The CoI was launched by embattled ex-Governor Augustus J.U Jaspert as a parting gift to the Fahie administration under sole Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom, who is currently preparing his report after months of receiving testimony from present and past legislators, public officers, and residents.
The CoI is reportedly an investigation into whether corruption exists in the territory and whether unfounded allegations of victimization and intimidation are factual, however, many have suspected the inquiry to be a fishing expedition by the UK Government with the ultimate aim of taking control of the territory.
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.
According to Dr. Wheatley, “It [the Act] is something that we promised, and it is something that we are delivering, something we campaigned on,” he said during the December 20, 2021, in the virtual session of the House of Assembly.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, these are things which way before anybody know about any kind of Commission of Inquiry (CoI). Now c’mon, these things have been motivated by a CoI? You have not been paying attention, you have been fast asleep,” the Deputy Premier added.
Virgin Islands Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) also stated that the Government of the Virgin Islands was not forced to bring the Bill to the House.
“I will make it clear that no one has forced this government to bring any of legislation including the one today."
"No one has insisted, no one has done anything at all to say we had to do it or else, there has been no ultimatum, there has been nothing, other than the Government of the Virgin Islands keeping its solemn promise to the people of the Virgin Islands to move forward with further strengthening good governance by introducing such legislation.”
He said the VI being able to police itself, “is part of the journey of political maturity.”
“This legislation which your government has brought forward is an important milestone for our journey towards increased self-determination whenever our people decide to move in that direction,” the VI’s leader added.