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‘Put up or shut up’ Integrity in Public Life Bill brought to HoA

‘Put up or shut up’ Integrity in Public Life Bill brought to HoA

The Integrity In Public Life Act, 2020, which is part of the suite of good governance legislation by the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, received its Introduction and First Reading at the Seventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola, on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

“I thought it is only timely Mr Speaker, because there are many persons now who have joined up to try to malign my Government and my name, but I with this government; together we're putting in legislation where if anyone has anything on an elected official or public officer, put up or shut up,” sponsor of the Bill, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said.

Bill is part of Good Governance Practices


The Premier reminded that it is his government that is bringing legislation to encourage good governance in the territory so no hiding can take place in public life.

“When you bring it, Mr Speaker, with the Whistleblowing Legislation, you will be paid for the information that you caused action [on] and if you don’t have anything, then you will pay for bringing falsehood… cause I’m tired of persons' name in this country being maligned and persons laughing and thinking that it is a joke,” Hon Fahie remarked.

Bill was a campaign promise


Through the Public Integrity Bill, Hon Fahie said assets of persons will be transparent including their means of wealth creation gained as both Elected official and Public Officers.

“Nobody has forced this government to bring this legislation, nobody has asked this government to bring this legislation… no Commission of Inquiry has caused this legislation to come, it was always in the pipeline, we campaigned on it,” Premier Fahie said.

Hon Fahie said it brings him great joy to finally bring the Bill forward to the House and he thanked the Attorney General (AG), Ms Dawn J. Smith for her support and Governor John J. Rankin, CMG for additional support since the bill will work in tandem with the public service, which is the responsibility of Governor Rankin.

Strengthening the public sector


The proposed legislation will strengthen the accountability of public officials and guard against misconduct and abuse of office.

Premier Fahie had said in December 2020 that the Bill would be forthcoming because his Government believes in promoting and enhancing ethical conduct standards and a drive to push initiatives that consolidate laws relating to the prevention of corruption and the award, monitoring, and investigating of government contracts and prescribed licences.

Through the Integrity in Public Life Bill, according to Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), assets of persons will be transparent including their means of wealth creation gained as both Elected official and Public Officers.

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