BVI News

Concerns raised about public confidence in COI

Government’s attorney, the Right Honourable Sir Geoffrey Cox (left) and the Inquiry Commissioner, the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom.

Sir Geoffrey Cox, QC — the attorney representing the BVI government in the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) — has raised concerns about what he described as a perceived lack of confidence that is held in the COI by some members of the public.

Addressing the Commission recently, Sir Geoffrey said, what is really important is “local public confidence in the fairness, balance, and independence of the Inquiry”.

Sir Geoffrey further said that transparency was a critical element of the inquiry as well; not just for those who are directly affected, but also those who might be emotionally affected.

“Do not underestimate that. Because there is a civil service here who feel they are being inspected, they are being scrutinised – not only civil service but other areas,” Sir Geoffrey told the COI.

Continuing on his point, Sir Geoffrey said if the COI were “to enable them (the public servants) to understand something about the way in which they will be able to have a voice” in the Inquiry, this would likely enhance its level of public confidence.

The attorney also voiced his concerns about perceptions in some quarters that the COI is situated in the BVI in a manner “almost like the descent from on-high of a group looking into them in every aspect without fully understanding the situation in the territory”.

He further pointed out that the staff, server, and offices of the COI are all in a foreign jurisdiction. Added to this, the Foreign Office which is the joint data controller for information emanating from the COI, is resident in the United Kingdom.

“This is not an attack … I’m sorry, but these are realities which your Inquiry needs to be sensitive to,” Sir Geoffrey told the COI.

The attorney added that the matters were all drawn to his attention. “And I think it’s important that you should understand that, in parts of this island community, these things are being noted,” he added for emphasis.

Executive has concerns, but Commissioner has concerns too

Meanwhile, the sole Commissioner presiding over the Inquiry, Sir Gary Hickinbottom countered the attorney’s statement and insisted that persons in the territory have genuine concerns over the security of the information they would wish to submit to the COI because they fear discrimination, possibly at an official level.

Sir Gary said this is why it was insisted that the database being held was “absolutely secure, and on any information that we’re given being absolutely secure and untraceable back to its source where the giver of the information wishes that to be so because, otherwise, these people would not come forward.”

“And, therefore, although the Executive may have concerns, I have concerns for the public interest, and the public interest goes beyond the Executive [arm of government],” Sir Gary stated.

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

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41 Comments

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  1. Old news says:

    This was reported last week on the COI website – comon BVI News be real time news worthy.

    Like 5
    Dislike 6
  2. Anonymous says:

    This is a witch hunt plain and simple. A tit for tat by the UK and the Premier. This isn’t to save the BVI from corruption. If this was truly about corruption the scope of the investigations would have gone back a lot longer than the last 3 years.

    Like 50
    Dislike 41
    • Rubber Duck says:

      So you have no problem with a convicted , jailed, fr**dster , and non BVIslander being appointed Chairman of the Airports Authority. Without any selection process ? You have no problem with people being given lucrative consultancy contracts that require no written reports? You have no problem with the cousin of the Premier being appointed to important government boards when she has zero experience, appears not to be able to remember yesterday and routinely destroys all business paperwork.

      Just to scratch the surface of the things we are finding out.

      Meanwhile , you have no problem with the state of the schools, roads , sewers , water and records of who was given crown lands.?

      Or are you one of them?

      Like 67
      Dislike 5
      • Anonymous says:

        You have a one track mind, tunnel vision. How is an inquiry based on only the last 3 years going to prevent corruption. The BVI is truly extraordinary if we our problems only started 3 years ago. Nobody from BVI Airways selection team will be questioned. Nobody from Ports will be questioned. Not even the worlds most expensive hospital will be questioned. Selectively choosing when to pursue corruption is also corruption.

        Like 23
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        • Amen! says:

          Amen to this 100 times

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        • Rubber Duck says:

          Let’s wait and see what the COI investigates. Like most people I am not partisan. We want to see honest and just governance whoever is in power.

          There are undoubtedly serious questions over the Pier Park, The Wall and the Planes ( though there already is a serious investigation going on into the planes )

        • Deh Watcha says:

          What is your basis for saying the inquiry is only going back three years?

          Maybe they are asking questions based on information presented to them, which may be more on the recent side. That does not mean they will not go back further.

          However, in the mean time if you have information on the items you listed or other past administrations, please share it with the COI. They have been asking for the information and prepared channels so information can be shared with them.

  3. Vigilante Observer says:

    Innocent people have nothing to fear.

    Like 42
    Dislike 6
    • To Vigilante Observer says:

      This is the same thing the slaves said years ago and before they knew it all of them were put into slavery and might I add by these same people.

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      Dislike 8
  4. lol says:

    Sir GC hanging around them too long now he is starting to sound like them. Absolute non-sense.

    Like 37
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    • @lol says:

      As a Virgin Islander I resent your statement because the UK is involved does not make them or any of us guilty. Also your statement implies that once you are from the UK you are always squeaky clean. This shows how racist some of you living among us have become.

  5. Unconventional leadership says:

    Hey why are they so afraid of scrutiny. Aren’t all employees from time to time need to be evaluated. Whatever the outcome the end result will show that there are massive irregularities in the system of things. There need to be a shake up in the form of a tsunami in the civil service from ps to the sweepers. Can you imagine a ps saying she just came into position so she is unable to answer certain questions. Were there not a credible handover. Suppose the COP had said the same thing CSC would be on their backs. Could you imagine a consultant given a contract and cant remember the name of the company to which it was issued. These are the scheme of things, the norm, the accepted in the territory. Can you imagine businesses destroying contracts and payment vouchers as soon as they receive payment and this is the sources of the unconventional leadership. The cracks are glaring in this leadership. We the majority of the population welcome the COI.let it be known that no amount of skepticism will change our minds. The VIP and their cronies needs to GO, ASAP.

    Like 53
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    • @Unconventional leadership says:

      In the UK they put off their COI on the Covid-19 response saying that now is not the time as it will hamper the running of government in helping the UK people during the worse pandemic in 100 years. Yet in the BVI the same UK launched a COI during Covid. This clearly shows that the UK thinks nothing of us. This is why I can never support this predetermined COI staffed with UK persons from the same office that supported the Governor in calling it. There will be no fairnes.

      • WhyCoi? says:

        Bvi is fkd and this continued gov fraud and failure will destroy it, and then Uk will have to care for bvi like welfare recipients. So yes . It’s critical. how much more inept is a gov when NOW, bvi has $400m budget with no tourism, aka, 75% drop in household income? You have Haitian infrastructure with Switzerland income. Talk slavery. Nice distraction from the uncomfortable truth that your neighbors, cousins, friends have ruined, robbed , and sold your future down the river. Defending this and past government sounds like Stockholm syndrome. Or a beaten wife refusing to turn on her man. Rise up and demand or continue as doormats, you the 29,900 folk that have no seat at the gov gravy table. Don’t matter the party they in, every 4 yrs y’all get another kitchen serving fraud, incompetence, and chiefly, dem self.

  6. Doh says:

    I am concerned about the concerns raised for the concerns about the COI. My concerns lie in the doubt of the true consternation and deliberation and who it may concern. The who and the what are a concerning matter, leaving one to discern that revelations are true and fact.

    Thankfully for all concerned, the British will rule this Territory once again.

    Carry on

    Like 22
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    • Rubber Duck says:

      I and many sincerely hope not. We do not want direct British rule. The current system requires only that we have a just , fair and competent government in power in BVI.
      And efficient and not wasteful like recent governments have been
      I suspect the COI will recommend lots of changes in internal accounting and control within the government, and measures to ensure much more fairness in the boards, government contracts and so on , but I do not see or want British Direct rule on anything but a strictly temporary basis.

    • Youbadnuh? says:

      And Queen Mary and the Anneborg plantation gang will show them out of this town. Keep poking at us.

  7. @ UNCONVENTIONAL LEADERSHIP says:

    YOU SAID ALL 👍 BUT WE KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO TRY TO WIGGLE THEIR WAY OUT OF IT BY POINTING FINGERS AND ITS ALWAYS SOMEBODY ELSE FAULT AMD THEY ARE GETTING FAMOUS FOR THEIR DISCOVERY SONG ( RACISM ) LIKE A BROKEN RECORD

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  8. High paying lawyer says:

    He getting millions so he has to say something..make it look like he working..At the End of the Day the COI lawyers and the Govt lawyers sit together to have wine and dinner..The result wont change,, it will be a take over..

    Like 25
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  9. LILLIAN says:

    HAHAHA HAT LAWYER TAKE THAT SIDE BECAUSE IS THE ONLY WAY TO COVER THE BLACKSIDE OF THIS SYSTEM LOL YAH ALL SOMETHING ALSE ! . PLEASE COI DONT STUDY THAT AND CONTINUE PLEASE INVESTIGATING DEEP!! DEEP

    Like 13
  10. Well Well says:

    Look a Coverup. No COI on the Planes and the 7 million, Non on the Wall and Non on Pier Park. Only on a public spectacle but Live Stream to undermine public confidence in the Government. Amazing. So bottom line they want VIP Out and to put back in NDP. You will never hear a word from Penn because he already promised the job. Look how outsiders control the BVI Sheeple.

    Like 3
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    • trust the process says:

      use your head. Can’t you see they are taking it one step at a time. Everyone who took the stand will be called back at different times and on different issues. You think the one hearing with Fahie and them is the end of it. Nahhh. You can see the concentration now is on the clawed right now. Them guys know just what they doing and what their target is. These hearings ain’t no where finished by a long shot. It going take months. Just stay tuned and read the transcripts for yourself. dont even depend on what the news report because they going give their own opinion and understanding. When you read you will see exactly what was said and nobody wouldnt be able to tell you a lie for the truth.

  11. @Doh says:

    That is what this is all about “the British to rule this territory again” That is the intent of this investigation plain and simple. Doh said it.

    Like 3
    Dislike 21
    • Doh says:

      And I cannot wait for British rule. I will be waving the Union Jack when the new administration arrives at the airport.

      Like 11
      Dislike 5
    • Nonsensical says:

      What does the British stand to gain by ruling BVI again. No economic benefits, No social benefits, No political benefits, No geographical benefits, Non, non, non. Nada.

      Like 13
      Dislike 3
      • Haha says:

        You should ask the many Asians, Europeans, South Africans and Caribbean people that leave their country behind to live and work in the BVI. Something tells me there is some benefit to living in the BVI.

        Like 2
        Dislike 4
        • Liston says:

          Many??? How many? 1,500??? There is only 29,000 people in BVI. There is more people taking a piss at time square every day. Stop being delusional about greatness and “uniqueness” of BVI. Tourism industry already replaced you with other islands that are equally “beautiful and unique”

  12. Resident says:

    I’m a member of the public and I have full confidence in the CoI. Keep investigating, please!

    Like 25
    Dislike 13
  13. Nonsense says:

    Heap of nonsense…They just trying to shape an innocent narrative,,Let the COI playout, then speak after..Why all the effort to stop it or discredit it, Why?

    Like 13
  14. Guest says:

    He needs to stop generalizing he talking about his 1 percent. We the 99 percent have full confidence in it and Thank Jesus in Heaven for it. Thank you God for the COI. Thank you 🙏🏽 Thank You 🙏🏽Thank You!!!!!!!!! You have our full support don’t mind crap that man talking he have to say that. Who did he poll which village is he hanging out in getting any feed back from the people? We are and have our ears to the ground and to the World and all readers WE THE BVI PEOPLE ARE FOR THE COI !!!!!!

    Like 19
    • WOW says:

      Why the $7.2 mill plane is not part of this inquiry? Why is the school wall not part of this inquiry? Why is the lands given to past ministers and their family not part of the Inquiry? Why is the past governor not part of the Inquiry? Why is the past commisoner of police and the police force not part of the Inquiry? It is clear that this inquiry is bias. It is clear that this inquiry is an attempt to try to divide and conquer the Virgin Islands and its people by a UK that did nothing for the V.I. for many years. This is why SO MANY OF US ARE AGAINST THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS COI was called and is being done.

  15. YOUTH says:

    I adree with Cox. This COI is a cook up thing to try to legitimize modern day slavery.

    Dislike 12
  16. People says:

    Most people with sense are against the COI. Only the few paid bloggers are for it.

    Like 1
    Dislike 14
    • Really says:

      I have common sense which is independent of politics, and I AM NOT a Paid Blogge. The COI is welcomed here, and we will be reading the transcripts, and watching the hearings. Yes I am a born and raised Virgin Islander.

      Like 11
  17. Many want their freedom. says:

    The sun has set on the British empire. It must and will set on colonialism and all its forms.

    After centuries of such, many have had enough. Many want and are expecting their complete human freedom to be an expected quantity and reality.

    You who are planning for, seeking and asking for full British rule and take over should/must realize that, you do not hold the monoply on how others think, nor do you own or control their lives.

    Many ant freedom from colonialism and the arrogant brit, that they may move on tolive a free and non-colonial life.

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