There is no specific timeframe of focus outlined for the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Government corruption and other malpractices in public office.
The gazetted instrument of appointment for Sir Gary Hickinbottom to lead the CoI made no reference to a timestamp.
Instead, the terms of reference specifically state that the CoI is to establish whether there is information that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty in relation to officials, whether statutory, elected or the public may have taken place in recent years.
It is believed that 'recent years' would give the former UK Judge more scope to take the investigation as far back as he chooses.
The instrument of appointment was issued on Tuesday, January, 19 and gazetted today, Wednesday, January 20.
The document stated that the Hickinbottom would function as a one-person Commission to “make a full, faithful, and impartial inquiry into the matters specified in this Commission and to conduct such inquiry in accordance with the directions herein given.”
Meanwhile, the document states that the meetings of the Commission may be held in private where appropriate and allow information to be given in confidence.
Governor Jaspert then charged and commanded all officers and other subjects of Her Majesty to assist and aid in the execution of the CoI.
Terms of Reference
The CoI will also seek to establish whether there is information to consider the conditions which allowed that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty to take place and whether they may still exist.
If needs be, independent recommendations to improve the standards of governance, “to give the people of the Virgin Islands confidence that government is working in a fair, transparent and proper manner” as well as the operation of law enforcement agencies and justice in the territory to should be made.
“Should the Commissioner at any time consider that a change to these terms of reference would be beneficial to public welfare in achieving the objectives of the Inquiry, to inform the then Governor of the Virgin Islands at the first opportunity,” the gazetted instrument stated.
Within a six-month time frame, there must be a written report on the findings which would be submitted to the Governor, including any recommendations.
In the meantime, Stephen Clive Chandler was also appointed to be Secretary to the Commission and is tasked to attend the sittings of the Commission, to record proceedings, to keep the papers, to summon and minute the testimony of witnesses and generally to perform such duties connected with the inquiry as may be prescribed.