British Virgin Island Commission of Inquiry – Why Now?

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In the matrix of priorities, a region gripped by COVID 19, people dying, health care overload, and a virus that mutates, BVI offers a complex scenario to examine the idea of self-determination. The region must take seriously the notion of self-determination and what it means in the creation of a civilization built out of slavery and exploitation. The reality of a nation-state with just over 30,000 persons having to subject itself to a CoI by its colonial master’s smacks of a power play.

Meanwhile, back in Britain, the government is not diverting its resources or paying any attention to the wishes of pressure groups to have an ‘intensive inquiry’ into alleged corrupt practices involving COVID 19 pandemic expenditures. A New York Times article and several other well-established publications in Britain and the United States have explored the “Waste, Negligence and Cronyism” surrounding government tenders by the Johnson Government. The head of the British government has shown decisive leadership and focused all his resources towards managing people and the downturn of the COVID 19 pandemic.

On the other hand, the British had no issue dispatching their “Inquiry Team” to the BVI, insisting that it is acting in the public interest to twin a CoI with a COVID response strategy. Two streams of engagement are at play. The BVI public officials are busy trying to keep people safe, while the British surrogates are busy keeping the BVI public officials distracted with a CoI.

History will not be kind to the British leadership within the BVI and, what is now seen in local circles as “a turf war.”

A position statement by Ministers of Government submitted to the CoI has shed some light on why there is a turf war and, secondly, why a Commission of Inquiry is taking place. In a 33-page statement, which was shared with local BVI media by senior sources within the Commission of Inquiry (CoI), the public was made aware of “tension” between ex-Governor Jaspert and the new Fahie-led government.

Ex-Governor Jaspert was accused of resisting and frustrating the efforts of the Premier Andrew A. Fahie-led government, which had repeatedly expressed its commitment to asserting and achieving greater autonomy and self-government for the Virgin Island.

Unknown to the democratically elected BVI government, ex-Governor Jaspert planned with the FCDO to call a CoI and ensured that the international press had information even before the local government and press. The essence of this act exposes the relationship between BVI and Britain. It’s what undermines transparency and reduces all BVI nationals to mere ‘toothless subjects’

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