BVI News

COI report calls for wholesale review of BVI’s welfare systems

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) report has called for a wholesale review of the BVI‘s welfare benefits and grants system.

The report’s author, Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom said this should also include grants received from House of Assembly (HOA) members as well as grants from various government ministries.

The Commissioner said the review’s ambit should move towards a more open, transparent and single system of benefits that is based on clearly expressed and published criteria without unnecessary discretionary powers.

According to Sir Gary, “such discretionary powers should only be maintained where necessary; and, where any such powers are maintained, then they should be subject to clearly expressed and published guidance.”

He further suggested that the review should be conducted as soon as practical by a body established for the purpose and said it should draw upon experience and expertise within the BVI and include expert input with regard to the design of any new scheme.

Sir Gary suggested that this review should not await the outcome of other reviews such as a proposed constitutional review for instance.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley yesterday announced a shift away from the decentralised way in which welfare assistance has been disbursed in the BVI, but it is unclear what review if any has been conducted in this regard.

Full audit on HOA grants

Meanwhile, Sir Gary recommended that past grants disbursed by the HOA should be fully audited by the Auditor General’s Office or some similar independent body and presented to the Governor once concluded.

He said this should include recent COVID-19 assistance grants as well as HOA members grants that were given over the past three years.

According to Sir Gary, this should be executed even in the absence of any likely paper trail as has been the case in the past.

“Whilst I appreciate the difficulties of such an audit in circumstances in which there is a dearth of documentation, an independent audit enquiry should enable any further appropriate steps, such as a criminal investigation and the recovery of public money,” the Commissioner stated.

He said these recoveries should include any public official that may have acted improperly in enabling or making the grant available to be taken.


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


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. every day COI this and that...sickening now man! says:

    Man to h**l with what the COI thinks

    Like 1
    Dislike 37
  2. WEW says:

    “A full audit of HOA grants” There’s no paperwork to audit. The money is just “gone”.

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
  3. struoes says:

    UK have more corruption than BVI

    Like 3
    Dislike 34
  4. good says:

    It has only just begun, the truth shall set us free.

    now the unveiling.

    Like 17
  5. Welfare money? says:

    Only obtained by relatives, friends and cronies of elected persons in the HOA. Non-relatives, enemies, everybody else need not apply.

    Like 21
  6. Shine light says:

    Our politicians, like others in other countries, like to hand out the aid personally so people feel beholden to them.

    “Remember I helped you with that plywood for your house?” “Remember I gave your daughter money for college?” Etc. Such questions are often asked during election times. If the welfare agencies were strengthened, politicians would find it harder to persuade people to vote for them. We also need to break the cycle of people feeling that politicians must give them something personally or they won’t vote for them. Let’s try looking at what has been done for the country as a whole.

    Like 17
  7. Deh Watcha says:

    About 2yrs ago each member of the house got an additional $300k to spend, on top of what they normally get.

    We need an audit on that also. $300k x 13 members, you do the math.

    Like 16
  8. hahahaha resident says:

    Can the COI look into all of us that have been here 20+ Years with NO status at all Maybe wish to refund all our work permits payments etc .. since they have said 10 years plus then you should have
    status pure stupidiness .. who would like to make a class action law suit ???

Leave a Comment