BVI News

Audit on controversial wall now in hands of police, says Governor

Governor Augustus Jaspert

Police have now gotten involved in the controversy surrounding the perimeter wall erected around Elmore Stoutt High School.

Governor Augustus Jaspert said the police department’s involvement in the matter is as a result of the ‘special report’ from the Office of the Auditor General, which stated that there were a number of “procedural issues and irregularities” in how the Myron Walwyn-led Ministry of Education executed the wall project.

“It is now important that due process is followed in dealing with the recommendations of the report and, to that end, these will now be taken forward with the appropriate ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Finance and Deputy Governor’s Office and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force,” Governor Jaspert said.

“As the report is now in the hands of these agencies, I will not comment further. I will support all those involved in ensuring that any issues raised in the report are addressed in the appropriate manner,” added Jaspert, who also said he is ‘most disappointed’ that Walwyn violated the law and publicised the findings of the Auditor General’s report on the wall before it was tabled in the House of Assembly.

The report was only tabled in the House yesterday (December 13).

“I have not made a statement on the special report until now as the correct procedure, as per the Audit Act 2003, is that the report be laid before the House of Assembly,” the governor explained.

“Although the report was disclosed to the public in violation of the procedure specified in the Audit Act, it would not, of course, have been appropriate for me to comment at that point on the report itself prior to its presentation at the House of Assembly.”

The wall project did comply with some BVI regulations

According to the findings of the report on the near-million dollar project, Walwyn’s ministry did not comply with the government’s Public Finance Regulation.

The regulation says, whenever construction works are to be conducted but there was no tendering process, government agencies are to obtain a list of pre-qualified contractors from the finance ministry.

Auditor General Sonia Webster, however, said there was “no consultation with the Ministry of Finance’s Project Management Unit (or the Public Works Department) on the selection and eligibility of contractors”.

The auditor general went on to report that “the contractors used [for the project] were selected by the Minister of Education”.

The report further noted a statement from the education ministry’s assistant secretary, who said “the contracts and work orders sections and amounts [for the wall project] were assigned to individuals based only on the instructions received from the minister”.

Below is the governor’s full statement on the matter.

My predecessor had in 2017 sought advice as to whether the procedures for the procurement of goods and services as set out in the Protocols for Effective Financial Management, the Public Finance Management Act 2004 Act and the Public Finance Management Regulations 2005 had been correctly followed in relation to the contracts awarded and work orders placed with respect to the Elmore Stoutt High School Wall Project.

My predecessor further sought advice that if proper procedures had not been followed, what if any discrepancies and deviations from standard procedures occurred, their significance and how such a situation arose.

The Auditor General’s Special Report into the Elmore Stoutt High School Wall Project which was submitted to me in August, 2018, has now been laid before the House of Assembly in accordance with Section 20 of the Audit Act, 2003.

The Special Report, addresses these issues and contains a number of detailed recommendations on the procurement regulations and procedures applied on this project and also to the accountability for the project.

These recommendations will now be taken forward in consultation with the appropriate Ministries.

The Report highlights a number of areas which need to be improved, including the tightening up of project and procurement regulations.

On this, I look forward to the revised procurement legislation advancing to the House of Assembly and the progression of other governance improvements as set out in the Government’s agenda in the recent Speech from the Throne.

I also want to reiterate my commitment to transparency and good governance in the Virgin Islands and the need to maintain the highest standards of integrity in Government from all who serve the public whether elected officials or public officers.

I have not made a statement on the Special Report until now as the correct procedure as per the Audit Act 2003 is that the Report be laid before the House of Assembly.  Although the Report was disclosed to the public in violation of the procedure specified in the Audit Act, it would not of course have been appropriate for me to comment at that point on the Report itself prior to its presentation at the House of Assembly.

I was most disappointed that the Report was publicised in this way. The people of the Virgin Islands should expect the highest standards of conduct of all those who serve them.  Those at the highest level of Government set the standards for others. I am pleased therefore that the Government has committed to advancing the Ministerial Code of Conduct as a priority to ensure the highest standards of governance are maintained.

I would also like to reiterate that the Auditor General is an independent and constitutionally appointed position whose work is guided by the Audit Act of 2003.

I am grateful to the Auditor General and her office for their work on this Report and for other work they are undertaking including on other audits.

All public officers should continue to feel confident to carry out and conduct their work in line with the values of the public service and the laws and Constitution of the Territory.

It is now important that due process is followed in dealing with the recommendations of the Report and, to that end, these will now be taken forward with the appropriate Ministries and Agencies, including the Ministry of Finance and Deputy Governor’s Office and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. As the Report is now in the hands of these agencies, I will not comment further.

I will support all those involved in ensuring that any issues raised in the report are addressed in the appropriate manner.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

49 Comments

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  1. Lordie says:

    Detain him, no one is above the law!

    Like 27
    Dislike 5
    • Pinocchio says:

      Time for the other shoe to drop. Questions surrounding the Minister of Finance’s secret $7,200,000 investment without any due dilligence in BVI Airlines needs to be disclosed as well.

      Were there any kickbacks or finders’ fees paid to our ministers or airport people? Let’s offer the Airline CEO immunity in exchange for his cooperation otherwise let’s issue an international warrant for his arrest as well.

      Like 18
    • Columbo says:

      Did one of the 70 give Walwyn some payola?

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
    • Truth says:

      Finally! Get these corrupted “politicians” locked up Governor!

      Like 10
      Dislike 1
    • Anonymous says:

      And the people are now allowing Mr. Minister and his friend Project Manager SA Architects handle the rebuild of the High School? Are you people insane? If you all allow that to continue and the Premier and Governor does nothing to put a stop to this then it’s a clear indication of the corruption that lies throughout the entire government.

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
  2. Hmmm says:

    Ndp 2 has strike.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  3. NDP Supporter says:

    Thing to talk

    Like 10
  4. People says:

    What? This is trouble.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  5. No name says:

    Wowwwwwwww!!!!!!

    Okay then!!!

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  6. Captain What's Your Cargo... says:

    Precedent in the making ?

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  7. Ndp heckler says:

    Somebody need locking up

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  8. Bvi says:

    We dont want someone running for premier with a dark cloud over their head

    Like 35
    Dislike 5
  9. voiceofthevoiceless says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like…Jail time…

    Like 35
    Dislike 4
    • William Wallace says:

      But can we rely on our system to now successfully prosecute this clown? Or will there be procedural errors and he then walks free?

      Whatever his motivation, he clearly sidestepped the rules and deserves to be prosecuted.

      Like 12
      Dislike 2
  10. Hello says:

    What about the Airline and Pier Park? No news on them? Millions more to be found! Crime is a crime but $900k versus $50 million plus. Need answers on all.

    Like 37
    Dislike 2
  11. Frazcar says:

    Where the trushies gone now, balsum ghut?

    Like 11
  12. Wowww says:

    It’s about time..

    Like 11
  13. @ Frazcar says:

    Your comment is mad funny!!!! I’m rolling

    As they are normally here blogging hard in support of the nonsense!

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  14. BVI Diaspora/Enclave says:

    This does appear like a routine audit by the Auditor General. Got to wait see where the bread crumbs will lead us. If there any below board players, they should be concerned.

    Like 13
    • Sparta says:

      Follow the money… don’t need a bloodhound. Please let us know who was paid to build each section of the wall and then let’s evaluate how well they did. We have a right to know how our money was spent. Right?
      The Minister probably didn’t have the right to administer this project. He certainly didn’t manage it well in any case.
      The bigger question is how did he get away with it? Who was responsible for giving him the authority to do this?

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
  15. NDP GOT CHECKED says:

    Hey where is NDP leader? Head of prison, imagine the very same person becomes an inmate!

    This is who they really choose to run the VI? Premature decisions have serious consequences. He said he ain’t afraid, he can defend, well tell him try. This man studied law, has a law firm, and now is b———ing all the laws.

    No premiership for mr big mouth. He diss the governor and the AG office in public, now the force is all over him. Turn over all your documents you a rookie andd want to be national leader.

    Stop being so macho and unruly and maybe you can try again in 20 years.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  16. rastarite says:

    Ask Fraser. He’s an expert on walls

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  17. Ausar says:

    So, did Minister Walwyn got proceeds from the cronies that built the wall?

    Let’s hope that all criminals involved will go to jail, once the evidence has been given.

    Hopefully,the Lodge with their special hand signals in the judiciary and beyond, will not allow them to escape from this one!

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  18. Whotovotefor? says:

    Ndp is dead

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
  19. Hah says:

    We need that airplane money back ASAP. Hold the Premier accountable as well. NDP signed laws for better accountability and then forgot about the protocols. Lock them up.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
  20. Sunsail says:

    There will be plenty of unpleasant suprises for Christmas…slowly but surely is the British way..goodjob Guv,

    Like 28
    Dislike 3
  21. Well says:

    Those 70 better go get Lawyers, maybe the Minister could do it Pro Bono since he said everything was above board…..so? What a ting

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  22. Mmmmm says:

    How will the RVIPF determine if Walwyn got kickbacks?

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  23. See says:

    My run , a simple apology would have prevented this . Look trouble now !

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  24. he is not the answer says:

    he too doggone rude and outta place

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  25. son of the soil says:

    Mr governor we want those special unit white boys on this matter. We don’t want no island man on this case

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  26. Disinterested says:

    The Guv is a schrude, crude dude. What a Christmas give gift for the contracting officer and the many contractors, is it not? Sometimes he/she who laughs last laughs best. Leaking the audit report was may be an attempt to spin the negative findings that may have backfired. The law of unintended consequences. Santa Claus/Father Christmas delivered his gift early.

    Like 8
    Dislike 4
    • RealPol says:

      Indeed, he came calling not the nite b4 Cmas but some weeks nigh. That was a vicious backhand slap and uppercut, not a slap on the wrist. A deep, heartfelt apology may have put things in another hopper. Instead, the non apology may have exacerbated an already bad situation altogether. In Trumpian style, to apologize is a weakness. If Doc had any stones, he would have fired ur a** for ur bone head behaviour. Nonetheless, you are going into the Yule Tide season having to wonder what 2019 may bring your way. We know an election is on the horizon but what else it brings is in the hands of others. There were many lessons b4 that should have alerted us that following the rules is much less expensive, more economical, less stressful. Here is a news flash. Power rests with those where the BUCK stops. In this case, the BUCK didn’t stop with………. May the New Year bring good tidings to all.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
  27. What about protocols says:

    Now that we have a proper opposition why wasn’t this report submitted to PAC? Don’t let your anger prevent you from following protocol Guv. Due process should always be followed.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  28. BVI justice says:

    Problem is the law enforcement on BVI has currupt people too with vested interests . Bring in uk prosecutor and uk detectives to advise . Not take over they don’t need to do that. It’s done on many other OTs

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  29. We need answer's says:

    There are more developing news to come
    On this matter. We want the govern to investigate all the roads projects pier park project, hospital project, airport project, infact all the projects that was done since this government came into power.Especially the road project how many times in a year how we going to fix this roads. We want to know what the people tax Money was used for. I think the govern should assigned another department to take over handling the finances until this government can give account of how the budget money was spent.

  30. Yes says:

    We also want an investigation on these road sides cutting contracts. I believe something underhanded is going on.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  31. ndp heckler says:

    LOCK HIM UP!

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  32. Baughnaughclaughbaugh says:

    If this wasn’t serious it would be too funny. We can all clearly see that there is a special effort to get Hon Walwyn with their “Special Report” which was devoid of any real investigation. Many will have crow on their menus when the dust settles. Just wait!

    Like 1
    Dislike 2

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