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HoA amends Register of Interest Act to comply with VI CoI

-amendment paves the way for CoI to access info on assets of HoA members
While the act bill was passed will the overwhelming support of Legislators in the House, Attorney General (AG) Dawn J. Smith in explaining the reasons for the amendments to the original 2006 Act, said the moves come as part of the Inquiry Response Until (IRU) mandate to ensure full compliance with the CoI by the VI Government. Photo: HoA/Youtube
According to Mrs Smith, CoI Secretary Steven Chandler issued a request to HoA members, seeking consent to allow the Registrar of Interest to provide the Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom with a copy of pages from the Registry of Interest, including a request for members to provide information on their declarations. Photo: VINO/File
According to Mrs Smith, CoI Secretary Steven Chandler issued a request to HoA members, seeking consent to allow the Registrar of Interest to provide the Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom with a copy of pages from the Registry of Interest, including a request for members to provide information on their declarations. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who seconded the motion for the second reading of the bill said the action of the house to amend the bill is from his Government in the spirit of the corporation. Photo: HoA/Facebook
Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who seconded the motion for the second reading of the bill said the action of the house to amend the bill is from his Government in the spirit of the corporation. Photo: HoA/Facebook
DUFFS BOTTOM, Tortola, VI – In an effort to fully comply with the Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry (CoI) 2021, the House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, March 4, 2021, introduced and passed the Register of Interest Amendment Act 2021, to make it possible for the CoI to access certain files on HoA members.

While the bill was passed with the overwhelming support of legislators in the House, Attorney General (AG) Dawn J. Smith, in explaining the reasons for the amendments to the original 2006 Act, said the moves come as part of the Inquiry Response Until (IRU) mandate to ensure full compliance with the CoI by the VI Government.

IRU supports AG & Gov't to corporate fully - AG Smith 

“The IRU is an independent unit, which supports the Attorney General in ensuring that the Government provides the fullest possible corporation while ensuring the laws of the Virgin Islands and the legal duties and legitimate interest of the Virgin Islands (VI) Government are upheld,” she said. 

According to Smith, CoI Secretary Steven Chandler issued a request to HoA members, seeking consent to allow the Registrar of Interest to provide the Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom with a copy of pages from the Registry of Interest, including a request for members to provide information on their declarations.

However, according to the AG’s interpretation, the request by the CoI falls outside of the Act, given the Register of Interest can only be inspected based on certain limited circumstances.

These include for the purposes of a criminal investigation, an order of the Court in any legal proceeding, and finally on the written request of a member.

Registrar cannot disclose info outside of limited circumstances 

She said the Registrar, therefore, cannot disclose information relating to any declaration in the register, outside of the limited circumstances as outlined in the act.

And since the CoI is neither a criminal investigation nor a court order it cannot access the files. Smith said HoA members are also prohibited from taking copies or extracts from the register. In addition, there is no provision for members to give consent to provide copies of pages to a third party.

As part of the amendments by the Government, the act will now have an expressed statutory provision that will allow the register to be opened to inspection on the written request of a Commissioner of Inquiry.

“The amendment would also expressly enable the registrar, to provide relevant copies or extracts of the register. This is subject to safeguard that the registrar is only to provide those parts of the register that in her opinion, are strictly necessary to fulfil requests and upon such considerations and conditions as to preservation of confidentiality after their purpose has been exhausted as she shall deem appropriate,” Smith said.

Amendment is as part of Govt's commitment to corporation - Premier 

More amendments to the 2006 act will also replace the term 'Legislative Council" with "House of Assembly" for 2021, where the AG has affirmed the government's policy of full transparency and support of the Inquiry. 

Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who seconded the motion for the Second Reading of the bill said the action of the house to amend the bill is from his Government in the spirit of cooperation. 

He said the Government has created the IRU to ensure that proper and accountable standards are upheld in the government's cooperation with the Inquiry and that the Government of the VI makes a constructive contribution to the process. 

Meanwhile, 9 legislators voted to place on record their support for the amendment. Four legislators were absent at the time of the vote.

10 Responses to “HoA amends Register of Interest Act to comply with VI CoI”

  • Wellsah (05/03/2021, 06:28) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    And what's the reason for the CURFEW again?
  • musa (05/03/2021, 07:57) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    let me help our bass on this 1 the curfew reason is to help protect your mother and father .
  • Rubber Duck (05/03/2021, 08:25) Like (10) Dislike (6) Reply
    New AG this is a bad bad move!!! let the racist oppressors stay in the UK and investigate the government there, they are the mother of all corruption
  • Tan I am (05/03/2021, 11:03) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Nine legislators voted for the amendment.
    Four legislators were absent at the time of the vote.
    Wanna guess which legislators were conveniently absent?
  • asking for a friend (06/03/2021, 06:54) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    The Uk has a long history of slavery and white supremacy

    What else you expect from them?


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