Many British Virgin Islanders are nervous as they anxiously await the result and recommendation of the recently held Commission of Inquiry that seeks to paint the Fahie Administration as not fit for office.
The long-awaited Commission of Inquiry Report, initially scheduled to release in January 2022, suffered a three-month setback.
The Commission gave the reason for delaying the publication of the report as that it could not decide which parts of the “sensitive documents” to be redacted.
The sentiment of BVIslanders fearing a direct rule from Britain, through the governor is causing a great deal of uneasiness among the populace. Many are hoping that the findings and recommendations do not lead to the decision of the Constitution being pulled and direct rule instituted.
The Turks and Caicos Islands, a fellow British Overseas Territory suffered a similar faith, when the 2008 Commission of Inquiry recommended that the elected Michael Misick government be booted from office, and an interim administration set-up by the British, took over the reins of the country.
During the period, a new constitution was established that gave the governor reserve powers, he could use to override any decision taken by cabinet, if he deemed that the government’s decision was not in the best interest of the country.
The Turks and Caicos Islands returned to self rule, more than four years after direct rule was instituted. The return to local governance was not without much protests by a wide cross-section of the country, which included pastors.
Premier Andew Fahie, during the Commission of Inquiry, and after the hearing ended, accused the governor of constitutional overreach, while denying specific allegations of impropriety.
During the commission of inquiry, the premier was adamant that he would clear the country’s name, saying that no member of his administration benefitted financially or otherwise from any issued contracts or any other government expenditure.
“None of it (public funds) went to our pockets, none of it went to any family and friends,” Fahie told the commission of inquiry at the time.
Fahie also used his time at the commission of inquiry to condemn Britain’s history as a slaver, asking why there was no commission of inquiry into reparations or the Windrush scandal.
Many islanders are of the view that the commission of inquiry was at best “a subversive activity against the human rights of the islanders,” and its “illegal activities.”
The commission of inquiry has also been dismissed as many Islanders as another “cynical instance of those with the really dirty hands pointing the finger at others.”
Many are not confident that the recommendations would return with any other verdict other than corruption in the Fahie administration.
“…The final conclusion of the COI will be that there is corruption in the BVI government, since that was the outcome that had been pre-determined even before they began gathering evidence,” writes a BVI political commentator.
Some of the residents, who claimed that the commission of inquiry was a slap in the face of the people of the Virgin Islands, recommended in hindsight that the British investigators should have been arrested as soon as they set foot on the county’s soil, and then dragged before the courts and tried for an attempted coup of a democratically elected government.
However, there are some British Virgin Islanders who commend the Fahie administration for not being rash, but while vehemently denying the charges against the government, cooperated with the commission of inquiry.
“I believe that trying to stop the COI would, in the minds of many, exhibit guilt. So, I would not fault him for cooperating, even though if he had tried to stop it, he would have been well within his rights as a democratically elected government, who the people went to the polls and chose,” said another local political pundit.
According to some political commentators, the wait for the commission of inquiry results has placed the BVI in a spin of uncertainty, which they believe is bad for investment, especially foreign ones.