COI Implementation Unit
Premier's Office
Release Date:
Friday, 15 March 2024 - 3:17pm




MARCH 15, 2024



I would like to begin by extending my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Jamal Smith, a prominent attorney and member of our community. His passing is indeed a great loss to our society. He will be greatly missed and I pray that God will comfort his friends and family during this difficult time. I encourage anyone who has relevant information that can assist with the ongoing investigation to reach out to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

This morning I wish to provide you with important updates regarding the United Nations (UN) and governance reforms.

Today I am very pleased to report that on 15th February the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation, also referred to as the C-24, approved the Virgin Islands' request for an official Visiting Mission to the Territory. The Visiting Mission will form part of the committee’s 2024 work programme.

My Administration and the UN are in the process of discussing dates. I will provide a further update on timing in due course. However, I want to provide a bit of context for the public’s benefit.

A C-24 Visiting Mission is one of the most important functions of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation. The purpose of such missions are to ascertain the situation of the people of the Territory, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions on decolonization, self-determination and the achievement of a full measure of self-government. The C-24 is expected to conduct at least one such visiting mission each year among the 17 remaining Territories on the UN’s list that are yet to achieve a full measure of self-government. Following the Visiting Mission, a report is completed and presented to the Territory, Administering Powers, C-24-Committee members and the wider UN for consideration.

In the case of the Virgin Islands, the Visiting Mission this year will be timely as the people of the Virgin Islands consider our constitutional future.

The C-24’s approval of the Visiting Mission is a testament to our consistent engagement with the UN and lobbying efforts in New York and elsewhere.

I am grateful to the Caribbean nations that sit on the C-24 including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines who have robustly supported our efforts. The advocacy of Belize and the wider CARICOM/OECS bloc, has also been critical to this breakthrough.

I want to publicly thank the Chair of the C-24 Her Excellency Ms. Menissa Rambally, for pursuing the Visiting Mission at our request. Ambassador Rambally also serves as Saint Lucia's Permanent Representative to the UN. We are also grateful to the former Chair Ms. Keisha McGuire of Grenada for her tireless efforts that laid the foundation for the Visiting Mission to become a reality.

I would also like to thank the United Kingdom (UK) for agreeing to the Visiting Mission and express special appreciation to UK Deputy Representative to the UN His Excellency Ambassador James Kariuki who was particularly helpful in this regard.

Of course our own UN Representative Mr. Benito Wheatley was instrumental in the process and has maintained our consistent engagement with the C-24 and wider UN.

The UN is a very important international institution and partner of the Virgin Islands with whom we have built a strong relationship. The question of greater self-determination is but one aspect of the Virgin Islands-UN relationship. In a few weeks’ time I will provide another UN update on our cooperation on sustainable development and climate resilience.

I will now turn to governance reform.

The Commission of Inquiry Implementation Unit has reported to the Governor and Premier on the status of work completed up to the end of February 2024.

Based on the timelines agreed in the Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry Report and Other Reforms:

Work on 50 of the 50 Framework Recommendations has begun. 29 of the Recommendations have been completed (an increase of three recommendations) and 21 Recommendations are in progress.

The Recommendations are currently split into 130 Actions. Of these, 88 actions (68%) are completed (an increase of 5 actions, 15 actions (12%) are in progress and on track, 17 actions (13%) are in progress but experiencing challenges (a decrease of 4 actions). There are 10 actions (8%) that have not yet begun to be worked on.

Most notably in February 2024, five Framework Actions were completed:

B08.02 – Additional Assistance Grants are reviewed and covered by overarching Grants Policy.
B11.03 – Cabinet approved the Educational Assistance Grants policy.
B30.02 – New Crown Land Policy approved by Cabinet.
B31.02 – Crown Lands included in Ministry of Finance Assets List.
B33.02 – New Residency and Belonger Status Policy approved by Cabinet.

Yesterday, Cabinet approved a Governance reform delivery manager, and this week we opened our governance reform coordinating centre.

Thank you.

The Dashboards give a pictorial summary of the status of the fulfilment of the COI recommendations as agreed in the Framework, as well as other reforms, so you can track the status of work on each recommendation. The Key lists and summarises each of the 50 COI Framework Recommendations as well as the other reforms, now being worked on as the main focus of Government of the Virgin Islands to raise our standards of governance in our beautiful Territory. It is colour coded to quickly indicate the overall progress on work connected with that particular Recommendation.

If you have any specific questions on the implementation of any of the COI Framework Recommendations or desire further information, please email the COI Implementation Unit directly at