Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. joined other Caribbean officials in denouncing the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry report generated in the British Virgin Islands. Bryan’s remarks, made Tuesday, were especially sharp over the recommendation to suspend the BVI constitution and place the neighboring territory under direct rule of the United Kingdom.
The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands called the recent arrest of BVI Premier Andrew Fahie a tragedy, adding he was shocked to hear that Fahie was arrested last week in Miami on drug smuggling charges. But Bryan said it would be unfortunate to let allegations against the premier and BVI port director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard cast judgment over their peers in government.
“Give us an opportunity to make those mistakes and give guidance. Taking over is a terrible thing to do,” he said. “I pray the British government (will) give those local people the opportunity to take their government back under control and help them get the government that they deserve.”
Shortly after the two top officials were arrested at the Opa-Locka Executive Airport on April 29, BVI Governor John Rankin issued a statement, saying the Commission of Inquiry report was not linked to Fahie’s arrest or the function of the territory’s financial service industry.
Instead, Rankin said, the 900-page report, “concludes that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place in recent years.”
At the end of a three-day visit to Tortola, a British representative also discussed the report and recent events. U.K. Overseas Territories Minister Amanda Milling issued a statement Wednesday, saying there are many reasons for concern in the BVI.
But Milling said she spent time talking and listening to government, civic and community leaders. Talks included the report’s recommendations.
“Let’s be clear – the report highlighted significant concerns around corruption, transparency and accountability. There is no getting away from this. Like many people have told me. This isn’t a question of whether something should be done. It is a question of what is done. Action is needed now to: strengthen the foundations of the Territory; deliver a better public service; maintain a strong and resilient economy; and create better opportunities for the people of the BVI,” Milling said.