Following questions from sections of the community, the Cabinet will resume releasing decisions from its weekly meetings.
The Cabinet office had stopped releasing the decisions around March 2020, around the same time that the Territory went into lockdown due to the COVID
"The Cabinet remains committed to good governance principles of transparency and accountability. It is in this spirit that the Cabinet Office will resume publicizing Cabinet decisions with effect from 11th February 2021 covering the period of decisions taken from its first meeting held on 7th January 2021," the Cabinet indicated in a statement today, February 9.
The Cabinet stated that in 2020, the number of Cabinet meetings dramatically increased to 94, compared to 42 held in 2019. This was due to Government’s shift to urgently provide the necessary strategic response to the declaration by the World Health Organisation that COVID
-19 had been characterised as a pandemic.
So why no decisions were released?
The Cabinet advised that the majority of Cabinet decisions taken at its 2020 meetings were made public as part of the Government’s COVID
Additionally, it was pointed out that the Premier and Minister of Finance and Ministers made statements in the House of Assembly based on COVID
-19 related and unrelated Cabinet decisions; thereby maintaining Government’s commitment to being accountable and transparent.
"The procedures for the confirmation of Cabinet Minutes and the associated confirmation of decisions were developed for non-crisis conditions and will be strictly observed as much as possible. In that regard, it was agreed that the backlog of decisions that are yet to be confirmed will be ratified by the Cabinet and the Cabinet Office will make a determined effort to release those decisions within the shortest time possible," the Cabinet stated.
Cabinet decisions will continue to be publicised under the following guidelines:
1. Cabinet decisions will be published by the Cabinet Office following confirmation of the minutes.
2. Only a summary of the decisions will be published.
3. Cabinet discussions will not be disclosed.
4. Cabinet decisions of a sensitive nature, matters of national security, those in breach of regional or international conventions and those relating to personal privacy will not be disclosed.
5. Cabinet decisions will be published in the Virgin Islands
Official Gazette every Thursday at www.eservices.gov.vg/gazette and on Twitter.
The Cabinet meets every Wednesday and is supported by the Cabinet Office, which facilitates and monitors the implementation of executive decision-making within the government.