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Integrity bill ‘giving me some sleepless nights’- Hon Fraser

Integrity bill ‘giving me some sleepless nights’- Hon Fraser

Senior Legislator in the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly, Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) has revealed that he is having ‘sleepless nights’ over the proposed Integrity in Public Life Act, 2021, calling for clarity on several aspects of the bill.

Raising concerns about the powers of the bill, as well as those empowered by the bill, Hon Fraser during the December 20, 2021, sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA), said one of the biggest issues with the proposed legislation is that the Act has the possibility to impose on private life.

Impositions on private life


“Back in the day, I know you had difficulties finding people to sit on boards when there was no intrusion into their private life. No we are going to start intruding in their public life, what they do, how they do it?” he asked.

“What difficulties are we going to have coming forward? Maybe you would have a string of run-of-the-mill people,” sHon Fraser said.

The Legislator also raised concerns with the proposed powers of the Integrity Commission and those empowered by it to carry out investigations, which he says is similar to the functions of the police.

“It gets more juicy Mr Speaker, these people are allowed to do things, it sends chills in my body,” he said.

“I would imagine these drafts, these bills, were not generated here in the Virgin Islands. if I’m wrong, someone correct me, but all these other places have their issues,” he added in suspecting that the bill may have been modeled after legislation in another country.

Hon Fraser said other societies may have proposed the ‘draconian measures' of their bills, due to local issues.

Calling other aspects of the proposed bill one that creates a situation of ‘double jeopardy’, Hon Fraser cited the Declaration of Interest Act where House Members must declare their interest when taking up public office.


Double Jeopardy


Calling other aspects of the proposed bill one that creates a situation of ‘double jeopardy’, Hon Fraser cited the Register of Interest Act where House Members must declare their interest when taking up public office.

He said, however, members would still have to declare interest yet again if said members wish to engage in business with the Government under the proposed Integrity Bill.

The Integrity in Public Life Act, 2021, seeks to establish an Integrity Commission which would assist in achieving the Government’s objectives to promote good governance, enhance ethical conduct of public officials and strengthen the prevention and detection of corrupt acts by persons in public life.

While raising more concerns, Hon Fraser said the legislation is too broad, intrusive, and draconian as it relates to some of the measures and the concerns he raised, “It’s carrying a lot of powers that I don’t know is vested in the right place,” he said.

The proposed legislation was introduced by Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) on April 22, 2021, in the House, with the Premier stating that the bill was just one of many good governance legislation brought to the House by his administration as yet another step towards the territory policing itself.

The proposed legislation was introduced by Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) on April 22, 2021, in the House with the Premier stating that the bill was one of many good governance legislation brought to the House by his administration as yet another step towards the territory policing itself.

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