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Jaspert had said ‘CoIs are expensive & reveal nothing’- Premier Fahie

Jaspert had said ‘CoIs are expensive & reveal nothing’- Premier Fahie

With the Opposition often insinuating that Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) was often running to the Governor to persuade him to call a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into government when he was in the Opposition, the Premier has again sought to set the record straight.
I never called for a CoI on entire VI Gov’t- Premier

According to the now Leader of Government Business, he was seeking a CoI only into the Tortola Pier Park Project but he gave up on it after the then Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert told him CoIs were a waste of time and cost too much money. After then, Premier Fahie said he never went back to the Governor for anything.

“And for the record, I went down [to the governor], I ain’t shame to say it [because] I said it in the CoI, I went down to see if I could get a CoI to see what had happened in the Ports Project. I didn’t hide it from the CoI, I said it.

“I didn’t go down there asking for no CoI on the entire Government,” Premier Fahie said during the 12th Sitting of the 3rd Session of the 4th House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duffs Bottom, Tortola on October 28, 2021.

Ex-Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert announced the CoI into governance in the Virgin Islands on Martin Luther King Day, on January 18, 2021, mere days before he permanently exited the VI.

Jaspert said CoIs expensive & fruitless- Premier

According to the Premier, Mr Jaspert’s response was discouraging.

“And when I went, the Governor told me CoIs don’t reveal nothing, and they expensive, and based on the Auditor General’s Report and what you all have done, all we see is the lesson learnt. And he said I would be wasting money. All that I was told.”

Hon Fahie said he vowed never to return to the Governor to seek such help.

“And Iris boy left from there and I had never come back. “I tell he ‘you would never see me there around again asking for nothing at all, at all at all’, because the first thing they had tell us is you in the Opposition, go do your work. The PAC [Public Accounts Committee] didn't do any work.”

Premier said he then went to work on a report on the Tortola Pier Park Project.

“So we went and we did a report. We interviewed a lot of people for the report [but] nothing came up different from what the Auditor General was saying. As a matter of fact, they were clarifying certain things.”

Auditor General Sonia M. Webster had stated in her report that, among other things, the government did not get value for money and that no one was looking out for the interest of the territory, regarding the project that saw some $40M in overruns.

In the Opposition you push, you reach to the Governor and he says it's lessons learnt and you leave that alone. So I always felt after that that a Commission of Inquiry was too expensive to have and it will reveal nothing, and based on the Auditor General’s Report, it is just lessons to be learnt. That is what I came away with when I visited the Governor and left and had never went back there since.”

Ex-Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert had refused to call a CoI into the Tortola Pier Park Project but found it easy to call a CoI on the entire VI Government, who he had a strained relationship with.

Jaspert ‘must have gotten a clone on me’

Premier Fahie also noted that he heard the Governor saying that he [Hon Fahie] visited him frequently as a Member of the Opposition.

“I don’t know, he must have gotten a clone on me somehow. [I] never went back and I never troubled the government from then after that,” Premier Fahie stated.

In response to the now Opposition also saying he frequented the Governor’s Office while in the Opposition, Hon Fahie said he could count it, on one hand, the number of times he visited the Governor.

He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the ex-Governor, who it was known shared a strained relationship with the Premier and was accused of intimidation and violating the constitution.

Jaspert, unknowing to the VI Government, schemed with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to call the CoI into governance.

The then Governor announced the CoI on Martin Luther King Jr Day, on January 18, 2021, mere days before he exited the VI.

“But when it is convenient now they called a full CoI and then the terms of reference so broad they went as far back as HL Stoutt time and even further back,” Hon Fahie stated.


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