BVI premier says government has spent around $5m on inquiry so far

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The British Virgin Islands government spent around $5 million on the recent Commission of Inquiry (COI).

Speaking at a press conference last Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Fahie said the money was used to defend the territory’s name at the COI.

“I would say it’s definitely in the millions, close to $5 million. But the exact number, when the time comes, I’ll give it because it’s something that’s going on because when they expanded, we have to expand our numbers in legal, PR, etc. to protect the name of the country,” the prime minister said. noted.

“BVIs cannot be considered or given the appearance that we don’t want to be considered. That’s not the point at all. But we want to make sure that we have due process in the middle of this, but at the same time we have to protect the name of the Virgin Islands and protect your name. It will cost,” Fahie continued.

According to BVI News, the prime minister noted that former governor Augustus Jaspert entered the public space and slandered the name of the territory and there were also statements made in the UK House of Commons. United that the government had wasted the $40 million. [Social Security grant] between friends and buddies.

Fahie said the governor also gave the impression that the territory’s leaders, past and present, were working with the drug lords.

“A man’s name is all he has. I say it at every press conference, and I said it from the start. So we also had to hire a lawyer to defend the country and the name of the country during this process to ensure due process. You cannot have a country that is not allowed due process in any type of procedure that takes place legally,” the prime minister said.

Fahie said the COI has not only affected the government financially, but had an emotional effect on public servants.

“[It] emotionally affected many of our employees – especially our civil servants, with regard to the way the COI was launched and due to the arduous deadlines with sometimes very unreasonable requests for information,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we continue to emphasize that we do not disagree with a transparent and independent investigation that will yield a fair result,” Fahie added.

The Prime Minister said the issue has always been how and when the investigation was conducted given the complex and unique challenges faced by government, public servants and the public in the midst of COVID-19.

“Whatever the recommendations made by the COI report to further improve the systems of government, we will consider them and move forward in a way where there will be no backsliding when it comes to democratic advancement, constitutional and institutional advancement. the advancement of the people of the Virgin Islands and the aspirations of our people,” Fahie said.

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