BVI News

AG: Gov’t didn’t grant Belongership to convicts! COI mislead the public

Attorney General Dawn Smith

Following news that the governing Virgin Islands Party considered a convicted rapist and another felon for Belongership back in 2019, Attorney General (AG) Dawn Smith today clarified that neither was granted status in the end.

Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley was made to answer questions about the convicted felons during a Commission of Inquiry (COI) hearing on September 28 and told the Commission he could not recall whether the felons in questions were successful.

But while commenting on the COI hearing with Wheatley, AG Smith said: “At no stage between its disclosure on 16 March 2021 and the hearing on 28 September 2021 did the Cabinet give such consent.”

COI created a misleading impression

She also criticised the COI team for their ‘conduct during Minister Wheatley’s oral examination’.

According to Smith, the Commission “had created a misleading impression of the situation relating to certain discussions of the Cabinet about sensitive Belonger status application”.

She raised her concerns in a letter to the COI today, September 30.

The letter, addressed to the Commissioner the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom, said the COI team revealed the contents of the minutes of a Cabinet meeting on November 22, 2019 without prior consent from Cabinet. She also said this is a deviation from the COI’s protocols.

COI blindsided the minister

Smith further said the COI blindsided Minster Wheatley with questioning regarding the minutes as he was not provided with a copy to remind himself of the facts on such a sensitive matter.

“The lack of notice to me and to the Minister on the use of this confidential Cabinet minute and of criticism made in respect of these matter, denied him the opportunity to check the facts and remind himself that the individuals had either not been granted Belonger status or were not under consideration for Belonger status at the time,” she said.

The AG added that the revelations have prejudiced the rights to privacy and administrative fairness of the individuals and victims concerned. This, according to Smith, will cause unnecessary distress for the families of the persons involved.

The letter comes a day after BVI News reported on the hearing where Wheatley disclosed to the COI that he knew one of the criminals from childhood. He vouched for the two applicants and said based on his assessment they were of ‘good character’.

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41 Comments

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  1. LOL says:

    It took you two whole days to respond to this? You guys are just shameful!

    Like 29
    Dislike 9
    • Foolishness and Stupidness says:

      Well said AG
      It is time for the CoI lawyers, who the AG has already stated are acting in a criminal manner since they are not admitted in the BVI, to understand that they are not above the law in the BVI.
      At last the AG is taking a stand and not allowing herself, or the Govt, to be bullied by these outsiders.

      Like 11
      Dislike 41
    • Really says:

      Doesn’t that smell like a big cover-up?

  2. Lipstick on a pig says:

    I don’t believe any of you…especially the peanut h£ad one for Immigr…..

    Like 30
    Dislike 5
  3. Again! says:

    I think the people clearly understood that it was “being considered”. Why restate what was already understood. Clearly, there seems to be a missing link here.

    Like 56
    Dislike 4
  4. Resident says:

    That letter of complaint makes no sense. The point at issue is that the Minister had recommended that Criminals 1 and 2 be granted Belonger status on “humanitarian” grounds not withstanding their convictions because it seemed in one case he knew the family and in the other he had been at school with the criminal applicant. The fact it didn’t actually happen is neither here nor there.

    The recommendation contradicts the grounds available under the Act.

    The killer point is not what the Minister said yesterday; it’s what was in the actual Cabinet minutes, where Criminals 1 and 2 were not rejected out of hand.

    Like 81
    Dislike 2
  5. Please. says:

    We were not misled. We watched the testimony. Nowhere was it said it was granted but it was considered. It wasn’t initially rejected but deferred for 3 weeks. More smoke and mirrors from this administration.

    Like 75
    Dislike 3
  6. Hmmm says:

    Damage already done

    Like 24
  7. problem says:

    the problem wasn’t it was given,the problem is that is was even considered because they knew the premier and ministers, the minister answered the question badly and should of just said he cannotanswer as he does not know the dicission but instead dug a hole so deep even this clarification does not clear the stench

    Like 56
    Dislike 3
  8. Chief says:

    I didn’t see in the publications at least anywhere where the COI concluded that the two persons were granted status. The minister claimed he did not recall the outcome, which we can all agree was anomalous given these two persons’ extraordinary circumstances. Not sure how much debriefing would have been necessary for him to remember the final decision on these two. With that said, to even consider two convicted rapists for belonger was unprecedented, ridiculous, and a display of questionable judgment.

    Like 48
    Dislike 2
    • WOW says:

      How many police officers, nurses, and teachers did the premier consider who spoke to him from his heart? How many police officers, teachers and nurses did the minister with responsibility for immigration was sympathetic with during the fast track? You all are exposed for who you all are.

      Like 11
      Dislike 3
      • Chief says:

        I agree that should be addressed too if these things indeed occurred. Alleging more wrongs committed by others doesn’t make what is in question here right. Justifying wrongs committed by one side with wrongs committed by another means that you are apart of the problem. Speak up when you see these things.

  9. Foolishness and Stupidness says:

    Well said AG
    It is time for the CoI lawyers, who the AG has already stated are acting in a criminal manner since they are not admitted in the BVI, to understand that they are not above the law in the BVI.
    At last the AG is taking a stand and not allowing herself, or the Govt, to be bullied by these outsiders.

    Like 7
    Dislike 53
    • @Foolishness says:

      The AG was the one that appointed the Commissioner and his Counsel that’s why they can be here conducting their inquiries. Do not speak about what you have no clue of.

      Like 21
      Dislike 2
      • ..... says:

        The Governor appointed the Commissioner. The AG appointed Rawat (Ratbat/Olaf), Andrew King and Rhea Harrikissoon to be lawyers in the Inquiry on the request of the Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry.

    • Strange says:

      So dumb… as the Lawyers were appointed by the AG herself it means that her action was illegal and therefore she is equally culpable if indeed, they had to be called to the bar. Then again, have they been called to the bar? Given the circumstances, there is no requirement for the trio to be called to the bar.

    • Judge Dred says:

      I think Mr Wiglock just lost a lot of money betting on that fact

  10. watchman says:

    Well look here. The COI not being straight fwd and trying to use entrapment of imaginary crimes and abuse of power. COI go back where you come from. The ppl are starting to wake up to your age old tactics now. You sat in england and planned for ignorant local island people fueled by the south african and british expats and their opinions. Took the frustrations of disgruntled Ben Arnolds looking for OBE’s by helping you take over. Gossiping like market women and disrespecting the elected officials. Cart your arse back to your mushy peas. Come correct to do good or don’t come at all. You have lost your moral authority in the eyes of many local people.

    Like 11
    Dislike 54
    • moral authority? says:

      Cheese and bread! Like considering felons and rapists for Belongership? Bang to rights, nothing “imaginary” here. This is jaundiced whining without merit or reasoned argument.

  11. Humpfh says:

    The COI never said they granted the Belongership. The mere fact that it was a discussion in Cabinet and was deferred for 3 weeks. The COI is revealing just what we need to see what our politicians are up to. Dont be distract folks, they want to take our minds away from this topic.

    Like 51
    Dislike 4
  12. HUH! says:

    Firstly the CoI mislead the BVI public as to who were data controllers of information given to them – they originally said on the CoI website that the FCDO was a joint controller, then changed the website, and then threw a hissy fit when the Govt lawyer pointed out the error.
    The three CoI lawyers were caught practising law and holding themselves out as legal practitioners without being admitted, and kept on doing so even after the AG confirmed that they are breaking the criminal law. They still breack the law every minute of every day.
    Then they breached their own confidentiality protocols to blind side a minister, and no doubt with the intention of whipping up a public outcry – they were successful but what they implied was simply not true.
    I thought that the CoI was a good idea, but I simply do not trust the very very thin skinned Commissioner or his unlawful lawyers.

    Like 6
    Dislike 56
    • Rubber Duck says:

      Try again, anyone with a brain listening in would have heard that nowhere did they say that it was granted. The issue of consideration is the reason for the outcry here.

      Like 22
  13. lillian says:

    no moore abusing expats enough is enough! n****rs back to slave!

    Like 6
    Dislike 6
  14. 1st district says:

    Madame AG, let the coi continue in the hearings of the people. All the politicians behave like they have zero responsibilities to we the people. Let the dust keep coming out from under the bed and clean the house. I would like to see my grandchildren enjoy their bvi life time like I did. This is heart breaking for us adults.

    Like 15
  15. Currupt System says:

    The belonger and Resident System is currupt, only the belonger process is fair…

  16. Yes says:

    Very well done/said Ms. AG.

    Like 2
    Dislike 15
  17. GET IT IN YOHEAD says:

    the COI has touched the so called UNTOUCHABLES who is imploding gradually / even their CLANDISTINE canaries are sounding pitiful

  18. Currupt System says:

    The belonger and Resident System is currupt, only the naturalize process is fair…

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  19. Sam Studdard says:

    Cousin Vinny already was taken to the cleaners. No need to make excuses

  20. THE TRUTH says:

    Apparently already admitted, the first set of HOA minutes provided to the COI neglected to include the relevant passages GOV had filleted them! Only whe the board noticed and demanded a complete copy was it provided. Why then would any witness be surprised to be asked after a knowing attempt to surpree THE TRUTH!

  21. THE TRUTH says:

    Apparently already admitted, the first set of HOA minutes provided to the COI neglected to include the relevant passages GOV had filleted them! Only whe the board noticed and demanded a complete copy was it provided. Why then would any witness be surprised to be asked after a knowing attempt to suppress THE TRUTH!

  22. Well hmmm says:

    If they were willing to give convicted criminals status God knows if every one who got status during the fast track even qualified. Seem like power of discretion was being flaunted during that process where there is no lawful power of discretion. Thank goodness the then acting Governor put her foot down or else they would have gone ahead with it, and thank goodness for the COI because the public would have never known…SMDH

  23. Mate says:

    The AG is out of her league on this

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  24. Anonymous says:

    OK. The hard core immigration guy tried to let a convicted felon become a belonger…Why?
    The only answer is ‘there was corruption’. That’s why the COI is asking the question. Something not right, and the guy can not answer for it when asked. Can we get back to the real issue please!
    So you are saying he did it in secret, and the COI should not bring that up, so it was he that was wronged?
    The BVI is one messed up place to have anyone come up with this line of defense in a corruption inquiry. What is wrong with these people!?

  25. PIG says:

    When the COI finished with this little country, I hope those of you who backing them and going against your own people, will not be left grovelling for the leftovers from the pigs

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
    • Lipstick on a Pig says:

      People like you “PIG” is what got the country screwed up in the first place!! Politicians doing shyte for decades and they answer to no one. They need exposing and yes I am a local backing the COI.

      As for “the leftovers from the pigs,” I aint worried about that. Im more worried about our politicians dumb train of thought that could lead to detrimental consequences for our country. Fed up of the crap thats happening. This VIP bunch is the worse that I have ever seen though. They cant seem to get much right, if anything at all.

  26. Hehe says:

    It took two days cause to get the lawyer
    To write this speech for het

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