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CoI ‘anxious’ to hear views of HoA members on governance

CoI ‘anxious’ to hear views of HoA members on governance

The Commissioner of the Inquiry into governance in the Virgin Islands, Mr Gary R. Hickinbottom, has said he is eager to hear what is the position of Government Ministers and Members of the House of Assembly (HoA) on governance and has made a request for their position to be shared with him.

According to a press release from the Commission today, May 17, 2021, The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has held a series of hearings over the last two weeks of which the primary focus has been the production of information and documents.

According to the press release, to facilitate the next stage of the CoI, “the Commissioner is anxious to understand the views of the Ministers and Members of the House of Assembly on governance.

“They have made no representations to him to date.”

The Commissioner of the Inquiry into governance in the Virgin Islands, Mr Gary R. Hickinbottom has given a deadline for the position statements from Government Ministers and House of Assembly Members to be lodged with him by Monday, May 31, 2021.


Deadline given for positions to be made known


The Commission said Hickinbottom has, therefore, through their legal representatives, written to the Ministers, Members of the House and the Attorney General asking them to set out their position on governance by reference to a series of questions.

The Commissioner has given a deadline for the position statements to be lodged with him by Monday, May 31, 2021.

“The next stage of the hearings will commence shortly after that date.”

The Commission also stated it is the intention for the next stage of the hearings to be live-streamed.

The method which controversial former governor Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert used to announce the Commission of Inquiry, which included keeping the local government in the dark about his intentions while colluding with the UK press, has raised question about the real motive behind his decision.


Questionable CoI


The Commission of Inquiry (“the Commission”) was announced on January 18, 2021 by ex-governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, mere days after he exited the Virgin Islands.

The method which Mr Jaspert used, which included keeping the local government in the dark about his intentions while colluding with the UK press, has raised questions about the real motive for the CoI.

It is also a known fact that Mr Jaspert shared a strained relationship with the new Government led by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who has pushed for Virgin Islanders to take up top posts in the territory while championing the call for more autonomy for the territory. This has included limiting the powers of the Governor.

Premier Fahie, during the January 5, 2021 sitting of the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA), had stated that the forces opposing his unconventional government have been planning continuously to smear his government and thwart their efforts.

Further, he had warned that the United Kingdom has a history of trying to dismantle a government they do not like by painting them as corrupt.

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