This was announced by Governor John J. Rankin, CMG at a press conference minutes ago, June 8, 2022.
According to Governor Rankin, the Commission of Inquiry report which was published on April 29, 2022, had identified significant failures of governance, including “evidence” of corruption, abuse of office, and serious impropriety to address these failures.
He said it was clear that fundamental changes were required and the final report proposed 49 recommendations to improve good governance, accountability, transparency, and the rule of law, providing a comprehensive and robust road map that will help the territory deliver better public services and meet the aspirations of the people of the VI.
He said the question was how to best implement the Commission of Inquiry recommendations in support of the best interests of the people of the territory since the publication of the Commission of inquiry report.
The Government of National Unity had submitted a final proposal to the UK government outlining clear timelines how they will deliver the Commission of Inquiry recommendations but without the need for a temporary partial suspension of the constitution.
“I can inform you this morning the UK ministers have agreed to the proposal submitted by the Government of National Unity.”
He said the premier and the Government of National Unity had made a commitment to improve governance in the VI “and therefore it is right that elected officials here should have the opportunity to implement the CoI recommendations.
Governor Rankin also made it clear that direct rule was not exactly off the table; however.
According to the UK-appointed governor, he will formally assess progress every three months before sending a quarterly update to the Foreign Secretary in the UK and this will continue throughout the full period of CoI implementation, which is estimated to be two years in total.
“If the government of National Unity Government fails to deliver any of the milestones without reasonable justification or assess that progress is being frustrated in anyway the UK government and I will take action to protect the interests of people here.
According to Governor Rankin, that includes “a continuing option” of temporary suspension of the House of Assembly, Ministerial Government and replaced with a temporary governor-led interim administration assisted by an Advisory Council.
Meanwhile, there have been growing concerns in the public that the coalition government dispatched a proposal to the UK on reform without consultation with the people.
Premier Wheatley announced that the final proposal will be published on the Government of the Virgin Islands website today.
Further, there have been growing calls for early elections to allow the people to decide who should lead the VI during the implementation of the CoI recommendations and other sweeping reforms.