Buried in the news of the British Virgin Islands this week is the sad fact that the island's government has declined to fund its new Integrity Commission. The Commission, which was set up under the Integrity in Public Life Act, and requires all officials file a declaration of income, assets, liabilities, private interests and gift received. It also creates offenses for Abuse of Office, Misconduct and Neglect of Duty.
The Integrity Commission was authorized to receive complaints, and initiate investigations. It was also to establish a Code of Conduct for all persons in public life. The USD$294,000 funding was not authorized by the BVI after Andrew Fahie's money laundering and narcotics trafficking arrest in the United States. Fahie awaits trial under house arrest.
Rumors that Fahie will accuse additional BVI government officials of corruption, to mitigate his ultimate sentence, have been flying around since his original arrest, after he alleged that he had first-hand information regarding others in government in the Caribbean who have worked with narcotics traffickers, and that is a possible reason why there is a reluctance for current government officials to fund a program that will force them to disclose assets in excess of their stated government salaries.