Premier Andrew Fahie’s last-minute request to be a part of the live press conference on Commission of Inquiry last Friday was seemingly denied by then-Governor Augustus Jaspert after the notable absence of the Premier at the event.
A letter addressed to the governor by Premier Fahie dated Thursday, January 21, revealed that the leader of government business had formally requested to attend the occasion just hours before the conference.
According to the Premier, his intention of being present was to show some semblance of unity among the territory’s governing officials.
Fahie told Jaspert: “I note that you intend to hold a press conference, together with the Commissioner, tomorrow, Friday 22 January 2021. I believe that, even at this late stage, it would send a clear and positive signal of our mutual intention to work together to ensure transparency and to make the Inquiry a success, if I, or another Minister, were to participate in that event as well.”
“If, as I hope, you are in agreement, I would be most grateful if you would provide details of the arrangements,” he added.
Premier explains the acquisition of legal team
Premier Fahie also explained to the governor why his government decided to acquire the law firm Withers, along with leading counsel, Sir Geoffrey Cox, QC — the former Attorney General of England and Wales.
He said their main role is to advise and represent the government in all matters relating to the Commission of Inquiry, which include the Terms of Reference.
“My concern is to ensure that the Inquiry is assisted in its task of reaching a just outcome, which will be widely accepted as having fairly and rigorously examined the facts and matters that are said to be the basis of issuing the Commission of Inquiry,” the Premier stated.
“This can only be achieved if the Inquiry, as no doubt it will, acts with the maximum of transparency, applies proper probative standards to the information it receives and affords a fair opportunity for important allegations of fact to be tested. Only if that is so, will any recommendations for improvements in governance and administrative culture that it might eventually make be likely to take root and be effective,” the Premier explained.
The Commission of Inquiry is expected to conclude sometime in June/July, where the findings from all the investigations will be handed over to the territory’s sitting governor.
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