BVI, Caribbeanand International News

‘Private Citizen’ Gives CoI List Of Areas To Probe

‘Private Citizen’ Gives CoI List Of Areas To Probe

In a letter dated May 6, 2021, someone claiming to be a ‘private citizen’ penned a letter to Commissioner the Right Honorable Sir Garry Hickinbottom requesting that he expand the scope of the UK backed Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to include areas such as mass looting and the security breakdown of the prison after the 2017 hurricanes, former Governors and Commissioners of Police as well as a mysterious death.

A copy of the letter, which was hand-delivered to BVI Platinum News on May 19, said: “Mr. Hickinbottom, these matters are of such national importance that if your Commission fails to include these in your inquiry, then it may result in the VI public, regional, international governments and the press coming to the conclusion that your CoI lacked legitimacy, integrity, lawfulness and is a witch hunt with a conclusion already written.”

As such, “In the spirit of good governance, cooperation and natural justice, I submit the following national concerns as a private resident for consideration in your Commission of Inquiry. I look forward to transparency and your commitment to the rule of law.”

The letter called on Commissioner Hickinbottom to “investigate the security breakdown (particularly at HM Prisons) following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. There were prisoners, some charged with murder, out on the streets on all the islands, and who is to be held responsible. Investigate widespread looting following the hurricanes of 2017, where businesses and residents (even at their homes) lost millions of dollars as a result of looting. Who is being held accountable and refund residents and businesses?”

Governors, RVIPF background checks

The one-page letter then pointed to the issue of staffing at the Governor’s Office where “there is reportedly no locals (people of colour), employed in the Foreign and Commonwealth side.”

“Is it that there are no qualified locals who can work in that area? Or is it the policy to exclude the local populace in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights (discrimination)? Please inquire about this matter.”

The document also urged the Commission to probe into the types of background checks being carried out on individuals employed by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) in light of the recent drug bust involving two serving members of the police force.

It continued: “Please also investigate why the British Press were reportedly made aware of the Virgin Islands CoI before the local press and government. Is this consistent with the modern partnership expressed in the VI Constitution? Is this transparency and good governance? Please have your inquiry audit the funds spent on both the former Governor (Augustus J. U. Jaspert) and former Police Commissioner (Michael Matthews) in their official capacity.”

The ‘private citizen’ also encouraged Sir Hickinbottom to also extend his probe into “whether the former Commissioner of Police or other Police Commissioners and the former Governor or any former Governors have purchased property in the VI or receive largesse and the source of their income once they demit office.”

The final request is relating to the death of Jamaican landscaper Junior Peters, whose death was ruled an accident following a probe by the RVIPF.

Peters was at the time engaged in a landscaping project at Horse Path in July 2020 when he mysteriously disappeared, and his decomposing body was only found a week later at the bottom of the hill by a search party led by former Governor Augustus Jaspert.

“Please investigate the mysterious death,” the letter said.

The CoI was established in January this year by former Governor Jaspert to review the territory’s governance and to make recommendations for improvement.


Related Articles