That hearing is scheduled to take place in the next two weeks on Wednesday, November 24.
“The logistics and detailed timetable for that hearing are not yet finalised … Following the provision of additional documentary evidence on behalf of the elected ministers, the Commissioner also intends to take oral evidence from a small number of other witnesses. Those witnesses will be confirmed shortly,” COI Secretary Steven Chandler said a written statement moments ago.
He continued: “Having received a list of those matters on which they wish to file joint closing written submissions, the Commissioner has given the Attorney General and the elected ministers permission to do so limited to 20 pages. He has stressed the importance of adhering to that page count. Once those submissions are received, the Commissioner will consider if there is a need to hear oral submissions from Counsel instructed on behalf of the Attorney General and the elected Ministers. Any oral submissions are likely to be limited to matters arising from the written submissions.”
The COI intends to deal with all outstanding evidential matters, and any final oral submissions on November 24, Chandler stated.
Representatives from Silk Legal — the law firm representing non-Cabinet members in parliament — will not be permitted to make final submissions.
Chandler explained why. He said: “Silk Legal on behalf of the members of the House of Assembly (except the elected ministers and the Attorney General) have neither submitted a list of any matters upon which they wish to make closing submissions as required by the Commissioner’s 22 October 2021 Order, nor have they applied for an extension of time to do so. Similarly, they have neither filed submissions in relation to the Sea Cow’s Bay Project (which they previously indicated they may wish to do), nor sought an extension of time. In the circumstances, Silk Legal will not be permitted to make oral closing submissions.”
The Commission of Inquiry was issued on January 19, 2021 to look into whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place amongst public, elected and statutory officials in recent years; and to make appropriate recommendations as to governance and the operation of the law enforcement and justice systems in the BVI. Those recommendations are to be submitted to the governor by the one-year anniversary date of the COI being issued.