BVI News

BVI’s historic Commission of Inquiry now officially underway

Inquiry Commissioner, the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom.

The territory’s historic Commission of Inquiry (COI) officially started today when Judge Gary Hickinbottom was sworn in as the sole Commissioner of Inquiry.

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of the Governor and a senior Magistrate.

“I was sworn in as Commissioner this morning and my work begins today. I’ll be supported by a team, including secretary to the Inquiry, Steven Chandler, who’s already been appointed and who is here. But I’ll also be supported by a solicitor and counsel to the Commission — both shortly to be appointed,” Judge Hickinbottom said at a press conference on Friday, January 22.

Inquiry website now live

The public is being invited to log on to the COI’s official website to provide information that may assist the Inquiry. 

“[It] will not only have information about the Inquiry but will have a portal by which anyone can raise queries and submit information which falls within the terms of reference and which they consider may be helpful,” Judge Hickinbottom explained before adding that the website is now live.

He said other means of submitting information will be shared on the website and will include, email, Whatsapp and a postal address in the UK.

“We’re currently working on whether we can have a sufficiently safe and secure dropbox here,” Judge Hickinbottom said.

The hearings

In the meantime, Hickinbottom suggested that hearings will officially begin in weeks and “hopefully some or perhaps all of the proceedings will be in public and will be live streamed”.

He, however, said he “can’t make a commitment yet because we don’t know what the hearings will cover”.

“Over the next couple of weeks I will be inviting a number of people whom I believe might be able to assist the Inquiry to come and talk to me and we propose holding sessions and various locations on Tortola and on the sister islands,” said Hickinnottom.

“I hope that the vast amount of information I have referred will be sent to us over the course of the next month or so, so that we can move on to the next stage of the inquiry,” he added.

Follow BVI New’s coverage of the 2021 Commission of Inquiry on Instagram @BVINewsOnline #TrackingTransparency at www.bvinews.com.

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20 Comments

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  1. Good thing says:

    Let’s get the ball rolling…

    Like 23
    • BVI lawyer says:

      From today’s edition of the London Times:

      ‘A Whitehall source said the allegations “clearly point to endemic corruption, rampant cronyism, diversion of public funds into the pockets of political allies — including emergency funds to help the Covid-19 response — bullying, harassment, intimidation and coercion. If justified, they point to a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government. There is a risk BVI, once a safe and prosperous place, will become nothing less than a byword for corruption and cronyism.”’

      The world is watching. These allegations need to be thoroughly investigated and resolved in an open, transparent and public manner.

      Like 17
      Dislike 1
      • Reply says:

        The world is watching indeed. I wish I could say that these accusations are most likely untrue, but I have learned dating back as far as 2007 in my dealings with the government that many of these accusations are true.

        IMO, this did not start with the current government…just continued.

        I am happy I had the personal and professional integrity and moral compass to walk away from the table when I sense I would be dealing with shady people.

        So years later, the boil has finally come to a head. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

    • Mark this word says:

      Do not touch Jesus’s anointed. The Premier may not be prefect, and neither are you or me. The Premier is covered by Jesus, the question is are you? You are not going to like your punishment if you’re not!

      Dislike 10
  2. Stop the Abuse says:

    The BVI Government should not have to pay for the VIP Legal fees.

    This is a further abuse of authority and should not be allowed.

    Like 43
    Dislike 2
    • @Stop the Abuse says:

      So how will this Witch-hunt to be paid for? You all would be wise to leave our VIP elected officials alone. Let’s start investigating the UK corruption, in which there’s plenty. You all are just a bunch of racist sick people. All the evils that you have wished for us, will be placed onto you. Anyway, soon enough you all will be leaving our shores and blogging from where you came from.

      Dislike 10
  3. start wrong says:

    What prevents someone from making a false name and a false email address and give false information to the commission? That site is open to major abuse. People who want to get one person or others in trouble could certainly abuse that by giving false names and creating false email addresses.
    They seem to have no facts for what they are claiming and are now encouraging people to tell lies. If they only know how we are in the BVI they would take down that site.

    Like 3
    Dislike 30
    • Idiot says:

      They got to investigate any lead they get jacka**.

      Yall just showing how sheepish and dumb yall are.

      No im not white
      Yes I born here
      Yes I tired of yall painting us as ignorant just because yall got braincells and a lil internet on your phone

      Like 31
    • Learn the rules says:

      A Commission operates like a court. Its Not possible to simply give false information and expect that it will be accepted. There must be evidence.

      Like 29
      • Question says:

        So “The Commission of Inquiry Act (the legal basis for a Commission) states that any evidence given to the Commissioner cannot be used in subsequent proceedings. That means, that any evidence you submit cannot be used in court or in a criminal investigation at a later date.”

        Hmm. So is it better to tell the inquiry or wait until the inquiry is over and make sure they get the information in court? Maybe tell them enough to charge the big boy and his friends then more in order to convict?

  4. whole thing fishy says:

    Attorney Micheal faye exposed the governor in this press conference. You could see his face turned red when the attorney put those questions on him which he didn’t answer by the way. After those question he run to bring on Hickinbottom. At that moment for the first time I felt that the governor is acting out of spite and malice. His feelings got hurt from his fights with the VIp and now he want to destroy our country to get back at a couple people. I do not see how this commission of inquiry could be fair. I smell collusion between the governor and the commissioner already.

    Like 4
    Dislike 48
  5. 007 says:

    Will there be consequences for anybody providing false information for the defense or prosecution.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  6. Reflection says:

    I have lived in the BVI for 36 years. I have been a belonger and now I have grandchildren who are born here. I prefaced my comments with this because I am asserting what I believe is my right to speak on this subject.
    I have watched the political happenings over a period of time and I have always been disappointed in the way in which political campaigns were always about character assasinations, unsubstantiated allegations and theories and rumors about the personal lives of those running for office. Ideas on moving the country forward were relegated to the sidelines in favor of destructive gossip.
    Our Premier sad to say has been the chief offender for as long as I have seen him in politics. In his political ambitious pursuits he would say things that made me shiver. I always wondered if he understood the consequences of his words none of which he substantiated. There was obviously no need to substantiate anything in the BVI for a long time now and as a masterful politician he played on this and continue to do so.
    I see our Premier now as the cause of all this mess that the country has found itself in. Not only has he been spreading rumors about corruption with opponents that he wanted to eliminate, he would say these things publicly, privately and also to the various governors who were sent to the territory.
    His scheme worked and now he is the Premier. I’ve always heard from my parents say that the people who are always accusing others are the ones that you need to watch. They use deflective tactics to take attention off of themselves. Our Premier is now in charge and what a mess he has created. If there was ever corruption in this country it has raised its heads like never before over the past 2 years. The BVI has been brought to international embarrassment over bad local politics and in my humble view I see one person as the main reason. Hon. Premier, the inquiry will result in greater hardship for the BVI people. Your relationship with our closest partner, the UK, is in tatters with no hope of improvement. Our financial services sector will take a significant noise dive. Our tourism industry is in shambles largely because of your poor policy decisions. You really should do the honourable thing and resign and save this country from what will come. It’s time for you go!

    Like 18
  7. Woo says:

    What the F..k going on ?

  8. Truth says:

    I’m wondering, all the murders and thieving ENGLAND did to Africa the Caribbean and the majority of the world, when are they going to be investigated! Wey mr kissing-bottom go and open an inquiry about how england get all them riches and leave we to hell alone…thief never like to see thief wid long bag

    Like 3
    Dislike 9
  9. Simple says:

    Even the smallest child can c the corruption in the bvi..when a country such as the bvi.with so much money passing tru and the main roads r so deplorable..among other things
    That alone tells the level of corruption.. it shows that people in high places just pocketing the monies

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