354 James Walter Francis Drive
RJT Edifice Building, 5th Floor
Road Town, TORTOLA VG1110
Tel: 284 468 2730
Fax: 284 468 2750
The Government of the Virgin Islands continues to bring forward and support major change to legislation in the spirit of cooperation, good governance, and transparency and in the best interest of the Territory.
New legislation was passed on Friday, March 12 which amends the Register of Interests Act 2006 that now allows the Commission of Inquiry (COI) to review the Register directly. This amendment brought forward by the Government, passed by the House of Assembly and having received Assent from the Governor, means that the Register of Members' interests can now be directly shared with the COI.
Following the launch of the COI on January 19, 2021, the Government of the Virgin Islands recognised the importance of granting access to the Commissioner in order to share information legally and quickly.
Until now, the Register of Interests of Members of the House of Assembly could only be shared in certain circumstances, namely in criminal investigations, legal proceedings or on written request by a Member.
Under this framework, the COI could not access the Register. It is in the spirit of cooperation and transparency that the Government of the Virgin Islands has acted decisively to amend the legislation, while maintaining the laws and interests of the Virgin Islands.
Commenting on the change in legislation, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, said, “The Government of the Virgin Islands has acted decisively to change the legislation and provide access for the COI to the Members' Register of Interests. Through this action, alongside the creation of the IRU, we have put in place a structure to foster cooperation and transparency with the COI and we will continue to act collaboratively in order to facilitate the Inquiry.”
This change in legislation is an important step in providing the Commission with the relevant information and follows on from the creation of the Inquiry Response Unit (IRU), announced on February 5, 2021.
The IRU has been set up to facilitate and co-ordinate the Government’s engagement with the Commission of Inquiry. The IRU is independently led by Sir Geoffrey Cox QC and is administered by law firm Withers.
The IRU reports to the Honourable Attorney General, supporting the Attorney General’s Chambers in ensuring that information is provided to the Inquiry in a systematic, efficient and well-organised way, which is both auditable and accountable. The IRU will also assist ministers and public officers to understand their duties in relation to the inquiry.