Various media articles and statements describing the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) as already having a pre-determined conclusion has prompted a response from its Commissioner, Sir Gary Hickinbottom.
For months, Premier Andrew Fahie
has given indications in the House of Assembly (HOA) and on other platforms, that the conclusion of the COI
has already been written.
The Premier’s rhetoric in this regard has also been adopted on certain media platforms and by at least one attorney representing some HOA members in the COI
But according to Sir Gary, the articles only serve to speculate on findings or recommendations which he might make in his final report.
“Insofar as these suggest that I have come to any conclusions in relation to findings or recommendations, even on a provisional basis, they are simply wrong,” the Commissioner stated.
Further, the Commissioner sought to reassure observers that he had not made any such findings and would not make conclusions until he had “heard all relevant evidence and considered all relevant submissions”.
Sir Gary has continued to insist that the inquiry is only a fact-finding vehicle and is not accusatory in any manner.
This is not the first time that the Commissioner has had cause to issue a statement correcting erroneous publications made.
According to the COI
’s terms of reference, its purpose is to establish whether there is evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty that has taken place in public office in recent years, and if so, what conditions allowed this to happen.
The Commission of Inquiry
stated that it is not a court, and as such will not make findings of criminality.
The Commissioner is expected to report his findings and recommendations to the governor by January 19 next year.