The independent Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into allegations of corruption in the BVI may threaten the progress the Territory has made in developing its democracy and governance.
This is according to Opposition Leader, Hon. Marlon Penn in a statement issued one day after Governor Augustus Jaspert announced that an inquiry will be held into allegations of corruption, victimization and the criminal justice system among other areas.
“As a matter of clarity, the instigation of a Commission of Inquiry of this nature is materially significant for our Territory. Not only might it raise troubling questions for our governing institutions, it might equally threaten the notable progress and large strides we have made in developing our democracy and strengthening our institutions and our Governance,” he said on Tuesday afternoon, January 19.
Hon. Penn, who said that he awaits more details including the terms of reference of the inquiry, said it the fact that there was no diplomacy involved before such a decision was made, speaks volume on where the Territory is in finding resolve.
“In the spirit of diplomacy, it is customary to primarily address and resolve such concerns through strategic and diplomatic engagement, constructive partnership, open dialogue and demonstrable commitments. Moving forward with a Commission of Inquiry with allegations of this nature speaks volumes on where we are in finding resolve,” he lamented.
The Opposition Leader said that he hopes that additional details, as well as his other engagements, will help to further inform his views, response, and future conversations with the public on the matter.
“What we have learnt so far from the Governor’s announcement, is that among the various allegations, there is a strong allegation of lack of transparency with the stimulus spending and government contracts, mismanagement of public funds, conflicts of interests, political interference in statutory organisations, the public service and the criminal system,” Hon. Penn pointed out.
Hon. Penn said that the BVI’s core values being brought into question by way of a Commission of Inquiry, gives cause for serious introspection and the opportunity to reevaluate the Territory’s current position and progress to fully achieving them.
“We are at the beginning of what likely will be one of the most pivotal periods in our history. One that will test our unity, reveal our weaknesses, and question the governance of our Territory. I understand the anxiety of the moment and I ask that you be patient, informed, and engaged,” Hon. Penn stated.