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Integrity Commission being established to regulate public officials

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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28 Comments

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  1. Ali says:

    Praise the Lord!

    • Independence Day says:

      This is a day to remember. Thank you Mr Governor.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is absolutely no one in the Territory with an ounce of integrity. Actually the word is not part of the spoken BVI language. Lying, deceit, bigotry, racism, theft are the most common words associated with the population. Stop the smoke and mirror show. This is just another example of deceit and to provide jobs for the families of the elite belongers. You all haven’t learned from your past. You will!!!

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    • Watcher says:

      will this commisson’s oversight include why an announced candidate for a party in upcoming elections continue to preside as Speaker of the Legislature?

  2. ndp heckler says:

    WE SURVIVED HURRICANE IRMARIA BUT WE CANT SURVIVE HURRICANE NDP

  3. well sah says:

    The smith administration has brought this country to shame.It’s best we had voted in the fraser administration last time because i don’t think that fraser would’ve let us down in this way.

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    • Cookie says:

      The country is broken, the dump is on fire, all our money spent, and Dr Orlando and his party are smiling. They got their share of our money making bad decisions in secrecy and not conducting any due diligence. Thry won’t even release the long past due audit. What else are they hiding? Why don’t they just return any money they took? We could use it to rebuild our schools and roads and maybe even put out the dump fire?

      Walwyn, why won’t you release the audit? Will you promise to prosecute anyone in your party that received a kickback from the airline, airport or pier projects?

  4. Next steps says:

    All elected officials should have to disclose their personal financial records during and for ten years after their terms to prevent them from pocketing our money.
    How much of that 7.2 million found its way into the pockets of our elected officials?
    Why has our finance minister been promoting the airport runway project so aggressively? Has he been paid to do so? Who paid him? How much?
    Following the storm, he continued to promote the runway instead of focusing on repairing our broken schools, our broken roads, or broken utility services, our slow internet. Who distracted him from doing his job?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely right. This is like having the wolves guard the hen house. There is no disclosure of the politicians finances. Even if there was, the money they stole is in offshore accounts. Remember this is a main reason they don’t want disclosure of beneficial ownership. There is no taxing, thus no disclosure of income. The BVI IS A BANANA REPUBLIC. Those in power rob and steal at will. Your fate is sealed. Beg on your hands and knees fro the UK to take over the government. It’s your only salvation

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  5. Not2Sure says:

    The BIG question is who will sit on this Commission. Will it be all the same “insiders” who run everything? If so, why should we expect it to bring about any change?

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    • CSC says:

      Ask Claude S. Cline who will sit on these boards, since all he talks about is why expats have to come in and take the senior positions. It’s all about integrity and accountability. If you don’t have checks and balances the same locals will give their family and friends the monies and the country will go under. Instead we should welcome the experience and skills of other persons coming to the country and hopefully this would be passed on to the locals who will benefit and not be afraid to say when wrong is wrong and right is right.

  6. Jokes says:

    It’s always corruption when certain people don’t get their cut. Sick of the nonsense now! When certain people do it, it’s “Taking care of our people and empowering locals”..when others do it it’s “Cronyism and corruption!”..

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    • Joke is on us says:

      “Sick of the nonsense” The joke has been on us for too long. Dr Smith, there are people who are saying that you and you ministers took money from us. If this is not true, please just say so, so we can believe you and move on to solving all the problems.?

    • True colors says:

      Dr. Smith, “Taking care of our people” by giving them kickbacks is a primitive form of governance that has to end today if we are to advance as a nation. Just how much of our money did you receive from your secretive decision to invest 7.2 million in the airline? Why won’t you tell us? And where is the audit?

  7. My View says:

    A lot of these people enter politics and government not to help the territory, but to help themselves to public money. Typical of many “black countries” around the world. Very depressing. Dr. Smith should be ashamed to have his name mixed up in these things. I guess being too nice can be a bad thing.

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  8. Smokey says:

    Should Smith and his gang be pardoned or prosecuted? If he is made an example of it would discourage continued abuse and help with our outlook for recovery. If he is pardoned then we could start the long recovery process. Maybe we should name the dump after him?

    • What Time Is It? says:

      The Power Plant at Pockwood is Named after his brother; Joey Smith. I don’t see any reason why the incinerator couldn’t be named, Dr. D Orlando Smith Incinerator?

  9. Rubber Duck says:

    Thus confirming there is a problem.

  10. Says it all really! says:

    https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278760.pdf

    What does the current administration and more specifically the new leader of NDP have to say about his report that has been in the public view since March?

  11. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Why are honesty and integrity legislation so late in coming. After the suspension of the legislature in 1901, the legislature was reactivated in 1950 in the aftermath of the Great March in November 1949. Ministerial government was ushered in 1967 and the latest constitutional change occuring in 2007. Yet no honesty, integrity……etc. legislation.

    Nonetheless, it seems like the current government poor performance was the genesis for the pending legislation. Governor Jaspert should not have been the only one to see that legislation was needed. Good governance, ie, transparency, responsibility, accountability……..etc should have dictated that it was needed. Anyway better late than never regardless of whom brought it.

    Elected officials should complete disclosure documents upon being sworn in to office. And they, along with senior civil servants, should have to complete disclosure statements annually.

  12. Brad Boynes says:

    One person I know will do well on such a commission is Guy Hill.

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  13. Follow the money says:

    “You cant get rich in politics unless you’re a crook”
    Harry S Truman

  14. Rex FeRaL says:

    Drugs kill…. So does Politics.

  15. /////// says:

    You can make all the laws you want…unless they are enforced, they mean nothing! This will just another one on the books and shoved into a cupboard until it serves the best interest of some politician or some of their cronies.

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