BVI News

Auditor General debunks narrative that Premier Office’s cooperated

Office of Auditor General

Auditor General (AG), Sonia Webster, has disputed the narrative that the Premier’s Office made attempts to cooperate with her office during the early stages of its COVID-19 stimulus grants last year.

Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) in a marathon hearing last Friday, Webster supported her position with an email that was sent to her office. This email explicitly denied the Audit Office access to information from the Trade Department, which operates under the Premier’s Office. 

The denial of access seen in the email was reportedly made by Permanent Secretary (PS) within the Premier’s Office, Dr Carolyn O’Neal-Morton, who also previously gave evidence before the COI.

“That was an explicit objection, an ongoing explicit objection because that request was made several times. It was made by the staff, and it was made by me,” Webster stated.

Asked by COI attorney, Bilal Rawat whether she felt this was contrary to any suggestion that there was, in fact, an attempt at cooperation, Webster said: “It is contrary, yes, that would be our position.”

She added: “And this required no effort on Dr Morton’s part. It doesn’t require her to put in any kind of resources. It’s simply an instruction, a simple instruction.”

What the Premier’s PS said

Dr O’Neal Morton previously told the COI she initially declined to assist the Audit Office because she felt that efforts were made to audit the government’s COVID-19 stimulus programme too soon.

At the time, she was under the mistaken impression that by law, the Audit Office could only examine programmes after they had been completed.

Dr O’Neal-Morton had also told the Audit Office that some of the information was highly confidential and that a consultative audit by the government’s Internal Audit Department was already being conducted on the programme. However, PS Morton’s latter claim turned out to be false, the COI heard.

The Internal Audit Department has stated that it, too, was unable to conduct any audit on the Premier’s programmes.

Still no information after nearly a year of requests

According to Webster, she sent Dr O’Neal a copy of the Audit Act or the constitution, which gives the Audit Office the right to request information. However, she said the Premier’s Office responded to her email or several follow-ups. 

“I think after the third or fourth e-mail – Dr O’Neal would respond: ‘We will send the information we will send the report, we will send, we will send, we will send‘. But we never got anything. We never received anything, any documents, any reports, any copies of the databases that we requested, and not even access that didn’t require Dr O’Neal to do anything,” Webster stated. 

“So, I don’t understand when Dr O’Neal is saying that she was, in fact, cooperating because perhaps she can indicate how she cooperated because we didn’t receive anything from the Premier’s Office,” Webster said.

She added: “We made several requests several different times over a long period of time, almost a year, and to date, none of this information we’d requested was actually given.”

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27 Comments

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  1. lock um up says:

    The whole entire VIP regime need locking the hell up

    Like 35
    Dislike 1
    • Lmao says:

      Not only the VIP. The corruption and theft of government monies dates back 30 years. Every politician and elected minister has stolen from the people. It was done by either kickbacks and favors for relatives and cronies, Want a contract? I need a new restaurant. Want a new contract? My momma or auntie needs a new building. Want some government land? We’ll I need a piece of yours. This is the way in the BVI since self governing. The COI is putting a temporary brake on this behavior.

      Like 37
    • politics says:

      A COI is in place looking at governance and your conclusion that the only person to charge for 30 years of inquiry is the party that in office for 24 months. YOU ARE TOO DAMN POLITICAL ..STOP THE ROT NDP

  2. Rubber Duck says:

    The truth of the matter is that civil servants in the BVI believe they own the place , are a law unto themselves, can do as they like and treat the public who pay them with ongoing contempt.

    A huge shake up is needed.

    Like 57
    Dislike 3
    • BCos says:

      Because they do own the place. They are the key voting population of BVIslanders and they are being rewarded for the hardship their ancestors survived by getting a free ride through life, including no serious work pressures and giant pensions when they choose to ‘retire’. Blame them? How could you? It’s a reasonable response to centuries of struggle – sit in a cool office, fill in forms and play Crush, make sure your friend or cousin gets through with what they want, make sure outsiders are reminded they are outsiders, vote to keep things same, check the value of your family land and rental properties to make sure you have enough $$ in your accounts for the consumer items you deserve, relax, retire and be a proud a BVI nationalist because, well, this Territory seems great! And because it seems so great, with tourism, financial services and drug cash keeping the economy flush compared to other Caribbean islands, why not go independent? Why not finally cease this terrible oppression we suffer under? Let’s pretend we’re an actual nation and talk on the level, one to one, with other countries like China, USA and anywhere else. They will bend to our will because we are the BVI therefore we are the best.
      Our reality is an unreality, and yet if we all keep pretending, it will continue to feel real. That’s enough for many, for now. Get it while you can, why not?

  3. Dr CM says:

    Seems to want to go down with the VIP cabinet and there illicit money schemes..

    Like 25
    Dislike 2
  4. UK Observer says:

    No Hurricane in Bvi this year but we had a Vip. Disaster. The Treasury was Destroyed..

    Like 36
    Dislike 2
  5. BviBuzz says:

    Loud a bull Webster chatting and everyone knows it. But when the white man leaves we will address her

    Like 1
    Dislike 83
    • GM says:

      Ayo dare not touch she !!!!

      Like 45
      Dislike 1
    • @BVIBuzz says:

      Wake up fool. The white man not leaving. In fact many more coming to straighten out the BVI shit show. The Blacks clearly are unable to govern themselves and their corrupt nature is in their genes. Look back to your own brethren selling you into slavery. The ones in power in the BVI have continued this for years. Treat the white man with respect as they are saving this land you call home. Without them you are doomed to be another Haiti.

      Like 38
      Dislike 7
      • @@BuzzBvi says:

        Poor thing/you.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
      • Looking glass says:

        To:@BVIBuzz

        If you are what I think you are, then you know that you and your corrupt civilizations are being replaced.

        Empires are normally replaced every 250 years, according to your “Sir John Bagot Glubb”. But your people had at least 500 years in combination. Be thankful, stop your hate, and may God have mercy on you.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
    • resident says:

      the white man isn’t leaving, they came to help us clean house

      Like 31
      Dislike 2
    • Bumpy says:

      @BviBuzz
      Wtf are you going to do when the COI officials leave? It’s people like you who corrupt the government that’s why we are in this mess. You are going to jail right along with the corrupt government you support. Your statement as a matter of fact speaks to more than being a supporter, You Are Involved. You will be dealt with in due time.

      Like 17
      Dislike 1
  6. 😒 wow says:

    The lack of transparency swept under the rug just like everything else. this is the reason the COI is necessary for this BVI.

    This Government and its cronies have no shame…but we the people are no fools; we see right through you.

    Like 22
    • The Loyalty is admirable.. says:

      With all this evidence we have heard and with this dictatorship model, and 3 women who sit without any power any voice…Its admirable the Loyalty that keeps this Govt together…Most Govt would have already broken apart..Have to credit the leadership for having that skill of keeping the team together,.Dying together.

      Like 15
      Dislike 1
      • Nah says:

        They staying together cause they see it as their only hope staying out of prison. There will be a first that will make a deal and then the dam will burst. Many headed to the place with jumpsuits and no chicken on the bone.

  7. Lester says:

    And the NDP paid bloggers are at it again. My gosh!

    Boy Myron you have time on your hands now to blog mah boy!

    Like 1
    Dislike 35
  8. Ting to talk says:

    One politician declared in the house of house of assembly one time” Mr. Speaker we must put our hands in the cookie jar or else it will overflow ” He was the only honest politicians I ever know. The rest are crooks.

    Like 11
  9. @Lester says:

    Not NDP but just the citizens for a just and non corrupt BVI. Myron one of the ones that needs to go also.

    Like 6
    Dislike 6
  10. That PS. Morton Lady. says:

    She walks the street like she cant kill Ants, but from the testimonies from both Auditors, she was the Snake that was killing huge Allegators…Its both auditors testimony that claim she was stone walling, speed bumping, a hurdle…If I didnt hear it for myself I would have never believe it if someone had say it to me…Another concern I have from listening the testimony of the immigration chief and all those untruth, about people who aint make 20 yrs got back their money,, Immigration needs further investigation…When Britain take over all in the dark and what is been hidden will come to light..Cant wait..

    Like 14
  11. @ LEST her & BVI buzz says:

    YOU ARE ONE AND THE SAME AND JUST LIKE ONE FROM (TCI) YOU ALL NEED A VACATION ON FANTASY ISLAND ,OR UP BALO WITH PUMKIN ( NO WIGS REQUIRED 😊

  12. Turtle eat sand says:

    Look how the white man have alyo killing and hating each other .When they go home having a great cup
    Of tea on all of you . Slavery all over again VIP brought it on .

    Like 2
    Dislike 10
  13. Huh says:

    VIP has only been in for two years how can anyone believe they the most progressive government yet is to blame for anything. All they did was give out a little money during Covid like every other country and low they’re the bad guys?

    Mind you that they asked England for money to fund Covid and we in this territory were told we have enough money to fund our own stimulus.

    They did it and now it’s a political assaination? The uk propaganda arm is flexing hard.

    • Well says:

      For the nonsense governments have been spending the tax money on compared to the areas money need to be spent on I would say the same thing to. For years priorities have been messed up.

  14. Randle Cobb says:

    Both the NDP and VIP are jokes. And who do we have trying to replace them? Nobody, but a bunch of jokers trying to run next time around (on the sole basis they are women) and capitalize on this COI. We in trouble buddy.

  15. BuzzBvi says:

    You on it. Need some people that care for the other people, the territory, and respect that it is a territory of a country. In VI case – of the UK. Respect, honour, honesty and transparency and ambition will lead the VI to the right place, and if right for the people (and not just the greedy power hungry) independence may come.

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