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Hard to see whistleblowers being fearful of coming forward — Fahie

Premier Andrew Fahie. (Photo provided)

Premier Andrew Fahie has argued that it is hard to imagine witnesses being fearful following the institution of a wide-ranging suite of good governance legislation passed by his government

“May I say that with the multiple layers of protection in the various legislations, especially the Whistleblower Act – and when you take the Whistleblower Act together with the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Ministerial Code that prevents ministers from abusing their office and from intimidating public officers and so forth – it is difficult to see how any upstanding person who witnesses any kind of wrongdoing can have any fear about reporting such activities for them to be investigated and appropriate action taken,” Premier Fahie said at a recent press briefing.

In this regard, the Premier encouraged persons to blow the whistle if they see wrongdoing and to familiarise themselves with the new legislation.

Under the Whistleblower Act, an individual who has information that a crime, breach of the law, or a miscarriage of justice, has been or is likely to be committed; or that in a public institution there has been or is about to be waste, misappropriation or mismanagement of public resources; that the environment is being or is about to be degraded; or that the health or safety of an individual or a community is endangered or is likely to be endangered; can make a protected disclosure in good faith.

The disclosure, Premier Fahie said, can be made to an employer of the whistleblower; the Governor; the Premier; the Attorney General; the Director of Public Prosecutions; the Auditor General; a member of the House of Assembly; the Complaints Commissioner; a Cabinet Minister or Junior Minister; or the head of a recognised religious body.

Whistleblowers protected from victimisation

The Act prescribes how the complaint is to be handled and investigated, Premier Fahie shared.

“But most importantly, under the Whistleblower Act that your government has brought forward and which is now in the law, a whistleblower is protected from victimisation by their employer or any other person because they have been brave and blown the whistle on alleged wrongdoing,” the Premier expressed.

According to the Premier, the whistleblower, for having lodged the disclosure, cannot be dismissed, suspended, declared redundant, denied promotion, or transferred in their job against their will. They shall not be harassed, intimidated, threatened, subject to discrimination or adverse measures.

Meanwhile, the Premier further noted that the Act makes provisions for the establishment of a Whistleblower Reward Fund that rewards whistleblowers who make a disclosure that leads to the arrest and conviction of an accused person.

If the whistleblower is victimised, the Premier explained, they can sue the person who victimises them in the High Court for damages.

“They can lodge their complaint and they have the protection of the Whistleblower Act, from victimisation, discrimination and adverse measures. We have put in the law that if, in the course of an inquiry or hearing before the Complaints Commissioner, the whistleblower needs legal assistance, this is to be provided. If the whistleblower’s life, their family’s life, their property or their family’s property is endangered because of blowing the whistle, they shall be provided with police protection upon request,” he said.

The Whistleblower Act was passed in June 2021 and given assent two months later in August 2021. 

 

 

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7 Comments

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  1. No sense says:

    Right now I want to blow the whistle on you but you don’t have no shame so what sense does it make?

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  2. Keep says:

    Keep talking Foy. You only have a few days left. The UK sending cops and a couple of 3xl jumpsuits for … together it’ll be hard to turn around.

  3. Listen says:

    That’s Tony Edwards blowing his whistle 25 years ago!

  4. St Elmo says:

    Whistleblowers get 10% – 30% return in the US. How much do we get here?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  5. UKM says:

    Andrew shut up.

  6. voter says:

    More lies, I challenge anyone to read a copy of the legislation and feel this way, the issue is the so called media in the VI does no research to push back on this crap.

  7. Hmm says:

    Whistleblowers get huge payouts in the USA. For example one company was fined $156 million and the whistleblower was paid around $20 million so they never have to be victimized and worry about finding another job. In the bvi what kind of compensation you giving ?? Nobody whistleblowing for a few thousands that going done in a couple months.

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