Governor John Rankin is encouraging members of the public to visit the Register of Interests of members of the House of Assembly.
He made this call after he inspected and paid the relevant fee to see the Register of Interests this week.
“I am most grateful to the Registrar for her assistance in this matter. Although I cannot under the present law reproduce what I saw, I would encourage members of the public to similarly inspect the Register in accordance with their right under the Register of Interests (Amendment) Act 2022,” he said.
Under section 9 of the Register of Interests (Amendment) Act the Registrar shall on written request make the Register available for public inspection during normal working hours.
Under the Act as passed by the House of Assembly there is an inspection fee of $15 per member and the person inspecting the register cannot make a copy or take photographs of any matter contained in the Register.
His office reminded that, Governor Rankin has made clear that the amendments made by the House of Assembly mean this Act severely restrains the degree of public access to the Register of Interests. Further, it also runs counter to the principle of transparency and the intent underlying the commitment made by the Government in the Framework for Implementation of the Commission of Inquiry Report, namely that the House of Assembly make the Register of Interests public.
While eventually assenting to the Act, the Governor set out his expectation that the House of Assembly will return to this subject within 1 year.
The United Kingdom has already put in place a plan to suspend the BVI’s constitution should legislators fail to implement the commitments given by the Unity Government.
Under the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007 and the Register of Interests Act 2006, Members of the House of Assembly are required to register their interests.
The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) clearly established that despite the best efforts of the Registrar of Interests, supported by Governors, Members of the House of Assembly across all political parties had failed to meet that obligation.
The Commissioner concluded that collectively, elected officials had “deliberately, persistently, undermined the system of controls imposed by the Constitution.”