Complaints Commissioner comments about potential lawsuits against Government


Some problems and situations could lead to lawsuits being filed against the Government if the Territory was a litigious society, Complaints Commissioner, Elton Georges explained during a press conference on 1 September.

Mr. Georges disclosed that from time to time persons suffer grievances from Government entities that could end up in a court of law. He told the media: “In a community where people are more litigious and they are more ready to take the Government to court you probably would have seen more cases where decisions of the authority would be challenged by judicial review taken before a judge to get the judge to say what the law is.”

Mr. Georges stated that in the BVI there are few instances of people taking Government departments to court and he noted that on the few occasions that this was done the persons who challenged the decision of the Government had a fair success.

In explaining his conclusion, the Complaints Commissioner said: “You could remember a year or two ago someone challenged the Minister for Labor….and the court said — wrongly done, do it properly.”

It was stated that there are times when people apply for licenses or permits, for example, and are denied and not given a reason as to why this was done; or were given reasons that indicate that irrelevant matters were taken into account in coming to that decision.

“There are a number of such areas, I am not being specific in naming any particular organization, or problems, I am just speaking in general because those are the kind of decisions which can be challenged according to the law.” He said that persons have the right to seek recourse if they think that a decision was unfair for some reason, where it was arbitrary or capricious or where they have been biased.

“If you think they have been biased, where the person making the decision has an interest in the decision and should not therefore be making a decision, those kinds of things can be taken to court. If an official making a decision on your matter has an interest in a competing business those things can be taken to court in the BVI context,” Mr. Georges pointed out.