Tuesday, November 30

BVI Prime Minister Denies Islands are Corrupt, Praises Geoffrey Cox | British Virgin Islands


The Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands has praised Sir Geoffrey Cox, after stating that there is no evidence of corruption in the islands in a UK commission of inquiry (CoI).

Andrew Fahie, the islands’ prime minister-elect, also accused former British government-appointed governor Gus Jaspert of making irresponsible claims that only damage the reputation of the islands.

The investigation, due to be reported in January, made headlines when it was revealed that Cox, a Conservative MP and former attorney general, has been representing ministers at the hearing and earning hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Fahie praised Cox and his legal team for doing a great job and said he and his fellow British Virgin Islands ministers would be vindicated, stating: “Lies have speed, but truth has stamina.” In London, for an annual meeting of overseas territories with ministers, he said there would be no reason for him to resign and emphasized steps being taken to reform governance and integrity.

It is unclear if Cox will appear at a final public hearing to be held on November 24 after criticism in the British media about second jobs.

Fahie said the controversy surrounding Cox is a matter of British politics and that he was more determined to uphold his administration’s reputation, as well as to keep alive the hope of greater independence from the United Kingdom.

He said of the Withers law firm, hired by the BVI government: “They hired Sir Geoffrey. He has done exceptionally well with the team to defend us. His legal skills have been a rare hope for us during the commission of the investigation, but we left politics to the UK. “

He said: “The key to any country is its reputation, but so far, and thank goodness for that, there is no evidence provided in the IOC to show that the BVI are corrupt. We have provided them with more than 200,000 documents. “

Faced with the assertions made by the previous governor that important figures were involved in drug trafficking, he said: “I find that statement very irresponsible. It is clear from the research that there is no evidence to support what you are saying, and it would be interesting to see if you would be willing to say that outside of the research protection as a private citizen. In saying that, he did not take into account the reputation of the BVI, the families, the economy. “

Pressed by the lack of a proper audit trail, he said all the money hits its mark and occasionally during Covid it was a tense time. He said: “It is true that the administration needs to modernize, but with the new governor we have already moved to a transformation of the public sector.”

He added that his task was to constitutionally prepare people for the journey in whatever direction they take. “People have to decide on self-determination. It is a debate that we have had, from time to time, for years. If they want a referendum on this, they will indicate it through their representatives. Our duty is to prepare the country. What you do with your children is take them through elementary school, high school, college and the world of work, so that you put them in a positive state for whatever direction they choose to take, be it self-determination or the state of association. “

During the investigation, Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom said: “It is clear from the evidence that I have seen, to put it mildly, that governance in the BVI is not all it should be. I will have to determine the state of governance in several areas. But the evidence in some areas is pretty clear. “


www.theguardian.com

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