BVI News

How the COI will balance confidentiality with fairness to accused figures

Commissioner of Inquiry, the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom (left) and Inquiry Secretary, Steve Chandler.

Commissioner of Inquiry, the Right Honourable Sir Gary Hickinbottom today, January 22, said he will honour the wishes of any person who wants to give evidence anonymously.

But there are questions about how he plans to balance maintaining anonymity against giving any accused person a fair opportunity to be punctually informed and to respond accordingly.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being announced as the Inquiry’s Commissioner, Sir Gary responded to those concerns.

“Those who provide information confidentially have a guarantee that information — including their name — will remain confidential. I, then, as part of the due process of the Commission, must give the gist of any suggestions made in respect of any figure — public or not within the terms of the report — to those individuals so that they can respond to them fully and fairly,” Sir Gary explained at a joint press conference with Governor Augustus Jaspert and himself.

He continued: “If there possibly came a case in which anonymity could not be maintained without giving individuals a full, fair, and proper opportunity to respond, then I simply could not rely upon that particular information. It would remain confidential. I could not rely upon that information if those particular circumstances apply.”

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

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

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

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

36 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. WEW says:

    Fairness ? has it been fair they way the government (both NDP/VIP) have exploited the tax payers to line their pockets. Hang them high

    Like 59
    Dislike 4
    • Oh, how the tables have turned says:

      Many of us have been victimized by NDP or VIP(and both). Some of us are just honest hard working people who felt the wrath of politicians. The real down to earth politicians who really cared about the island AND it’s people have long gone, I don’t know what to say about the current ones..We see them walking in town with their noses up in the air, the one for the 5th district wouldn’t even say good morning or afternoon. Oh, and let’s not start with the 6th(the people up Belle Vue have no rep SMH). Hopefully,the days of them playing favorites are OVER.

      Like 25
      Dislike 2
      • @Oh, how the tables have turned says:

        So right you are. The 9th district te same.

        Like 16
      • 6th District says:

        No rep in the Free Bottom either

      • @Oh, how the tables have turned says:

        I laugh to myself when they play the I don’t know you game or they act like the p**s they are because when election is rolling around, they want to play nice nice to get your vote. Let them be because when election rolls around, I AM GOING TO GIVE THEM THE SAME TREATMENT. POLITICIAN: GOOD MORNING, I AM RUNNING FOR A SECOND TERM AND LOOKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT. ME: AND WHO ARE YOU? GET THE HECK OUT OF MY FACE WITH YOUR FAKE BS.

        Like 13
        Dislike 1
      • BVIslander says:

        Yes many of us have been victimized but this is our opportunity not to seek revenge, but to finally clean up our country from the victimization and corruption. If you know something or many things as long as they are true please share them

        https://bvi.public-inquiry.uk/

        If we don’t use this opportunity to help our country, a year from now we’ll all be back in the same scared to talk mess. People cannot put their names on comments here because they know that they will be victimized. I want to live in a country where I can proudly own my comments without having to fear losing my job.

        We need leaders who can prioritize spending not based on where kickbacks come from but on what the country needs.

        Please report what you know so that it can be investigated.

        Again that address is……………………….. https://bvi.public-inquiry.uk/

        Like 24
        Dislike 1
        • Fake says:

          You won’t lose your job if you have one, and you know that.

          People don’t post their names because they don’t want their neighbors judging them. It’s as simple as that in a small community.

          Victimization is a false buzz word used for leverage. This is small first world territory. No one will suffer violence for their views within reason.

          Speaking of victimization it is this territory being victimized by the UK including their media because our leaders have the backbone to stand up and call them on their racist wrongdoings.

          Dislike 11
  2. Yes, I agree says:

    Hang them high. Heard from a very reliable source, Certain political spouses might also be getting nervous.

    Like 40
    Dislike 1
    • Rubber Duck says:

      Lol, I don’t think the COI is for the benefit of jealous women.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
      • @Rubber Duck says:

        It is not about no jealous women, it is about the women’s involvement or was privy to what and had knowledge as to what their hubby’s was doing. Just saying, the word around town is wives knew and they benefited also.

        Like 3
        Dislike 1
  3. Imagination says:

    During the press conference today, was it my imagination or “journalists” were asking questions like they were on the side of the Government, when we the people have been the victims for many years now.

    I mean look at this head line.

    We the people still will pay all the way to the privy council if recommendations are made for a criminal trial, so you know that will be millions and millions and millions and more out the the door.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  4. Website says:

    I only waiting for the email address and UK address so I could make my contribution. I got pictures and all. People in power to dutty.

    Keep all locals out of it. Not even a local filing clerk, people here talk too much.

    Gus stay tune to the blogs.

    People say that we bringing down our own people, no that’s not it. No matter where you from and who you are, rong is rong. True that there’s corruption all over…even in U.K. these guys have no mercy and are too bold with their sh..t and it’s time they be held accountable.

    Like 31
    Dislike 1
  5. Just my 2 cents says:

    I appreciate the efforts to treat with confidence the identity of persons who wish to present factual evidence yet remain anonymous.

    However, their evidence must be sufficient and satisfactory going beyond making statements or mere words…there must be some paper trail, contract documents, letters, voice and video recordings, etc) for their identity to remain anonymous and their evidence used.

    In the absence, an accused person must be afforded the opportunity to challenge or cross-examine their accuser.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
    • Clarify says:

      You give them a tip and they check it out. The department involved will be interrogatedname not you. The public ain’t witnesses. It’s not a court. We are informers

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
      • @Clarify says:

        The COI has equivalent authority of a court. Therefore, informers should present factual evidence.’Ah hear’ ‘ah see’ ‘ah know’ testimonies may not be a representation of facts or the truth. Many may use this opportunity of anonymity to fabricate information out of spite or revenge.

        Who will be checking out the many tips given? The police? Customs? Prisons? Audit? The Court? Ministries?

  6. Table Top Group Panel says:

    @Yes,I agree, we the panel also heard from numerous sources that a number of Political Spouses past and present is also getting nervous.

    Like 13
    • Hoping says:

      IF SPOUSES IS INVOLVED OR HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF ANYTHING THEY SHOULD BE NERVOUS AND ALSO HANG HIGH BE IT MAN OR WOMAN.THEY BENEFITED ALSO. LMAO, MAYBE THEY ARE NERVOUS ABOUT THEIR JOHN HANCOCK TURNING UP ON SOMETHING.

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
  7. FOLLOW THE NARRATIVE says:

    Follow the narrative: the fact is there is a well defined paper trail that leads from the very top at finance through specific well heeled individuals and families who are always given access to the cookie jar. We all know who these people are. investigate that trail and you will find the answers and culprits.

    Like 15
    • So true says:

      JUST INVESTIGATE THE TRAIL, YOU WILL FIND THE WHO AND WHEN. AND I WOULD AGREE,ROOT THEM ALL OUT AND SEND THEM TO JAIL. IT WILL BE A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT TO SEE THEM GOING TO JAIL SHAKLE TO EACH OTHER IN ORANGE JUMPSUITS. IT HURTS AND IS A DISGRACE TO SEE WHAT THESE PEOPLE DID TO THE PEOPLE. NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF LYING, LOW DOWN DIRTY SCOUNDRELS. BETTER YET, MAKE THEM WALK THE PLANK.

    • Bell the Cats says:

      Since my late teens I have been interested in the subject of politics; knowing that it affects every aspect of our lives and has the potential to improve lives, as expressed by president John F Kennedy in the aphorism: “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Likewise politics can be quite destructive; (unfair, unbalanced, lacking in good governance, lacking in transparency, mismanagement, be guilty of favoritism, cronyism, accountability etc).
      During 2012 – 2016, two motions of “No Confidence” were brought against the NDP government by Hon Frazer and Hon Fahie of the two-member VIP opposition in the same year. Such motions are usually brought due to lack of Good Governance, lack of transparency, accountability, misappropriation of funds etc. Of course the motions did not succeed; nor were they expected to, due to the imbalance in government (11 in government, 2 in opposition).
      Four years later, Augustus Jaspert having served as governor of the British Virgin Islands since August 22, 2017 has ordered a Commission Of Inquiry into the transparency of BVI Government.
      While government’s job is to govern (in a transparent and accountable manner), the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor General are charged with the responsibility of Holding Government Accountability; primarily with regard to activities relating to spending, management and use of Taxpayers moneys and resources. Such accountability includes but is not limited to the Awarding of Contracts, Bidding on contracts, management of contracts, Value for Money, transparency and accountability in all aspects of carrying out the finished product or service.

  8. :) says:

    You cannot remain totally anonymous in any legal proceedings. The judge is only the judge, he cant be everything at once. He will need assistants. He may need technical support. He may also be able to have someone charged for providing false information or make a claim against persons refusing to provide information.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  9. Man oh Man says:

    THE BVI IS ON BIG BLAST AND EMBARRASSMENT BEHIND THIS SCANDAL. PHEW, SMELLS WORSE THAN A BUCKET OF ROTTEN FISH THAT WAS SITTING OUT IN THE HEAT FOR A FRW DAYS.

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
    • Yawn says:

      These are only allegations. In the end this could be the equivalent to when the USA and UK said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, invaded Iraq, started a war that removed Saddam from power, killed thousands of innocent civilians and ultimately found no weapons of mass destruction. Many countries opposed the war because there were no evidence of WMDs but Bush and Blair felt they knew everything. The US and UK relied on basically old news and faulty evidence to justify the war which turned out to be false and only further destabilized the Middle East.

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
      • Truth says:

        What you are saying is true but the US and UK didn’t start are war based on allegations. Allegations were the excuse to start it. They had a completely different motives from what the public were told but a excuse such as WMD was perfect.

  10. 6th District says:

    No rep in the Free Bottom either

  11. RAISE YOUR GLASS says:

    I WILL SAY, AT LEAST THE DOWN ISLAND PEOPLE THAT YOU ALL LIKE TO CALL US AND THE EXPATS IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SCANDAL. YOUR GOOD OLD GOLDEN BVI BOYS AND THEIR FAMILY IS. HA HA HA HAAAAAAAA. YOU SPIT IN THE SKY, IT WILL FALL BACK AND DROP KICK YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR FACE BIG TIME.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  12. Rubber Duck says:

    Undoubtedly the walls, planes, piers, spurious consultants and so on will be investigated. But the major question is , is the country under the control of major drug gangs.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
    • News flash says:

      Are you sure everyone under your eyes are straight? If you find one isn’t would it be your fault? What would be corrupt is when you don’t make an effort to correct the situation.

  13. Just as Relevant says:

    To be an African  BVIslander is to be African without memory or conscious connection to the Motherland, and British subjects without possibility of ever, never having the privilege to ascend to the highest, most powerful jobs of the land. 

    Every white english boy and girl can aspire to be governor, prime minister, or whatever, in his homeland UK, but the BVIslander little boy or girl cannot  aspire to be governor or police chief in his land. That is victimization of BVIsland people generation after generation. 

    The disenfranchisement of generation after generation of young boys and girls right and possibility to ascend to the highest jobs in their land is an ungodly and inhuman practice of the UK. That unjust practice needs to end yesterday!

    As inequitable as that is, so many people see nothing wrong with it. While, many of them will go around the world demanding countries adopt their notion of democracy.

    So when some say democracy is nothing but disguised hypocrisy, it is because it still exist in places like the BVI, and that is is hypocrisy.

    Just as the US is preaching human rights to nations around the globe, while shooting down its unarmed Black citizens, many in front of their family and children,  in the streets, and the killers are never brought to justice, but encouraged to kill more Blacks.

    Nations without a heart and practice for equal rights and justice for all will surely perish one day. UK and US must realize that those words are true, have meaning and do come to pass. Where are the so called great European civilizations of the past? All gone to ashes they are.

    Like 1
    Dislike 13
    • Strange says:

      Thumbs up. Well expressed.

      The sad thing is that any attempt to invoke the truth rather than relying on His-story to enlighten us all will be met met harsh resentment by both the oppressors and the oppressees. Sad when our own people relegates each other to negative class citizens!

  14. KLM says:

    Head Line

    European Parliament wants VI back on EU tax haven blacklist
    -MEPs show overwhelming support to add more OTs to blacklist

    Premier Fahie You always have to find someone to blame for your problems, This is what the article said: OTs like the VI, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey to the blacklist over the territories being regarded as havens for tax avoidance they did not single out the BVI but you and your people are quick to jump on the governor. I think this Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Government of Premier Andrew A. Fahie and pass NDP government is good for the BVI repetition it’s not good for the government repetition, you know this but you just want people to believe that it’s the BVI repetition at stake.
    You have caused this by your alleged underhand dealings, your disrespect to the UK every day, and really its time the governments of these beautiful Virgin Islands make the government answer to the people, you all have been doing this for so long when it was announced on Monday the health minster Carvin Malone said that it was a disaster like the hurricane 2017, 9/11, & January 6 that’s how hard it hit them, we the people have been begging for this for a long time.
    There is a Commission of Inquiry against the government and look what the Premier did hire a lawyer at the expense of the taxpayers, He really needs to go. UK the best thing you can do for the BVI right now is taking the Helm until the next election.
    Since this is on v**o I don’t think they will put it on line because I have written a few blogs that they never publish.???????????????????????????????

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
    • Yes, I agree says:

      The BUMBLEBEE COLOR WEBSITE WILL POST AN ARTICLE AND WHEN YOU POST YOUR OPINION, THEY WOULD NOT POST IT BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE AFFILIATED WITH. MYSELF AND A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE KICKED THAT WEBSITE TO THE CURB. I CALL THAT WEBSITE THE PREMIER AND THE PASTOR’S PLAY HOUSE.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
  15. Anonymous says:

    I would have given you the benefit of the doubt and say your errors were just typos but the fact that you said repetition 3 times show that you just can’t spell. The word is reputation.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  16. Right Sed Fred says:

    Will the COI handle the scooter problem?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  17. Sue says:

    I think it was in very poor taste the way the Premier presented himself when he send the Governor off. The Premier attire looked like he was going to the local horse races. THAT IS NOT LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOR,THAT WAS REALLY EMBARRASSING.

Leave a Comment

Shares