Following a series of financial mismanagement scandals in the Smith administration, a number of new laws aimed at promoting integrity in public office are being rolled out in the British Virgin Islands.
One of those promised policies is an Integrity in Public Life Act – a legislation that will provide for the implementation of an Integrity Commission.
In making the announcement on Thursday, Governor Augustus Jaspert said the commission has the purpose of “establishing probity, integrity, and accountability in public life”.
“It will seek to preserve and promote the integrity of public officials and institutions,” he said.
Protection for whistleblowers
Also on the legislative agenda is a Whistleblowing Protection law so persons can report maladministration in the public service.
With this law, persons who report misconduct or wrongdoing of a high-ranking public official will be protected from penalisation, the governor explained.
A code of conduct policy is also to be brought before the House.
“The code will identify a set of standards that ministers are expected to follow in protecting the integrity of their public office,” the governor said.
Governor Jaspert noted that these new laws are in a bid to promote good governance.
But, this is not the first time promises have been made about laws that promote good governance.
The Freedom of Information law is one that has been promised for years. Jaspert himself said in his First Speech From the Throne roughly six months ago that a Freedom of Information Act would be implemented this year.
He made fresh promises in his second Speech from the Throne address on Thursday.
In the meantime, the Smith administration has been the subject of scandals such as the reported $30 million cost overrun of the cruise pier project, the questionable $7.2 million BVI Airways deal, among other things.
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