His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert said that he will not speculate that the audit being carried out on Government’s dealings with BVI Airways would warrant a Commission of Inquiry, which members of the public have openly called for.
The Governor made the disclosure on 26 July during a press briefing. He announced that the decision was taken by Auditor General Sonia Webster, and the process has begun.
For months, residents have clamored for information regarding the BVI Airways deal considering that the plane never took to the skies, but received a $7.2 pay from government. In acknowledging that he has heard the public request for information, the Governor said: “BVI Airways, I know there is a lot of debate going on (about) that, and I am pleased the auditor general is looking into that; and investigating what has happened with BVI Airways.”
While not mentioning the exact area or issue being investigated, the Governor said: “The Auditor General is looking at it…BVI Airways – it is a lot of money; and… there are separate issues that the Premier has talked about – approaches on the contracts, you know having a look at that.”
Her Majesty’s Representative did not provide much information on the ongoing audit as he explained that the situation with BVI Airways goes beyond his arrival to the Territory: “I can’t comment on it [audit], obviously it [BVI Airways matter] precedes my time here, but the Auditor General decided herself that she, her office is looking into it.”
Won’t Say Commission of Inquiry
While the Governor has acknowledged a request for an investigation into matters such as the BVI Airways deal, he said that the expectation for such an investigation should not be directed to his office. In explaining why he should not be called upon to look into the complaints His Excellency said: “The governor is not an investigator.”
Further Governor Jaspert said that he is not going to jump blindly and call for a Commission of Inquiry into any of the matters being currently discussed in the public by residents of the Territory.
“It is not about not being prepared, it is about not jumping ahead of things. At the moment the Auditor General is looking at BVI Airways and that is an important step, and that is exactly the right step that should happen,” he said
Two of the most noted issues of public concern are the Pier Park multi-million-dollars cost overrun, and the BVI $7.2Million BVI Airways payment. However, both areas are currently being audited as the Government commissioned the international firm KPMG to do an audit of the Pier Park, while it was announced that the Auditor General is carrying on an audit on the BVI Airways matter.
In the interim the Governor said that he will not speculate whether or not there will be need for a commission of inquiry. Further the Governor said that he is not going to comment on what the outcome of the audits will be. “I am not going to speculate on the outcome of that review, once we get the review, let’s have a look at it, let’s have a discussion,” he said.
“I cannot really speculate on a Commission of Inquiry, I am not going to. What I want to make sure is that every process has the right…person looking at it and that that is completed in a very fair and transparent way,” the Governor added.
His Excellency further explained that a Commission of Inquiry is mainly necessary where there are questions left unanswered. “When there is a specific need to take another step. That is why I am talking about making sure those answers are from the right people, the right institutions, the right organizations.”
Therefore, the Governor said that before calling a Commission of Inquiry he would need to ensure that he has all of the views and covered all of the areas. “It is different for each issue, it is not something where there is one approach, it is not something that I’ll just jump to.”