BVI News

Premier bemoans double standards with use of age-old COI law

Premier Andrew Fahie has questioned the apparent double standard he said exists with the use of an archaic law to establish the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI).

The BVI’s current COI Act dates back to 1880 and has been repeatedly referenced by the Premier and other government officials as an antiquated law being used to shine a spotlight on the inadequacies of the government.

The Premier said the 131-year-old COI law, as it currently stands, does not allow attorneys to cross-examine their own witnesses or to present their own documents or evidence.

He suggested this was a failure within the legislation itself and was not a result of any rules of the COI or its current commissioner, Sir Gary Hickinbottom.

“You can’t tell us that our other laws and good governance need to improve but you hang on to the one that is antiquated that does not bring democracy and govern us by that,” the Premier said in a weekend interview on ZBVI radio.

He said this is evidence that the BVI’s partnership with the UK requires balance.

Parties should achieve equitable partnership

According to the Premier, his government wants to ensure that both parties – the UK and BVI – realise a partnership that each can be proud of, coming out of the COI.

He insisted that a COI partnership should also be beneficial to both parties, in that the BVI gets what it needs for its people and the UK gets the improvements they wish to see for the territory.

He also shared that his government has nothing to hide, and said once a shared outcome is achieved by the COI, it will make the territory better.

“We have to look at the very law that calls for the Commission of Inquiry to make sure it’s modernised to allow due process,” the Premier stated.

Established by former governor, Augustus Jaspert, the COI’s purpose is to determine whether there is evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty that has taken place in public office in recent years, and if so what conditions allowed this to happen. The Commission said this will ensure that BVI’s governance is working fairly and transparently for the people of BVI.

But Premier Fahie has argued strenuously that the BVI can rectify its own failings without a proverbial microscope being directed at its problems for the world to see.

The Commissioner is expected to report his findings and recommendations to the current governor, John Rankin, in mid-January 2022. The COI has repeatedly stated that it is not a court, and therefore it will not make findings of criminality.

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  1. Fahie says:

    You are incompetent and you should take responsibility for all the mismanagement. Stop with your smoke and mirror games..

    Like 39
    Dislike 4
  2. Spotlight... says:

    “… shine a spotlight on the inadequacies of the government.”
    What exactly is wrong with the scenario described in the sentence above?

    Like 29
    Dislike 2
  3. You asked for it says:

    You got it. Only thing is the grave you dug for the previous government, you fell in it.

    All of this coming from the man who called for a COI on the previous government. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they suddenly have nothing good to say about the COI.

    If the previous administration was in office once this COI got underway, it would have been a sure bet that this person who is complaining now would have been singing the COI praises.

    You made your bed; lay in it. I don’t wish to hear any complaints. Man up.

    Word to the wise: stop digging graves for others. If you continue to; make sure that you dig one for yourself.

    Like 35
    Dislike 1
  4. The law says:

    Who is responsible for updating the law? The UK or the BVI?

  5. In The beginning says:

    This is how it should have been approached in the beginning and see how such inadequacies could be addressed instead of the adversarial attitude that was adapted.

  6. Guilt says:

    Not court proceedings. Yet!

  7. Unconventional leadership says:

    “We need a Commission of Inquiry” -Hon Fahie

    Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has called for a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the failed BVI Airways initiative during the HoA on Thursday, March 1, 2018, while grilling Dr Smith with questions.

    “I would advise the Attorney General (AG) to proceed through a Commission of Inquiry, because you cannot have this amount of money out for so long and no solid questions being answered for it, and taxpayers’ money gone,” expressed Hon Fahie.

    The Opposition Leader also raised the request again for a Commission of Inquiry on March 26, 2018, while debating the controversial Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency Act 2018.

    Like 19
    • No job says:

      Thank you for locating and retrieving that Factual information
      I wanted to but I am cuter challenged.
      There was an incident when Andrew made an announcement thatNDP was the most crooked and Ms P publicly scolded him the way only she could.

  8. Of interest says:

    Just because laws are old, does not mean that they are not relevant…
    The Ten Commandments are ancient – but are laws still applicable today. Or are we conveniently ignoring them also?

    Like 10
  9. PT9 says:

    This man is a loser, he talks crap all the time, sick of seeing and hearing him.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  10. Rubber Duck says:

    Nothing to hide?

    Where is the contract for Skelton-Cr**e?

    Why are you obstructing the auditors?

    Why do you claim you cannot afford to photocopy when you paid lawyers $5 million of our money to protect you.

    Where is the contract for the barges?

    Like 16
  11. Law Reform says:

    This is why the Law Reform Commission should be operational you moo moo instead of chatting foolishness.

  12. A wonder says:

    Everytime these people open their mouth allows us to see how uneducated and full of air they are. Your lawyers will get their chance to cross examine you . FYI an inquiry is different than trial. Trial soon come . Don’t detach the horse and push your cart sir.

  13. Secret Bear says:

    Even an old law is still a law, and even if it is “antiquated,” he had the power to update it when he had the chance. He’s really grasping at straws here.

    • Haha says:

      You mean like slavery and Jim Crow, what about apartheid? All old laws not every law is good or should be followed. We have brains for a reason. If enough people stood up and say I don’t want a slave or let them eat here things would have been a lot better for the world.

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