Immediate past governor of the BVI, Augustus Jaspert made a final attempt last week to soften the negative blows the BVI has suffered since he announced a historic Commission of Inquiry (COI) into alleged political corruption in local government.
The international press coverage that ensued after the COI was announced has been deemed negative by many in the BVI and there are public concerns that it could damage the territory’s reputation and its financial services industry — the main economic pillar.
Speaking at a press conference last Friday, Jaspert spoke to international onlookers as he reiterated that the “values of integrity, honesty and respect run deep in the BVI”.
“I would like to say something about the character of the BVI, especially to those who may be watching overseas. I firmly believe the values of integrity, honesty and respect run deep in the BVI. Not only are these values set out in our constitution but I’ve seen them shine through every day without exception during my three-and-a-half years here. I’ve had the great honour of meeting some of the most talented, dedicated and honest people I’ve ever come across in my life,” the past Governor said.
Jaspert added that he wouldn’t call the COI something to “damage” the BVI but rather an opportunity for the territory to ensure it remains one of the safest and most transparent jurisdictions in the Caribbean.
“We have an excellent financial services industry that is known worldwide for its strong regulations. We are one of the safest places in the Caribbean to come and visit and live and I don’t want anything to jeopardise that … I wouldn’t say it’s ‘damage’. I would say actually this is the opportunity to ensure that we stay in that strong place, to ensure that any areas that would hold us back are looked into properly and ensure that we prosper even more in the future,” Jaspert explained.
Later on in the press conference, journalists asked Jaspert to comment on the negative headlines that emanated particularly from the United Kingdom. Jaspert said he has no control over media outlets adding that he believes in the idea of “a free press”.
“People write their own headlines as I know you all do, as I know the media in the UK do or any country in the world … Whatever is printed about, I know that we know what is the true picture of integrity of the BVI,” Jaspert said.
Jasper’s last day in office was January 23, 2021.
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