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CoI: UK lawyer calls out hypocrisy of UK regarding governance in VI

- Sir Charles Geoffrey Cox QC said Governor sat in Cabinet for 20 to 30 years & did nothing about decisions CoI now taking issues with
With many already questioning the motive of the one-sided Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Governance in the Virgin Islands, United Kingdom lawyer Sir Charles Geoffrey Cox QC, who is representing Government Ministers and the Attorney General before the CoI, has again raised suspicion about the reason the CoI was called and the fact that Governors for the past three to four decades did nothing about Cabinet decisions that the CoI is now taking issues with. Photo: standard.co.uk
Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) appeared as a witness on Hearing Day 46 of the CoI on October 11, 2021, when he raised concerns about the terms of reference of the CoI. Photo: YouTube
Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) appeared as a witness on Hearing Day 46 of the CoI on October 11, 2021, when he raised concerns about the terms of reference of the CoI. Photo: YouTube
WICKHAM'S CAY II, Tortola, VI- With many already questioning the motive of the one-sided Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Governance in the Virgin Islands, United Kingdom lawyer Sir Charles Geoffrey Cox QC, who is representing Government Ministers and the Attorney General before the CoI, has again raised suspicion about the reason the CoI was called and the fact that Governors for the past three to four decades did nothing about Cabinet decisions that the CoI is now taking issues with.

Sir Geoffrey also pointed out the glaring fact that the CoI was called during what he described as a bitter and heated dispute between then-Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert and Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1).

The matter came up during Hearing Day 46 of the CoI on October 11, 2021, when Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Fahie appeared as a witness.

Broad terms of reference a concern

Premier Fahie had raised concerns about the broad terms of reference of the CoI and noted that no government in the world would be found without defects with such broad terms of reference.

In response, Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom asked Premier Fahie whether he was saying every government has serious dishonesty in public office.

Premier noted he was not saying that at all, before Sir Geoffrey intervened to support Hon Fahie’s position, telling Mr Hickinbottom that he is effectively carrying out a broad-scale judicial review of decisions on five topics that the VI government has taken over the last 15 years, which goes far beyond paragraph one of the CoI’s terms of reference.

Paragraph one of the CoI’s terms of reference states: ‘to establish whether there is information that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty in relation to officials, whether statutory, elected or public may have taken place in recent years.’

According to Sir Geoffrey, it is not only paragraph one that the CoI is zeroing in on but it is looking at ultra vires decisions, the dismissal of statutory boards and the granting of belongership status, among other things. He said such matters occur even in the administrative courts of the UK every single day.

Not even UK would come out with a clean bill of health- UK lawyer

Sir Geoffrey explained that Premier Fahie was not seeking to justify corruption. “He is simply saying that when you sit in criticism on questions of governance, no government in the world, and certainly not the United Kingdom Government, will emerge with a clean bill of health, partly because your colleagues for many years have sat quite rightly in the administrative courts bringing these things to light and quashing decisions.

“You shake your head but I am sorry Commissioner but I know that those I represent feel extremely strongly about this. Paragraph one [of Terms of reference] behaviour is one thing but inquiries into governance and the leveling of potential criticisms about defects of governance is part of your Inquiry.

“That is why the Premier is extremely concerned about it because he thinks that well yes we well may have been able to improve and we may be found to be ultra vires in many respects but which government wouldn’t?” Sir Geoffrey asked.

Mr Hickinbottom then said it was simply wrong to say that the CoI is investigating every project and every contract over the last 10 years.

But according to Sir Geoffrey, the CoI has been levelling criticisms on the basis of governance. “Your criticism letters make it abundantly plain that part of your criticisms is ultra vires behaviour.”

He said the CoI has examined witnesses on whether or not they have behaved ultra vires. “What is that if it isn’t a judicial review?

“The problem is that I am trying to point out to you is that the way the government sees it is that they are under criticisms for defects in governance and all that the Premier I think he is saying is that when looking at the criticisms they are not confined to paragraph one or wherever you may find it, if you can possibly find it, but there are criticisms of them in the way they have administered their systems, in the way they have brought in laws or observed laws.”

Where was the Governor all these years?

Sir Geoffrey reiterated that what Premier Fahie was simply saying is “these things are matters of governance that have been embedded for years and the administering state has a responsibility.

“The governor has sat in Cabinet for 20 to 30 years seeing these decisions go past him. What have they done, until last year when you were called in the midst of a quite bitter and heated dispute between a governor and a premier?”

Mr Hickinbottom then asked Sir Geoffrey if what he was saying is a submission.

“Well, it is and I will certainly make it if you will permit me,” Sir Geoffrey responded, adding that he just didn’t want the Premier to be misinterpreted.

“I noticed you commenced this by saying [to the Premier] ‘Is what you are saying this?’ It wasn’t quite and I am anxious that shouldn’t be,” Sir Geoffrey said.

23 Responses to “CoI: UK lawyer calls out hypocrisy of UK regarding governance in VI”

  • The watchdog (12/10/2021, 08:27) Like (19) Dislike (46) Reply

    The coi is nothing but a rac**t mob trying to take over the bvi !

  • WOW (12/10/2021, 08:30) Like (19) Dislike (14) Reply
    are you guys pulling the race card?
    • SMH (12/10/2021, 09:52) Like (13) Dislike (9) Reply
      Every time someone points out obvious racism it's deemed "the race card" as if it is some sort of unjustifiable dismissal.
  • New tactic (12/10/2021, 08:33) Like (6) Dislike (14) Reply
    Watch both the Commissioner and his lapdog start questions with ‘is this what you are saying?’ before they try to put words into the mouth of a witness.
  • Native Senior Citizen (12/10/2021, 08:56) Like (24) Dislike (9) Reply
    Invalid defence: My honest opinion.
    All humans do have defects, so do every government, but those defects do not have any government cabinet to violate the trust of its imployees, the people that entrusted their financial wellbeing in their care.
    Hon. Premier, Andrew A Fahie, in my moral, honest opinion, such a statement of human defect has no defence against deliberate violations of the people's trust. Good stewardship is the issue here, not human defect.
    The is a true saying that "you can fool some of the people some of the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." As I see it, you have fooled yourself this time. (My honest opinion)
    • blah (12/10/2021, 09:32) Like (7) Dislike (31) Reply

      You are no native senior citizen of the BVi for sure, you are a not from here hater that don't wish anything good for the BVI people. Please pack your bags and leave this sunny side

    • teach (12/10/2021, 10:01) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Cant even spell employees
    • hgfdtrefgfdsfdgg (12/10/2021, 19:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

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  • Thanks to the COI. (12/10/2021, 09:03) Like (87) Dislike (3) Reply
    How else would we have know how our politicians and leaders have been playing us. How else would we have known about the these big money contracts that produce no results...How else would we have known about the bias, the oppression, the victimization and all these cover - ups.....What I would say is that the COI commissioner seems to have a lot of respect for Sir Geoffery, because he never seem interested in hearing from the othe lawyers....I am in full support of this exercise,,, It obviously was needed..
  • Lucifer (12/10/2021, 09:04) Like (6) Dislike (15) Reply
    Cox is the perfect man to defend this nonsense. Someone who failed to declare rental income on a property for six months and submitted expense claims for a bottle of milk.
  • HI BLONDIE (12/10/2021, 09:33) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    I SEE YOU STILL FIGHTING IT , ASK YOUR FRIEND TO SAY SOMETHING ON WHAT THE COI HAS REVEALED OR BROUGHT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE BVI ,S0 FAR . THANK YOU
  • Kingfish (12/10/2021, 09:55) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    What else can you expect a defense attorney to say, he is defending his client the Fahie Administration.
  • robocop (12/10/2021, 10:02) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    While I don't disagree with the sentiment that something should have been done years ago, is that really the best defence they have? Its been going on for years so we may as well let it continue?!

    If someone has been thieving for years, you don't refrain from punishing them or stopping them just because you should have done so when it first happened. It is better to take action late than not at all
  • Farce (12/10/2021, 10:45) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    The whole thing was a farce yesterday. Fahie had no intention of answering any questions put to him. Throwing out statements about windrush and reparations screamed “whataboutism”. Yes, these things are important but they are irrelevant to this matter. Fahie just using high-emotion matters to try to get people on side. Answer the questions. If you’ve nothing to hide, they won’t find you guilty of anything.
    • @Farce (12/10/2021, 13:20) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
      Same goes for the COI using high emotion matters so that people can think that this farce is in the interest of the BVI people.
  • @ @ FARCE (12/10/2021, 15:16) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    YOU ARE REALLY REAVEALING YOURSELF ON Q DAILY BASIS EVEN IF YOU USING DIFFERENT NAMES , THE FACTS ARE THERE ,SO YOUR STUPID ATTEMPTS AT USING
    DISTRACTIONS IS SHOWING YOUR DECEPTIVE MENTALITY
  • Nkw this is a lawyer (12/10/2021, 16:17) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    This lawyer knows how to talk and well. Government please use this individual for all serious matter cause he knows how to handle a judge/commissioner
  • josiah'sbay (12/10/2021, 18:14) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    At the conclusion of the COI it will be interesting to see how the Governors' administrations disassociate or distance themselves from the COI' finding.
  • Sick Of It (12/10/2021, 21:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What’s with the presumption of “serious dishonesty” it’s as if jasper & the rest of his bunch got his dog to rag them up “sick em!!” while saying he doesn’t own it.

    It’s a independent dog! Blah blah blah. no fowl play we come to save you, who we enslaved and abandoned. Don’t come around here with that crap.
  • race card (13/10/2021, 21:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    IS THEIR MAIN HOPE THAT THEY ARE HOLDING ON TO FOR DEAR LIFE ,WITH ANOTHER THAT THE PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE HIM , WHILE HE CONTINUES TO TALK AGAINST HIMSELF , THIS IS CRAZY
  • Bv (13/10/2021, 22:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sir Gary seen at bar celebrating surviving another day listening to mouth full of water.Why caribbean ppl does love talk before den think.Bout car and cow..lord save BVI.Please go home and sleep Premiere,,your bullet points ain't work out.




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