Suspend constitution, rule British Virgin Islands from London, says inquiry
Even as the British Virgin Islands’ elected premier Andrew Fahie was held on charges of money laundering and conspiring to import cocaine, an inquiry into the governance of the territory has said the constitution should be suspended, elected government be dissolved and it should be effectively ruled from London.
The highly critical inquiry, which was led by British judge Gary Hickinbottom, has released its findings on Friday, media reports said.
In 2021, Governor John Rankin, who is the representative of Queen Elizabeth on the British overseas territory, ordered the inquiry to probe 'the corruption, abuse of office, and other serious dishonesty' in the governance of the territory.
A huge amount of state funds was spent without proper process by politicians and ministries every year. And there is serious dishonesty with regard to sales of public property and widespread abuse of appointments, the inquiry found.
In a news conference, Rankin said, "He has concluded with a particularly heavy heart that unless the most drastic and urgent steps are taken, the current situation with elected officials deliberately ignoring the tenets of good governance will go on indefinitely."
"He notes that the people of the BVI deserve better, and that the UK government owes them an obligation to protect them from such abuses and assist them to achieve their aspirations for self-government as a modern democratic state," Rankin added.
In a statement, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the report "shows clearly that substantial legislative and constitutional change is required to restore the standards of governance that the people of the British Virgin Islands are entitled to".
This inquiry is, however, not directly linked to the premier’s arrest.