The promise made long before becoming Premier by Hon. Andrew Fahie that the register of interest for public officers will be expanded to include extended families of public officials is being delivered by the Government as part of its push to maintain good governance, transparency and accountability.
This stride was mentioned in a statement issued on 11 February by the Premier. In that announcement Hon. Fahie mentioned that the Code of Ethics that was promised will be delivered shortly, and would include his previously suggested inclusion of the spouses and families of public officials.
The Premier declared, “Immediately, we will be moving to put in place, in short order, the Code of Ethics for Ministers, all elected officials, Public Officers and all Statutory Bodies. The new procurement legislation and asset seizure legislation will also to be brought into force and this will cultivate a new era of transparency which, might I add, would include spouses and extended family members of public officials.”
The BVI Leader explained that this was just one of the drives to maintain good governance in the Territory. The second such initiative he said includes ensuring that the Territory’s audited financial statements are up to date and current; which the Premier noted was not the case for many years. “In terms of our finances, when we took office, we found that the audited financial statements were not up-to-date. Not having audited financial statements in place is a violation of the Virgin Islands Constitution. The last time an audited financial statement was done was in 2016.”
“I am pleased to say that the 2017 audited financial statement is in the process of being completed and the 2018 audited financial statement will follow thereafter,” the Premier touted.
In highlighting the urgent push to have certain systems in place the Premier mentioned that Government has set the National Vision to Transform the Virgin Islands into a leading regional economy by 2025 through innovation, entrepreneurship and local and foreign investment.
The Premier pointed out that good governance is key. The Premier explained, “Good Governance is essential for having a level playing field for our people and for providing confidence to investors that they are investing in the correct business environment. Your Government recognizes this.Local and foreign investment are welcome here and no one needs ever to worry about any unofficial prescription to anyone, be it Government officials, Civil Servants or Statutory Bodies. Their investment is for the betterment of the country and the people, and this we consider to be a solemn partnership. This is our message to the world.”