BVI News

COI participants should avoid speaking so they don’t tie up themselves

Premier Andrew Fahie

Premier Andrew Fahie has suggested that persons avoid speaking on matters before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) so they don’t inadvertently ‘tie-up themselves’.

Speaking at a recent press update with members of the media, the Premier said: “It is always wise when something is being enquired about, [that you] say less, that’s not only law, that’s common sense. Because you need to understand what it is you’re fighting. Because this place is long on rumours and short on facts.”

“The COI may even be listening to you now. And you want to make sure that whatever you say, that you can make sure that you can back it up so if it is already in there, you don’t know what they have, you don’t know what persons give them, you don’t know what chatter they give them,” the Premier further said.

The subject matter was raised against the backdrop of a recent occurrence in the House of Assembly where a government minister declined to speak on an issue related to stimulus grants given to farmers and fisherfolk in the territory. 

The minister declined to speak because the matter was before the COI.

What the law says

According to Section 2 of the territory’s Commission of Inquiry Act of 1880, whenever an official direction is given for an inquiry to not be held in public, “it shall not be lawful for any person, without the authority of the Governor, to write, print, publish, circulate, or make public, or to procure for the purpose of writing, printing, publishing, circulating, or making public, or to cause to be written, printed, published, circulated, or made public, or to be in any way concerned in the writing, printing, publication, circulation, or making public of, the evidence, or any part thereof, taken on such inquiry, or the proceedings, or any part thereof, on such inquiry.”

The Act further says that any person found in offence, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to pay a fine not exceeding $480 or to be imprisoned for any period not exceeding one year, or both.

No explicit direction for ministers not to discuss COI matters

While much of the inquiry has been conducted through public hearings, it has not been explicitly stated that any of the matters before the COI should not be discussed by government officials.

This should particularly be taken in the context that many of the documents placed before the COI have been made publicly available for everyone to access.

While some documents have been redacted to protect confidential or national security details, others have not seen any sort of redaction.

What the COI’s rules say

According to the COI’s website, 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. 

This means that any evidence submitted cannot be used in court or in a criminal investigation at a later date.

Further, information that is submitted to the Sir Gary Hickinbottom-led Commission should be submitted in a person’s own name. However, if they wish their information to remain confidential or wish to maintain anonymity, they should make that clear.

The COI noted that in these circumstances, submissions will remain confidential or anonymous unless persons specifically agree to the information being opened up or de-anonymised.

Recently published COI protocols

Protocols recently published by the COI said Commissioner Hickinbottom has made clear that he will ensure that all persons are treated with procedural fairness.

“In accordance with his duty to ensure procedural fairness, the Commissioner will not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person in his report unless that person has been given reasonable opportunity to respond to that criticism,” the document stated.

The COI was set up to establish whether there is evidence that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty has taken place in public office in recent years.

Shares

Copyright 2024 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

21 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Something wrong says:

    OK! Something is officially wrong with the Premier. He is the one who would not keep his mouth shut on the COI. Wasn’t it him who wrote a letter in the UK newspaper saying that the COI found no corruption just recently? He is the only person who keeps talking about this and now he is saying that people should not talk about it before they tie themselves up. BVI can’t we see this walking contradiction of a man? I keep saying that something is wrong with this man.

    Like 63
    • To something is wrong says:

      Nothing is wrong with the Premier. Something is wrong with this unethical newsite. It is clear that this newsite is committed to always misprint whenever it relates to anything with the Premier. I listen to the press conference and this article has done its usual which is intentionally misquoted & misrepresented the Premier.

  2. Running Scared says:

    Fahie is not worried about participants ‘tying up themselves’, is he worried about participants sharing information that will lock him up?

    Like 63
    Dislike 1
  3. RUNNING SCARED says:

    He p**sing he pants and it gonna get a whole worse soon

    Like 45
    Dislike 1
  4. heckler says:

    Boy yo could tell from his actions that he is behind the speaker with his foolishness

    Like 41
    • Deh Watcha says:

      Too bad he did not keep silky wigs quiet, because they have such a knot tie up not even the best sailor could untie them.

      Like 13
  5. Really?? says:

    He must be the COI Lawyer advising his clients!

    Like 21
  6. itstime says:

    Maybe his lawyers are working with the COI or they will tell him to sit down and STFU. By all of his actions I have never seen a man more guilty than him, running to the UN, running to anyone who would listen. The UN is no help to you so sit back shut up and take what’s coming.

    Like 33
  7. hahahahaha says:

    hahahahaha ayooooo. Who it is that throw up so much with a runny mouth. wonders will never end

    Like 18
  8. BVI Bar says:

    Fahie is offering COI participants legal advise, as far as I am aware he has not be called to the BVI Bar

    Like 48
  9. doh! says:

    Spoken like someone who has something to hide and realizes he should be keeping his own mouth shut…

    Like 24
  10. Honest Abe says:

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”

    Too late now!

    Like 27
  11. BVI says:

    WE MADE A BIG MISTAKE BY ELECTING A CHILD TO LEAD US

    Like 26
    Dislike 1
  12. @ DEH WATCHA says:

    that fellow comes from the same tribe of ( IDI AMIN ) so don’t be surprised , his actions speaks for itself, both past and present

  13. AD LONG says:

    As you are speaking the ( TRUTH ) how can you tie upon your yourself HELLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  14. It’s already over... says:

    When Jaspert started the COI he already had enough dirt to convict. That’s how this works.
    The UK is not going to send 20 people 1/2 way around the world if they don’t already have evidence there is a crime. This is just like the TV show ‘Law & Order’. The Judge has seen the evidence and it is enough to convict.
    If I was the fat boy – I would have already packed my bags and left with that cash I allegedly stole!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  15. Hahahaha. . says:

    Premier you need to consult a lawyer before you speak,,,The truth is one, lies are many, you only can tie yourself up if you are not speaking the truth…

  16. Hmmm says:

    Once you’re white then you’re right. Once you’re UK then you’re OK.

Leave a Comment