government via Facebook pointed out that Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie 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.
The investigations named related to the Pier Park Project, BVI Airways and the Elmore Stoutt High School Wall, all of which occurred under the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.
"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," the Government noted.
According to the Government, 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," the Government stated.
Earlier today, Governor announced the CoI would be led by a senior impartial judge coming from outside of the Territory, the Right Hon. Sir Gary Hickinbottom.
Furthermore, the the Governor noted that the Judge will have powers under the Commission of Inquiry Ordinance to collect evidence and summon witnesses in a way that our local institutions cannot.
The Governor has pointed out that local agencies with responsibility for oversight are being prevented from accessing information and there are delays with implementing anti-corruption laws.