It is well known that one of the main recommendations of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Governance of the British Virgin Islands concerns the temporary suspension of the constitution. However, the 900-plus-page document also contains 45 other recommendations, several of which suggest criminal investigations, audits, and more.
Here are 10 things you should know about the BVI COI report and its recommendations:
Audit Recommended in COVID-19 Grants
According to recommendation B13, the COI report recommends a comprehensive audit of the four COVID-19 assistance programs (the transport program, the MSME program, the Farmers and fishers program and the Day care, schools, religious organizations program).
Prime Minister’s Office
Recommendation B14 recommends that the competent authorities of the BVIs consider whether to open a criminal investigation into the conduct of the Prime Minister’s Office in obstructing the Director of the Internal Audit Department with respect to his audit of the programs of COVID-19 assistance.
Recommendation B15 recommends that the Governor consider whether an independent investigation should be conducted into the conduct of the Prime Minister’s Office in obstructing the Auditor General in her audit of COVID-19 assistance programs .
Audit recommended in large contracts
According to Recommendation B18, major contracts (projects valued over $100,000) reviewed by Cabinet (or reviewed and approved by a Minister) within the last three years should be subject to a full audit.
The criminal investigation will be considered in two projects
Recommendation B20 regarding Sea Cow Bay Port Development and the Virgin Islands Neighborhood Partnership recommends that each case be referred to the appropriate authorities to consider whether criminal investigation and/or investigations into the recovery of public funds spent should be carried out.
BVI Airways Project
Recommendation B21 regarding the Elmore Stoutt High School boundary wall project and the BVI Airways project recommends that ongoing criminal investigations be allowed to run their course.
Claude Skelton Cline
Recommendation B22 regarding government contracts with Claude Skelton Cline since 2009, recommends that as soon as possible a full audit of these contracts be carried out and that a report on this audit be presented to the Governor.
Recommendation B23 relating to government contracts with EZ Shipping for the supply of radar barges since 2019, recommends that a full audit of these contracts be carried out.
Disposal of Crown Lands
Recommendation B31 It was recommended that all dispositions of Crown land, whether outright, lease or otherwise, within the past three years be subject to a full audit.
Status of residence and belonging
Recommendation B34 recommends that all applications and grants of residency and membership status under the Fast trach regime be subject to a full audit.
10. Her Majesty’s Customs
Recommendation B39 recommends that all officers of the Department of Customs and Immigration serving at all seniority levels be subject to full vetting by an independent agency, while Recommendation B40 recommends that officers appointed by the Commissioner police are investigating possible corruption within British customs.