After months of waiting for the decision of whether there will be a commission of inquiry into the cruise-ship pier project, the decision was delivered by His Excellency, John Duncan on 17 March. In his statement aired on ZBVI radio the Queen’s Representative declared that there will be no inquiry into the project.
After a detailed explanation and a report of his findings, His Excellency announced: “Having considered in detail the Public Accounts Committee’s report, the reports of the Auditor General, the previous correspondence of my predecessor Governor McCleary and having taken account of the studies by the Caribbean Development Bank and the independent consultant, I see no useful purpose in commissioning a further inquiry into the Port Development Project.”
The Queen’s Representative stated that the Public Accounts Committee’s and the Auditor General’ reports clearly set out some of the problems that have occurred under successive administrations. He also stated that the Caribbean Development Bank’s thirteen recommendations and the independent consultant’s report also identify some of the action required to remedy certain issues.
Governor Duncan firmly stated that he did not like the fact that it appeared that the Governor’s Office was being used for political scores. He said: “As your Governor, one of my responsibilities is to ensure good governance. The Governor is not on one side, or the other, but has to take account of the interest of the Territory as a whole. It is therefore inappropriate for any political party to seek to use the Office of the Governor to gain political advantage or to pursue a party’s political agenda.”
His Excellency said that he hopes that both sides will heed what he has said: “I have explained what I as your Governor see as the three additional important steps needed to increase accountability and transparency. I hope that the elected leaders of the Territory, both Government and Opposition, will take forward these recommendations and action the necessary steps,” Governor Duncan stated.
“We now have a brand new hospital, and within a matter of days we will have the first cruise ship alongside the new pier – both of which are the result of successive governments’ efforts and they are developments of which we should be proud. However, we must be better at managing such projects and we must be more transparent in the way decisions are made. This is what I believe Virgin Islanders have the right to expect,” he concluded